William Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus (1593-94)

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)  


This is a part of a collection of works by William Shakespeare.


The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, ed. with a glossary by W.J. Craig M.A. (London: Oxford University Press, 1916).

See the complete volume in HTML and facs. PDF.



Table of Contents







Saturninus, Son to the late Emperor of Rome, and afterwards declared Emperor.
Bassianus, Brother to Saturninus, in love with Lavinia.
Titus Andronicus, a Roman, General against the Goths.
Marcus Andronicus, Tribune of the People, and brother to Titus.
Lucius,  } Sons to Titus Andronicus.
Mutius,  }
Young Lucius, a Boy, Son to Lucius.
Publius, Son to Marcus Andronicus.
Sempronius,} Kinsmen to Titus.
Caius,          }
Valentine,    }
Æmilius, a noble Roman.
Alarbus,    } Sons to Tamora.
Chiron,     }
Aaron, a Moor, beloved by Tamora.
A Captain, Tribune, Messenger, and Clown; Romans.
Goths and Romans.
Tamora, Queen of the Goths.
Lavinia, Daughter to Titus Andronicus.
A Nurse, and a black Child.
Senators, Tribunes, Officers, Soldiers, and Attendants.



Scene.Rome, and the Country near it.


Scene I.— Rome.

The Tomb of the Andronici appearing. The Tribunes and Senators aloft; and then enter Saturninus and his Followers at one door, and Bassianus and his Followers at the other, with drum and colours.


Noble patricians, patrons of my right,

Defend the justice of my cause with arms;

And, countrymen, my loving followers,

Plead my successive title with your swords:  4

I am his first-born son that was the last

That wore the imperial diadem of Rome;

Then let my father’s honours live in me,

Nor wrong mine age with this indignity.  8


Romans, friends, followers, favourers of my right,

If ever Bassianus, Cæsar’s son,

Were gracious in the eyes of royal Rome,

Keep then this passage to the Capitol,  12

And suffer not dishonour to approach

The imperial seat, to virtue consecrate,

To justice, continence, and nobility;

But let desert in pure election shine,  16

And, Romans, fight for freedom in your choice.

Enter Marcus Andronicus, aloft, with the crown.


Princes, that strive by factions and by friends

Ambitiously for rule and empery,

Know that the people of Rome, for whom we stand  20

A special party, have, by common voice,

In election for the Roman empery,

Chosen Andronicus, surnamed Pius,

For many good and great deserts to Rome:  24

A nobler man, a braver warrior,

Lives not this day within the city walls:

He by the senate is accited home

From weary wars against the barbarous Goths;

That, with his sons, a terror to our foes,  29

Hath yok’d a nation, strong, train’d up in arms.

Ten years are spent since first he undertook

This cause of Rome, and chastised with arms  32

Our enemies’ pride: five times he hath return’d

Bleeding to Rome, bearing his valiant sons

In coffins from the field;

And now at last, laden with honour’s spoils,  36

Returns the good Andronicus to Rome,

Renowned Titus, flourishing in arms.

Let us entreat, by honour of his name,

Whom worthily you would have now succeed,  40

And in the Capitol and senate’s right,

Whom you pretend to honour and adore,

That you withdraw you and abate your strength;

Dismiss your followers, and, as suitors should,

Plead your deserts in peace and humbleness.  45


How fair the tribune speaks to calm my thoughts!


Marcus Andronicus, so I do affy

In thy uprightness and integrity,  48

And so I love and honour thee and thine,

Thy noble brother Titus and his sons,

And her to whom my thoughts are humbled all,

Gracious Lavinia, Rome’s rich ornament,  52

That I will here dismiss my loving friends,

And to my fortunes and the people’s favour

Commit my cause in balance to be weigh’d.

[Exeunt the Followers of Bassianus.


Friends, that have been thus forward in my right,  56

I thank you all and here dismiss you all;

And to the love and favour of my country

Commit myself, my person, and the cause.

[Exeunt the Followers of Saturninus.

Rome, be as just and gracious unto me  60

As I am confident and kind to thee.

Open the gates, and let me in.


Tribunes, and me, a poor competitor.

[Flourish. They go up into the Senate-house.

Enter a Captain.


Romans, make way! the good Andronicus,  64

Patron of virtue, Rome’s best champion,

Successful in the battles that he fights,

With honour and with fortune is return’d

From where he circumscribed with his sword,  68

And brought to yoke, the enemies of Rome.

Drums and trumpets sounded, and then enter Martius and Mutius; after them two Men bearing a coffin covered with black; then Lucius and Quintus. After them Titus Andronicus; and then Tamora, with Alarbus, Chiron, Demetrius, Aaron, and other Goths, prisoners; Soldiers and people following. The bearers set down the coffin, and Titus speaks.


Hail, Rome, victorious in thy mourning weeds!

Lo! as the bark, that hath discharg’d her fraught,

Returns with precious lading to the bay  72

From whence at first she weigh’d her anchorage,

Cometh Andronicus, bound with laurel boughs,

To re-salute his country with his tears,

Tears of true joy for his return to Rome.  76

Thou great defender of this Capitol,

Stand gracious to the rites that we intend!

Romans, of five-and-twenty valiant sons,

Half of the number that King Priam had,  80

Behold the poor remains, alive, and dead!

These that survive let Rome reward with love;

These that I bring unto their latest home.

With burial among their ancestors:  84

Here Goths have given me leave to sheathe my sword.

Titus, unkind and careless of thine own,

Why suffer’st thou thy sons, unburied yet

To hover on the dreadful shore of Styx?  88

Make way to lay them by their brethren.

[The tomb is opened.

There greet in silence, as the dead are wont,

And sleep in peace, slain in your country’s wars!

O sacred receptacle of my joys,  92

Sweet cell of virtue and nobility,

How many sons of mine hast thou in store,

That thou wilt never render to me more!


