Page images

o, what a sympathy of woe is this !
As far from help as limbo is from bliss.

[ocr errors]

Enter AARON.
Aar. Titus Andronicus, my lord the emperor 150
Sends thee this word,-That if thou love thy sons,
Let Marcus, Lucius, or thyself, old Titus,
Or any one of you, chop off your hand,
And send it to the king: he for the same
Will send thee hither both thy sons alive ;
And that shall be the ransom for their fault.

Tit. O., gracious emperor! O, gentle Aaron!
Did ever raven sing so like a lark,
That gives sweet tidings of the sun's uprise ?
With all my heart, I'll send the emperor my hand;
Good Aaron, wilt thou help to chop it off ?

Luc. Stay, father; for that noble hand of thine,
That hath thrown down so many enemies,
Shall not be sent : my hand will serve the turn:
My youth can better spare my blood than you ;
And therefore mine shall save my brothers' lives.
Mar. Which of your hands hath not defended

And rear'd aloft the bloody battle-axe,
Writing destruction on the enemies' castle?
O, none of both but are of high desert : 170
My hand hath been but idle ; let it serve
To ransom my two nephews from their death ;
Then have I kept it to a worthy end.
Aar. Nay, come, agree, whose hand shall go along,


For fear they die before their pardon come.

Mar. My hand shall go.
Luc. By heaven, it shall not go.
Tit. Sirs, strive no more ; such wither'd herbs as

Are meet for plucking u and therefore mine.

Luc. Sweet father, if I shall be thought thy son,
Let me redeem my brothers both from death. 181

Mar. And, for our father's sake, and mother's care,
Now let me shew a brother's love to thee.

Tit. Agree between you; I will spare my hand.
Luc. Then I'll go fetch an axe,
Mar. But I will use the axe.

[Exeunt Lucius, and MARCUS. Tit. Come hither, Aaron; I'll deceive thein both; Lend me thy hand, and I will give thee mine.

Aar. If that be call'd deceit, I will be honest,
And never, whilst I live, deceive men so :,

But I'll deceive you in another sort,
And that you'll say, 'ere half an hour pass. [ Aside.

[He cuts off Titus's Hand,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Enter Lucius and MARCUS again.
Tit. Now, stay your strife; what shall be, is dis-

Good Aaron, give his majesty my hand :
Tell him, it was a hand that warded him
From thousand dangers ; bid hiin bury it;
More hath it merited, that let it have.
As for my sons, say, I account of them




As jewels purchas'd at an easy price;
And yet dear too, because I bought mine own.

Aar. I go, Andronicus : and for thy hand,
Look by and by to have thy sons with thee :-
Their heads, I mean.-0, how this villainy [ Aside
Doth fat me with the very thought of it!
Let fools do good, and fair men call for grace,
Aaron will have his soul black like his face. (Exit,

Tit. O hear|--I lift this one hand up to heaven,
And bow this feeble ruin to the earth :
If any power pities wretched tears,
To that I call :-What, wilt thou kneel with me? 210

Do then, dear heart; for heaven shall hear our prayers;
Or with our sighs we'll breathe the welkin dim,
And stain the sun with fog, as sometime clouds,
When they do hug him in their melting bosoms.

Mar. O! brother speak with possibilities,
And do not break into these deep extremes.

Tit. Is not my sorrow deep, having no bottom ? Then be my passions bottomless with them.

Mar. But yet let reason govern thy lament.

Tit. If there were reason for these miseries,
Then into limits could I bind my woes :
When heaven doth weep, doth not the earth o'erflow i
If the winds rage, doth not the sea wax mad ?
Threat'ning the welkin with his big-swoln face ?
And wilt thou have a reason for this coil ?
I am the sea; hark, how her sighs do blow !
She is the weeping welkin, I the earth :



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Then must my sea be moved with her sighs;
Then must my earth with her continual tears
Become a deluge, overflow'd and drown'd: 230
For why? my bowels cannot hide her woes,
But like a drunkard must I vomit them.
Then give me leave; for losers will have leave
To ease their stomachs with their bitter tongues.
Enter a Messenger, bringing in two Heads and a Hand.

Mess. Worthy Andronicus, ill art thou repaid
For that good hand, thou sent'st the emperor.
Here are the heads of thy two noble sons ;
And here's thy hand, in scorn to thee sent back ;
Thy griefs their sports, thy resolution mock'd:
That woe is me to think upon thy woes,

240 More than remembrance of my father's death.

[ Exit.
Mar. Now let hot Ætna cool in Sicily,
And be my heart an ever-burning hell!
These miseries are more than may be borne!
To weep with them that weep doth ease some deal,
But sorrow flouted at is double death.
Luc. Ah, that this sight should make so deep a

And yet detested life not shrink thereat!
That ever death should let life bear his name,
Where life hath no more interest but to breathe! 250

[LAVINJA kisses him. Mar. Alas, poor heart, that kiss is comfortless, As frozen water to a starved snake.



Tit. When will this fearful slumber have an end?

Mar. Now, farewel, flattery: Die, Andronicus;
Thou dost not slumber : see, thy two son's heads;
Thy warlike hand; thy mangled daughter here;
Thy other banish'd son, with this dear sight
Struck pale and bloodless; and thy brother, I,
Even like a stony image, cold and numb.
Ah! now no more will I control thy griefs : 260
Rent off thy silver hair, thy other hand
Gnawing with thy teeth ; and be this dismal sight
The closing up of your most wretched eyes !
Now is a time to storm, why art thou still?

Tit. Ha, ha, ha!
Mar. Why dost thou laugh! it fits not with this

Tit. Why I have not another tear to shed :
Besides, this sorrow is an enemy,
And would usurp upon my watry eyes,
And make them blind with tributary tears ; 270
Then which way shall I find revenge's caye?
For these two heads do seem to speak to me ;
And threat me, I shall never come to bliss,
'Till all these mischiefs be return'd again,
Even in their throats that have committed them.
Come, let me see what task I have to do.
You heavy people, circle me about ;
That I may turn me to each one of you.
And swear unto my soul to right your wrongs.
The vow is made.-Come, brother, take a head;
And in this hand the other will I bear :

281 Lavinia,

« PreviousContinue »