Give us the proudest prisoner of the Goths,  96

That we may hew his limbs, and on a pile

Ad manes fratrum sacrifice his flesh,

Before this earthy prison of their bones;

That so the shadows be not unappeas’d,  100

Nor we disturb’d with prodigies on earth.


I give him you, the noblest that survives

The eldest son of this distressed queen.


Stay, Roman brethren! Gracious conqueror,  104

Victorious Titus, rue the tears I shed,

A mother’s tears in passion for her son:

And if thy sons were ever dear to thee,

O! think my son to be as dear to me.  108

Sufficeth not that we are brought to Rome,

To beautify thy triumphs and return,

Captive to thee and to thy Roman yoke;

But must my sons be slaughter’d in the streets  112

For valiant doings in their country’s cause?

O! if to fight for king and commonweal

Were piety in thine, it is in these.

Andronicus, stain not thy tomb with blood:  116

Wilt thou draw near the nature of the gods?

Draw near them then in being merciful;

Sweet mercy is nobility’s true badge:

Thrice-noble Titus, spare my first-born son.  120


Patient yourself, madam, and pardon me.

These are their brethren, whom your Goths beheld

Alive and dead, and for their brethren slain

Religiously they ask a sacrifice:  124

To this your son is mark’d, and die he must,

To appease their groaning shadows that are gone.


Away with him! and make a fire straight;

And with our swords, upon a pile of wood,  128

Let’s hew his limbs till they be clean consum’d.

[Exeunt Lucius, Quintus, Martius, and Mutius, with Alarbus.


O cruel, irreligious piety!


Was ever Scythia half so barbarous?


Oppose not Scythia to ambitious Rome.

Alarbus goes to rest, and we survive  133

To tremble under Titus’ threatening look.

Then, madam, stand resolv’d; but hope withal

The self-same gods, that arm’d the Queen of Troy  136

With opportunity of sharp revenge

Upon the Thracian tyrant in his tent,

May favour Tamora, the Queen of Goths—

When Goths were Goths, and Tamora was queen—  140

To quit the bloody wrongs upon her foes.

Re-enter Lucius, Quintus, Martius, and Mutius, with their swords bloody.


See, lord and father, how we have perform’d

Our Roman rites. Alarbus’ limbs are lopp’d,

And entrails feed the sacrificing fire,  144

Whose smoke, like incense, doth perfume the sky.

Remaineth nought but to inter our brethren,

And with loud ’larums welcome them to Rome.


Let it be so; and let Andronicus  148

Make this his latest farewell to their souls.

[Trumpets sounded, and the coffin laid in the tomb.

In peace and honour rest you here, my sons;

Rome’s readiest champions, repose you here in rest,

Secure from worldly chances and mishaps!  152

Here lurks no treason, here no envy swells,

Here grow no damned drugs, here are no storms,

No noise, but silence and eternal sleep:

In peace and honour rest you here, my sons!  156

Enter Lavinia.


In peace and honour live Lord Titus long;

My noble lord and father, live in fame!

Lo! at this tomb my tributary tears

I render for my brethren’s obsequies;  160

And at thy feet I kneel, with tears of joy

Shed on the earth for thy return to Rome.

O! bless me here with thy victorious hand,

Whose fortunes Rome’s best citizens applaud.


Kind Rome, that hast thus lovingly reserv’d  165

The cordial of mine age to glad my heart!

Lavinia, live; outlive thy father’s days,

And fame’s eternal date, for virtue’s praise!  168

Enter Marcus Andronicus and Tribunes; re-enter Saturninus, Bassianus, and Others.


Long live Lord Titus, my beloved brother,

Gracious triumpher in the eyes of Rome!


Thanks, gentle Tribune, noble brother Marcus.


And welcome, nephews, from successful wars,  172

You that survive, and you that sleep in fame!

Fair lords, your fortunes are alike in all,

That in your country’s service drew your swords;

But safer triumph is this funeral pomp,  176

That hath aspir’d to Solon’s happiness,

And triumphs over chance in honour’s bed.

Titus Andronicus, the people of Rome,

Whose friend in justice thou hast ever been,  180

Send thee by me, their tribune and their trust,

This palliament of white and spotless hue;

And name thee in election for the empire,

With these our late-deceased emperor’s sons:  184

Be candidatus then, and put it on,

And help to set a head on headless Rome.


A better head her glorious body fits

Than his that shakes for age and feebleness.  188

What should I don this robe, and trouble you?

Be chosen with proclamations to-day,

To-morrow yield up rule, resign my life,

And set abroad new business for you all?  192

Rome, I have been thy soldier forty years,

And led my country’s strength successfully,

And buried one-and-twenty valiant sons,

Knighted in field, slain manfully in arms,  196

In right and service of their noble country.

Give me a staff of honour for mine age,

But not a sceptre to control the world:

Upright he held it, lords, that held it last.  200


Titus, thou shalt obtain and ask the empery.


Proud and ambitious tribune, canst thou tell?


Patience, Prince Saturninus.


Romans, do me right:

Patricians, draw your swords, and sheathe them not  204

Till Saturninus be Rome’s emperor.

Andronicus, would thou wert shipp’d to hell,

Rather than rob me of the people’s hearts!


Proud Saturnine, interrupter of the good  208

That noble-minded Titus means to thee!


Content thee, prince; I will restore to thee

The people’s hearts, and wean them from themselves.


Andronicus, I do not flatter thee,  212

But honour thee, and will do till I die:

My faction if thou strengthen with thy friends,

I will most thankful be; and thanks to men

Of noble minds is honourable meed.  216


People of Rome, and people’s tribunes here,

I ask your voices and your suffrages:

Will you bestow them friendly on Andronicus?


To gratify the good Andronicus,

And gratulate his safe return to Rome,  221

The people will accept whom he admits.


Tribunes, I thank you; and this suit I make,

That you create your emperor’s eldest son,  224

Lord Saturnine; whose virtues will, I hope,

Reflect on Rome as Titan’s rays on earth,

And ripen justice in this commonweal:

Then, if you will elect by my advice,  228

Crown him, and say, ‘Long live our emperor!’


With voices and applause of every sort,

Patricians and plebeians, we create

Lord Saturninus Rome’s great emperor,  232

And say, ‘Long live our Emperor Saturnine!’

[A long flourish.


Titus Andronicus, for thy favours done

To us in our election this day,

I give thee thanks in part of thy deserts,  236

And will with deeds requite thy gentleness:

And, for an onset, Titus, to advance

Thy name and honourable family,

Lavinia will I make my empress,  240

Rome’s royal mistress, mistress of my heart,

And in the sacred Pantheon her espouse.

Tell me, Andronicus, doth this motion please thee?


It doth, my worthy lord; and in this match  244

I hold me highly honour’d of your Grace:

And here in sight of Rome to Saturnine,

King and commander of our commonweal,

The wide world’s emperor, do I consecrate  248

My sword, my chariot, and my prisoners;

Presents well worthy Rome’s imperious lord:

Receive them then, the tribute that I owe,

Mine honour’s ensigns humbled at thy feet.  252


Thanks, noble Titus, father of my life!

How proud I am of thee and of thy gifts

Rome shall record, and, when I do forget

The least of these unspeakable deserts,  256

Romans, forget your fealty to me.


[To Tamora.] Now, madam, are you prisoner to an emperor;

To him that, for your honour and your state,

Will use you nobly and your followers.  260


A goodly lady, trust me; of the hue

That I would choose, were I to choose anew.

Clear up, fair queen, that cloudy countenance:

Though chance of war hath wrought this change of cheer,  264

Thou com’st not to be made a scorn in Rome:

Princely shall be thy usage every way.

Rest on my word, and let not discontent  267

Daunt all your hopes: madam, he comforts you

Can make you greater than the Queen of Goths.

Lavinia, you are not displeas’d with this?


Not I, my lord; sith true nobility

Warrants these words in princely courtesy.  272


Thanks, sweet Lavinia. Romans, let us go;

Ransomless here we set our prisoners free:

Proclaim our honours, lords, with trump and drum.

[Flourish. Saturninus courts Tamora in dumb show.


Lord Titus, by your leave, this maid is mine.

[Seizing Lavinia.


How, sir! Are you in earnest then, my lord?  277


Ay, noble Titus; and resolv’d withal

To do myself this reason and this right.


Suum cuique is our Roman justice:  280

This prince in justice seizeth but his own.


And that he will, and shall, if Lucius live.


Traitors, avaunt! Where is the emperor’s guard?

Treason, my lord! Lavinia is surpris’d.  284


Surpris’d! By whom?


By him that justly may

Bear his betroth’d from all the world away.

[Exeunt Marcus and Bassianus with Lavinia.


Brothers, help to convey her hence away,

And with my sword I’ll keep this door safe.  288

[Exeunt Lucius, Quintus, and Martius.


Follow, my lord, and I’ll soon bring her back.


My lord, you pass not here.


What! villain boy;

Barr’st me my way in Rome?

[Stabs Mutius.


Help, Lucius, help!


Re-enter Lucius.


My lord, you are unjust; and, more than so,  292

In wrongful quarrel you have slain your son.


Nor thou, nor he, are any sons of mine;

My sons would never so dishonour me.

Traitor, restore Lavinia to the emperor.  296


Dead, if you will; but not to be his wife

That is another’s lawful promis’d love.



No, Titus, no; the emperor needs her not,

Nor her, nor thee, nor any of thy stock:  300

I’ll trust, by leisure, him that mocks me once;

Thee never, nor thy traitorous haughty sons,

Confederates all thus to dishonour me.

Was none in Rome to make a stale  304

But Saturnine? Full well, Andronicus,

Agreed these deeds with that proud brag of thine,

That saidst I begg’d the empire at thy hands.


O monstrous! what reproachful words are these!  308


But go thy ways; go, give that changing piece

To him that flourish’d for her with his sword.

A valiant son-in-law thou shalt enjoy;

One fit to bandy with thy lawless sons,  312

To ruffle in the commonwealth of Rome.


These words are razors to my wounded heart.


And therefore, lovely Tamora, Queen of Goths,

That like the stately Phœbe ’mongst her nymphs,  316

Dost overshine the gallant’st dames of Rome,

If thou be pleas’d with this my sudden choice,

Behold, I choose thee, Tamora, for my bride,

And will create thee Empress of Rome.  320

Speak, Queen of Goths, dost thou applaud my choice?

And here I swear by all the Roman gods,

Sith priest and holy water are so near,

And tapers burn so bright, and every thing  324

In readiness for Hymenæus stand,

I will not re-salute the streets of Rome,

Or climb my palace, till from forth this place

I lead espous’d my bride along with me.  328


And here, in sight of heaven, to Rome I swear,

If Saturnine advance the Queen of Goths,

She will a handmaid be to his desires,

A loving nurse, a mother to his youth.  332


Ascend, fair queen, Pantheon. Lords, accompany

Your noble emperor, and his lovely bride,

Sent by the heavens for Prince Saturnine,

Whose wisdom hath her fortune conquered:  336

There shall we consummate our spousal rights.

[Exeunt all but Titus.


I am not bid to wait upon this bride.

Titus, when wert thou wont to walk alone,  339

Dishonour’d thus, and challenged of wrongs?

Re-enter Marcus, Lucius, Quintus, and Martius.


O! Titus, see, O! see what thou hast done;

In a bad quarrel slain a virtuous son.


No, foolish tribune, no; no son of mine,

Nor thou, nor these, confederates in the deed  344

That hath dishonour’d all our family:

Unworthy brother, and unworthy sons!


But let us give him burial, as becomes;

Give Mutius burial with our brethren.  348


Traitors, away! he rests not in this tomb.

This monument five hundred years hath stood,

Which I have sumptuously re-edified:

Here none but soldiers and Rome’s servitors  352

Repose in fame; none basely slain in brawls.

Bury him where you can; he comes not here.


My lord, this is impiety in you.

My nephew Mutius’ deeds do plead for him;  356

He must be buried with his brethren.


And shall, or him we will accompany.


And shall, or him we will accompany.


And shall! What villain was it spake that word?


He that would vouch it in any place but here.  360


What! would you bury him in my despite?


No, noble Titus; but entreat of thee

To pardon Mutius, and to bury him.


Marcus, even thou hast struck upon my crest,  364

And, with these boys, mine honour thou hast wounded:

My foes I do repute you every one;

So, trouble me no more, but get you gone.


He is not with himself; let us withdraw.  368


Not I, till Mutius’ bones be buried.

[Marcus and the sons of Titus kneel.


Brother, for in that name doth nature plead,—


Father, and in that name doth nature speak,—


Speak thou no more, if all the rest will speed.  372


Renowned Titus, more than half my soul,—


Dear father, soul and substance of us all,—


Suffer thy brother Marcus to inter

His noble nephew here in virtue’s nest,  376

That died in honour and Lavinia’s cause.

Thou art a Roman; be not barbarous:

The Greeks upon advice did bury Ajax

That slew himself; and wise Laertes’ son  380

Did graciously plead for his funerals.

Let not young Mutius then, that was thy joy,

Be barr’d his entrance here.


Rise, Marcus, rise.

The dismall’st day is this that e’er I saw,  384

To be dishonour’d by my sons in Rome!

Well, bury him, and bury me the next.

[Mutius is put into the tomb.


There lie thy bones, sweet Mutius, with thy friends,

Till we with trophies do adorn thy tomb.  388


[Kneeling.] No man shed tears for noble Mutius;

He lives in fame that died in virtue’s cause.


My lord,—to step out of these dreary dumps,—

How comes it that the subtle Queen of Goths  392

Is of a sudden thus advanc’d in Rome?


I know not, Marcus; but I know it is,

Whether by device or no, the heavens can tell.

Is she not, then, beholding to the man  396

That brought her for this high good turn so far?


Yes, and will nobly him remunerate.

Flourish. Re-enter, on one side, Saturninus, attended; Tamora, Demetrius, Chiron, and Aaron: on the other side, Bassianus, Lavinia and Others.


So, Bassianus, you have play’d your prize:

God give you joy, sir, of your gallant bride.  400


And you of yours, my lord! I say no more,

Nor wish no less; and so I take my leave.


Traitor, if Rome have law or we have power,

Thou and thy faction shall repent this rape.  404


Rape call you it, my lord, to seize my own,

My true-betrothed love and now my wife?

But let the laws of Rome determine all;

Meanwhile, I am possess’d of that is mine.  408


’Tis good, sir: you are very short with us;

But, if we live, we’ll be as sharp with you.


My lord, what I have done, as best I may,

Answer I must and shall do with my life.  412

Only thus much I give your Grace to know:

By all the duties that I owe to Rome,

This noble gentleman, Lord Titus here,

Is in opinion and in honour wrong’d;  416

That, in the rescue of Lavinia,

With his own hand did slay his youngest son,

In zeal to you and highly mov’d to wrath

To be controll’d in that he frankly gave:  420

Receive him then to favour, Saturnine,

That hath express’d himself in all his deeds

A father and a friend to thee and Rome.


Prince Bassianus, leave to plead my deeds:  424

’Tis thou and those that have dishonour’d me.

Rome and the righteous heavens be my judge,

How I have lov’d and honour’d Saturnine!


My worthy lord, if ever Tamora  428

Were gracious in those princely eyes of thine,

Then hear me speak indifferently for all;

And at my suit, sweet, pardon what is past.


What, madam! be dishonour’d openly,

And basely put it up without revenge?  433


Not so, my lord; the gods of Rome forfend

I should be author to dishonour you!

But on mine honour dare I undertake  436

For good Lord Titus’ innocence in all,

Whose fury not dissembled speaks his griefs.

Then, at my suit, look graciously on him;

Lose not so noble a friend on vain suppose,  440

Nor with sour looks afflict his gentle heart.

[Aside to Saturninus.] My lord, be rul’d by me, be won at last;

Dissemble all your griefs and discontents:

You are but newly planted in your throne;  444

Lest then, the people, and patricians too,

Upon a just survey, take Titus’ part,

And so supplant you for ingratitude,

Which Rome reputes to be a heinous sin,  448

Yield at entreats, and then let me alone.

I’ll find a day to massacre them all,

And raze their faction and their family,

The cruel father, and his traitorous sons,  452

To whom I sued for my dear son’s life;

And make them know what ’tis to let a queen

Kneel in the streets and beg for grace in vain.

[Aloud.] Come, come, sweet emperor; come, Andronicus;  456

Take up this good old man, and cheer the heart

That dies in tempest of thy angry frown:


Rise, Titus, rise; my empress hath prevail’d.  459


I thank your majesty, and her, my lord.

These words, these looks, infuse new life in me.


Titus, I am incorporate in Rome,

A Roman now adopted happily,

And must advise the emperor for his good.  464

This day all quarrels die, Andronicus;

And let it be mine honour, good my lord,

That I have reconcil’d your friends and you.

For you, Prince Bassianus, I have pass’d  468

My word and promise to the emperor,

That you will be more mild and tractable.

And fear not, lords, and you, Lavinia,

By my advice, all humbled on your knees,  472

You shall ask pardon of his majesty.


We do; and vow to heaven and to his highness,

That what we did was mildly, as we might,

Tendering our sister’s honour and our own.  476


That on mine honour here I do protest.


Away, and talk not; trouble us no more.


Nay, nay, sweet emperor, we must all be friends:

The tribune and his nephews kneel for grace;  480

I will not be denied: sweet heart, look back.


Marcus, for thy sake, and thy brother’s here,

And at my lovely Tamora’s entreats,

I do remit these young men’s heinous faults:  484

Stand up.

Lavinia, though you left me like a churl,

I found a friend, and sure as death I swore

I would not part a bachelor from the priest.  488

Come; if the emperor’s court can feast two brides,

You are my guest, Lavinia, and your friends.

This day shall be a love-day, Tamora.


To-morrow, an it please your majesty  492

To hunt the panther and the hart with me,

With horn and hound we’ll give your Grace bon jour.


Be it so, Titus, and gramercy too.

[Trumpets. Exeunt.


Scene I.— Rome. Before the Palace. Enter Aaron.


Now climbeth Tamora Olympus’ top,

Safe out of Fortune’s shot; and sits aloft,

Secure of thunder’s crack or lightning flash,

Advanc’d above pale envy’s threat’ning reach.  4

As when the golden sun salutes the morn,

And, having gilt the ocean with his beams,

Gallops the zodiac in his glistering coach,

And overlooks the highest-peering hills;  8

So Tamora.

Upon her wit doth earthly honour wait

And virtue stoops and trembles at her frown.

Then, Aaron, arm thy heart, and fit thy thoughts

To mount aloft with thy imperial mistress,  13

And mount her pitch, whom thou in triumph long

Hast prisoner held, fetter’d in amorous chains,

And faster bound to Aaron’s charming eyes  16

Than is Prometheus tied to Caucasus.

Away with slavish weeds and servile thoughts!

I will be bright, and shine in pearl and gold,

To wait upon this new-made empress.  20

To wait, said I? to wanton with this queen,

This goddess, this Semiramis, this nymph,

This siren, that will charm Rome’s Saturnine,

And see his shipwrack and his commonweal’s.  24

Holla! what storm is this?

Enter Demetrius and Chiron, braving.


Chiron, thy years want wit, thy wit wants edge

And manners, to intrude where I am grac’d,

And may, for aught thou know’st, affected be.  28


Demetrius, thou dost over-ween in all

And so in this, to bear me down with braves.

’Tis not the difference of a year or two

Makes me less gracious or thee more fortunate:

I am as able and as fit as thou  33

To serve, and to deserve my mistress’ grace;

And that my sword upon thee shall approve,

And plead my passions for Lavinia’s love.  36


Clubs, clubs! these lovers will not keep the peace.


Why, boy, although our mother, unadvis’d,

Gave you a dancing-rapier by your side,

Are you so desperate grown, to threat your friends?  40

Go to; have your lath glu’d within your sheath

Till you know better how to handle it.


Meanwhile, sir, with the little skill I have,

Full well shalt thou perceive how much I dare.


Ay, boy, grow ye so brave?

[They draw.


Why, how now, lords!  45

So near the emperor’s palace dare you draw,

And maintain such a quarrel openly?

Full well I wot the ground of all this grudge:  48

I would not for a million of gold

The cause were known to them it most concerns;

Nor would your noble mother for much more

Be so dishonour’d in the court of Rome.  52

For shame, put up.


Not I, till I have sheath’d

My rapier in his bosom, and withal

Thrust those reproachful speeches down his throat

That he hath breath’d in my dishonour here.  56


For that I am prepar’d and full resolv’d,

Foul-spoken coward, that thunder’st with thy tongue,

And with thy weapon nothing dar’st perform!


Away, I say!  60

Now, by the gods that war-like Goths adore,

This petty brabble will undo us all.

Why, lords, and think you not how dangerous

It is to jet upon a prince’s right?  64

What! is Lavinia then become so loose,

Or Bassianus so degenerate,

That for her love such quarrels may be broach’d

Without controlment, justice, or revenge?  68

Young lords, beware! an should the empress know

This discord’s ground, the music would not please.


I care not, I, knew she and all the world:

I love Lavinia more than all the world.  72


Youngling, learn thou to make some meaner choice:

Lavinia is thine elder brother’s hope.


Why, are ye mad? or know ye not in Rome

How furious and impatient they be,  76

And cannot brook competitors in love?

I tell you, lords, you do but plot your deaths

By this device.


Aaron, a thousand deaths

Would I propose, to achieve her whom I love.  80


To achieve her! how?


Why mak’st thou it so strange?

She is a woman, therefore may be woo’d;

She is a woman, therefore may be won;

She is Lavinia, therefore must be lov’d.  84

What, man! more water glideth by the mill

Than wots the miller of; and easy it is

Of a cut loaf to steal a shive, we know:

Though Bassianus be the emperor’s brother,  88

Better than he have worn Vulcan’s badge.


[Aside.] Ay, and as good as Saturninus may.


Then why should he despair that knows to court it

With words, fair looks, and liberality?  92

What! hast thou not full often struck a doe,

And borne her cleanly by the keeper’s nose?


Why, then, it seems, some certain snatch or so

Would serve your turns.


Ay, so the turn were serv’d.  96


Aaron, thou hast hit it.


Would you had hit it too!

Then should not we be tir’d with this ado.

Why, hark ye, hark ye! and are you such fools

To square for this? Would it offend you then  100

That both should speed?


Faith, not me.


Nor me, so I were one.


For shame, be friends, and join for that you jar:

’Tis policy and stratagem must do  104

That you affect; and so must you resolve,

That what you cannot as you would achieve,

You must perforce accomplish as you may.

Take this of me: Lucrece was not more chaste

Than this Lavinia, Bassianus’ love.  109

A speedier course than lingering languishment

Must we pursue, and I have found the path.

My lords, a solemn hunting is in hand;  112

There will the lovely Roman ladies troop:

The forest walks are wide and spacious,

And many unfrequented plots there are

Fitted by kind for rape and villany:  116

Single you thither then this dainty doe,

And strike her home by force, if not by words:

This way, or not at all, stand you in hope.

Come, come, our empress, with her sacred wit

To villany and vengeance consecrate,  121

Will we acquaint with all that we intend;

And she shall file our engines with advice,

That will not suffer you to square yourselves,  124

But to your wishes’ height advance you both.

The emperor’s court is like the house of Fame,

The palace full of tongues, of eyes, and ears:

The woods are ruthless, dreadful, deaf, and dull;

There speak, and strike, brave boys, and take your turns;  129

There serve your lusts, shadow’d from heaven’s eye,

And revel in Lavinia’s treasury.


Thy counsel, lad, smells of no cowardice.


Sit fas aut nefas, till I find the stream

To cool this heat, a charm to calm these fits,

Per Styga, per manes vehor.


Scene II.— A Forest.

Horns and cry of hounds heard. Enter Titus Andronicus, with Hunters, &c.; Marcus, Lucius, Quintus, and Martius.


The hunt is up, the morn is bright and grey,

The fields are fragrant and the woods are green.

Uncouple here and let us make a bay,

And wake the emperor and his lovely bride,  4

And rouse the prince and ring a hunter’s peal,

That all the court may echo with the noise.

Sons, let it be your charge, as it is ours,

To attend the emperor’s person carefully:  8

I have been troubled in my sleep this night,

But dawning day new comfort hath inspir’d.

[A cry of hounds, and horns winded in a peal.

Enter Saturninus, Tamora, Bassianus, Lavinia, Demetrius, Chiron, and Attendants.

Many good morrows to your majesty;

Madam, to you as many and as good;  12

I promised your Grace a hunter’s peal.


And you have rung it lustily, my lord;

Somewhat too early for new-married ladies.


Lavinia, how say you?


I say, no;  16

I have been broad awake two hours and more.


Come on, then; horse and chariots let us have,

And to our sport.—[To Tamora.] Madam, now shall ye see

Our Roman hunting.


I have dogs, my lord,  20

Will rouse the proudest panther in the chase,

And climb the highest promontory top.


And I have horse will follow where the game

Makes way, and run like swallows o’er the plain.


[Aside.] Chiron, we hunt not, we, with horse nor hound,  25

But hope to pluck a dainty doe to ground.


Scene III.— A lonely Part of the Forest.

Enter Aaron, with a bag of gold.


He that had wit would think that I had none,

To bury so much gold under a tree,

And never after to inherit it.

Let him that thinks of me so abjectly  4

Know that this gold must coin a stratagem,

Which, cunningly effected, will beget

A very excellent piece of villany:

And so repose, sweet gold, for their unrest  8

That have their alms out of the empress’ chest.

[Hides the gold.

Enter Tamora.


My lovely Aaron, wherefore look’st thou sad,

When every thing doth make a gleeful boast?

The birds chant melody on every bush,  12

The snake lies rolled in the cheerful sun,

The green leaves quiver with the cooling wind,

And make a chequer’d shadow on the ground.

Under their sweet shade, Aaron, let us sit,  16

And, whilst the babbling echo mocks the hounds,

Replying shrilly to the well-tun’d horns,

As if a double hunt were heard at once,

Let us sit down and mark their yelping noise;  20

And after conflict, such as was suppos’d

The wandering prince and Dido once enjoy’d,

When with a happy storm they were surpris’d,

And curtain’d with a counsel-keeping cave,  24

We may, each wreathed in the other’s arms,

Our pastimes done, possess a golden slumber;

Whiles hounds and horns and sweet melodious birds

Be unto us as is a nurse’s song  28

Of lullaby to bring her babe asleep.


Madam, though Venus govern your desires,

Saturn is dominator over mine:

What signifies my deadly-standing eye,  32

My silence and my cloudy melancholy;

My fleece of woolly hair that now uncurls

Even as an adder when she doth unroll

To do some fatal execution?  36

No, madam, these are no venereal signs:

Vengeance is in my heart, death in my hand,

Blood and revenge are hammering in my head.

Hark, Tamora, the empress of my soul,  40

Which never hopes more heaven than rests in thee,

This is the day of doom for Bassianus;

His Philomel must lose her tongue to-day,

Thy sons make pillage of her chastity,  44

And wash their hands in Bassianus’ blood.

Seest thou this letter? take it up, I pray thee,

And give the king this fatal-plotted scroll.

Now question me no more; we are espied;  48

Here comes a parcel of our hopeful booty,

Which dreads not yet their lives’ destruction.


Ah! my sweet Moor, sweeter to me than life.


No more, great empress; Bassianus comes:  52

Be cross with him; and I’ll go fetch thy sons

To back thy quarrels, whatsoe’er they be.


Enter Bassianus and Lavinia.


Who have we here? Rome’s royal empress,

Unfurnish’d of her well-beseeming troop?  56

Or is it Dian, habited like her,

Who hath abandoned her holy groves,

To see the general hunting in this forest?


Saucy controller of our private steps!

Had I the power that some say Dian had,  61

Thy temples should be planted presently

With horns, as was Actæon’s; and the hounds

Should drive upon thy new-transformed limbs,

Unmannerly intruder as thou art!  65


Under your patience, gentle empress,

’Tis thought you have a goodly gift in horning;

And to be doubted that your Moor and you  68

Are singled forth to try experiments.

Jove shield your husband from his hounds to-day!

’Tis pity they should take him for a stag.


Believe me, queen, your swarth Cimmerian  72

Doth make your honour of his body’s hue,

Spotted, detested, and abominable.

Why are you sequester’d from all your train,

Dismounted from your snow-white goodly steed,

And wander’d hither to an obscure plot,  77

Accompanied but with a barbarous Moor,

If foul desire had not conducted you?


And, being intercepted in your sport,  80

Great reason that my noble lord be rated

For sauciness. I pray you, let us hence,

And let her joy her raven-colour’d love;

This valley fits the purpose passing well.  84


The king my brother shall have note of this.


Ay, for these slips have made him noted long:

Good king, to be so mightily abus’d!


Why have I patience to endure all this?  88

Enter Demetrius and Chiron.


How now, dear sovereign, and our gracious mother!

Why doth your highness look so pale and wan?


Have I not reason, think you, to look pale?

These two have ’tic’d me hither to this place:  92

A barren detested vale, you see, it is;

The trees, though summer, yet forlorn and lean,

O’ercome with moss and baleful mistletoe:

Here never shines the sun; here nothing breeds,

Unless the nightly owl or fatal raven:  97

And when they show’d me this abhorred pit,

They told me, here, at dead time of the night,

A thousand fiends, a thousand hissing snakes,

Ten thousand swelling toads, as many urchins,

Would make such fearful and confused cries,

As any mortal body hearing it

Should straight fall mad, or else die suddenly.

No sooner had they told this hellish tale,  105

But straight they told me they would bind me here

Unto the body of a dismal yew,

And leave me to this miserable death:  108

And then they called me foul adulteress,

Lascivious Goth, and all the bitterest terms

That ever ear did hear to such effect;

And, had you not by wondrous fortune come,  112

This vengeance on me had they executed.

Revenge it, as you love your mother’s life,

Or be ye not henceforth call’d my children.


This is a witness that I am thy son.  116

[Stabs Bassianus.


And this for me, struck home to show my strength.

[Also stabs Bassianus, who dies.


Ay, come, Semiramis, nay, barbarous Tamora;

For no name fits thy nature but thy own.


Give me thy poniard; you shall know, my boys,  120

Your mother’s hand shall right your mother’s wrong.


Stay, madam; here is more belongs to her:

First thrash the corn, than after burn the straw.

This minion stood upon her chastity,  124

Upon her nuptial vow, her loyalty,

And with that painted hope she braves your mightiness:

And shall she carry this unto her grave?


An if she do, I would I were an eunuch.

Drag hence her husband to some secret hole,  129

And make his dead trunk pillow to our lust.


But when ye have the honey ye desire,

Let not this wasp outlive, us both to sting.  132


I warrant you, madam, we will make that sure.

Come, mistress, now perforce we will enjoy

That nice-preserved honesty of yours.


O Tamora! thou bear’st a woman’s face,—  136


I will not hear her speak; away with her!


Sweet lords, entreat her hear me but a word.


Listen, fair madam: let it be your glory

To see her tears; but be your heart to them  140

As unrelenting flint to drops of rain.


When did the tiger’s young ones teach the dam?

O! do not learn her wrath; she taught it thee;

The milk thou suck’dst from her did turn to marble;  144

Even at thy teat thou hadst thy tyranny.

Yet every mother breeds not sons alike:

[To Chiron.] Do thou entreat her show a woman pity.


What! wouldst thou have me prove myself a bastard?  148


’Tis true! the raven doth not hatch a lark:

Yet have I heard, O! could I find it now,

The lion mov’d with pity did endure

To have his princely paws par’d all away.  152

Some say that ravens foster forlorn children,

The whilst their own birds famish in their nests:

O! be to me, though thy hard heart say no,

Nothing so kind, but something pitiful.  156


I know not what it means; away with her!


O, let me teach thee! for my father’s sake,

That gave thee life when well he might have slain thee,

Be not obdurate, open thy deaf ears.  160


Hadst thou in person ne’er offended me,

Even for his sake am I pitiless.

Remember, boys, I pour’d forth tears in vain

To save your brother from the sacrifice;  164

But fierce Andronicus would not relent:

Therefore, away with her, and use her as you will:

The worse to her, the better lov’d of me.


O Tamora! be call’d a gentle queen,  168

And with thine own hands kill me in this place;

For ’tis not life that I have begg’d so long;

Poor I was slain when Bassianus died.


What begg’st thou then? fond woman, let me go.  172


’Tis present death I beg; and one thing more

That womanhood denies my tongue to tell.

O! keep me from their worse than killing lust,

And tumble me into some loathsome pit,  176

Where never man’s eye may behold my body:

Do this, and be a charitable murderer.


So should I rob my sweet sons of their fee:

No, let them satisfy their lust on thee.  180


Away! for thou hast stay’d us here too long.


No grace! no womanhood! Ah, beastly creature,

The blot and enemy to our general name.

Confusion fall—  184


Nay, then I’ll stop your mouth. Bring thou her husband:

This is the hole where Aaron bid us hide him.

[Demetrius throws the body of Bassianus into the pit; then exeunt Demetrius and Chiron, dragging off Lavinia.


Farewell, my sons: see that you make her sure.

Ne’er let my heart know merry cheer indeed  188

Till all the Andronici be made away.

Now will I hence to seek my lovely Moor,

And let my spleenful sons this trull deflower.


Enter Aaron, with Quintus and Martius.


Come on, my lords, the better foot before:  192

Straight will I bring you to the loathsome pit

Where I espied the panther fast asleep.


My sight is very dull, whate’er it bodes.


And mine, I promise you: were’t not for shame,  196

Well could I leave our sport to sleep awhile.

[Falls into the pit.


What! art thou fall’n? What subtle hole is this,

Whose mouth is cover’d with rude-growing briers,

Upon whose leaves are drops of new-shed blood

As fresh as morning’s dew distill’d on flowers?

A very fatal place it seems to me.

Speak, brother, hast thou hurt thee with the fall?


O brother! with the dismall’st object hurt  204

That ever eye with sight made heart lament.


[Aside.] Now will I fetch the king to find them here,

That he thereby may give a likely guess

How these were they that made away his brother.



Why dost not comfort me, and help me out  209

From this unhallow’d and blood-stained hole?


I am surprised with an uncouth fear;

A chilling sweat o’erruns my trembling joints:

My heart suspects more than mine eye can see.  213


To prove thou hast a true-divining heart,

Aaron and thou look down into this den,

And see a fearful sight of blood and death.  216


Aaron is gone; and my compassionate heart

Will not permit mine eyes once to behold

The thing whereat it trembles by surmise.

O! tell me how it is; for ne’er till now  220

Was I a child, to fear I know not what.


Lord Bassianus lies embrewed here,

All on a heap, like to a slaughter’d lamb,

In this detested, dark, blood-drinking pit.  224


If it be dark, how dost thou know ’tis he?


Upon his bloody finger he doth wear

A precious ring, that lightens all the hole,

Which, like a taper in some monument,  228

Doth shine upon the dead man’s earthy cheeks,

And shows the ragged entrails of the pit:

So pale did shine the moon on Pyramus

When he by night lay bath’d in maiden blood.

O brother! help me with thy fainting hand,  233

If fear hath made thee faint, as me it hath,

Out of this fell devouring receptacle,

As hateful as Cocytus’ misty mouth.  236


Reach me thy hand, that I may help thee out;

Or, wanting strength to do thee so much good

I may be pluck’d into the swallowing womb

Of this deep pit, poor Bassianus’ grave.  240

I have no strength to pluck thee to the brink.


Nor I no strength to climb without thy help.


Thy hand once more; I will not loose again,

Till thou art here aloft, or I below.  244

Thou canst not come to me: I come to thee.

[Falls in.

Re-enter Aaron with Saturninus.


Along with me: I’ll see what hole is here,

And what he is that now is leap’d into it.

Say, who art thou that lately didst descend  248

Into this gaping hollow of the earth?


The unhappy son of old Andronicus;

Brought hither in a most unlucky hour,

To find thy brother Bassianus dead.  252


My brother dead! I know thou dost but jest:

He and his lady both are at the lodge,

Upon the north side of this pleasant chase;

’Tis not an hour since I left him there.  256


We know not where you left him all alive;

But, out alas! here have we found him dead.

Enter Tamora, with Attendants; Titus Andronicus, and Lucius.


Where is my lord, the king?


Here, Tamora; though griev’d with killing grief.  260


Where is thy brother Bassianus?


Now to the bottom dost thou search my wound:

Poor Bassianus here lies murdered.


Then all too late I bring this fatal writ,

[Giving a letter.

The complot of this timeless tragedy;  265

And wonder greatly that man’s face can fold

In pleasing smiles such murderous tyranny.


And if we miss to meet him handsomely,  268

Sweet huntsman, Bassianus ’tis we mean,

Do thou so much as dig the grave for him:

Thou know’st our meaning. Look for thy reward

Among the nettles at the elder-tree  272

Which overshades the mouth of that same pit

Where we decreed to bury Bassianus:

Do this, and purchase us thy lasting friends.

O Tamora! was ever heard the like?  276

This is the pit, and this the elder-tree.

Look, sirs, if you can find the huntsman out

That should have murder’d Bassianus here.


My gracious lord, here is the bag of gold.  280


[To Titus.] Two of thy whelps, fell curs of bloody kind,

Have here bereft my brother of his life.

Sirs, drag them from the pit unto the prison:

There let them bide until we have devis’d  284

Some never-heard-of torturing pain for them.


What! are they in this pit? O wondrous thing!

How easily murder is discovered!


High emperor, upon my feeble knee  288

I beg this boon with tears not lightly shed;

That this fell fault of my accursed sons,

Accursed, if the fault be prov’d in them,—


If it be prov’d! you see it is apparent.  292

Who found this letter? Tamora, was it you?


Andronicus himself did take it up.


I did, my lord: yet let me be their bail;

For, by my father’s reverend tomb, I vow  296

They shall be ready at your highness’ will

To answer their suspicion with their lives.


Thou shalt not bail them: see thou follow me.

Some bring the murder’d body, some the murderers:  300

Let them not speak a word; the guilt is plain;

For, by my soul, were there worse end than death,

That end upon them should be executed.


Andronicus, I will entreat the king:  304

Fear not thy sons, they shall do well enough.


Come, Lucius, come; stay not to talk with them.

[Exeunt severally.

Scene IV.— Another Part of the Forest.

Enter Demetrius and Chiron, with Lavinia, ravished; her hands cut off, and her tongue cut out.


So, now go tell, an if thy tongue can speak,

Who ’twas that cut thy tongue and ravish’d thee.


Write down thy mind, bewray thy meaning so;

An if thy stumps will let thee play the scribe.  4


See, how with signs and tokens she can scrowl.


Go home, call for sweet water, wash thy hands.


She hath no tongue to call, nor hands to wash;

And so let’s leave her to her silent walks.  8


An ’twere my case, I should go hang myself.


If thou hadst hands to help thee knit the cord.

[Exeunt Demetrius and Chiron.

Enter Marcus.


Who’s this? my niece, that flies away so fast?

Cousin, a word; where is your husband?  12

If I do dream, would all my wealth would wake me!

If I do wake, some planet strike me down,

That I may slumber in eternal sleep!

Speak, gentle niece, what stern ungentle hands  16

Have lopp’d and hew’d and made thy body bare

Of her two branches, those sweet ornaments,

Whose circling shadows kings have sought to sleep in,

And might not gain so great a happiness  20

As have thy love? Why dost not speak to me?

Alas! a crimson river of warm blood,

Like to a bubbling fountain stirr’d with wind,

Doth rise and fall between thy rosed lips,  24

Coming and going with thy honey breath.

But, sure, some Tereus hath deflower’d thee,

And, lest thou shouldst detect him, cut thy tongue.

Ah! now thou turn’st away thy face for shame;

And, notwithstanding all this loss of blood,  29

As from a conduit with three issuing spouts,

Yet do thy cheeks look red as Titan’s face

Blushing to be encounter’d with a cloud.  32

Shall I speak for thee? shall I say ’tis so?

O! that I knew thy heart; and knew the beast,

That I might rail at him to ease my mind.

Sorrow concealed, like to an oven stopp’d,  36

Doth burn the heart to cinders where it is.

Fair Philomela, she but lost her tongue,

And in a tedious sampler sew’d her mind:

But, lovely niece, that mean is cut from thee;  40

A craftier Tereus hast thou met withal,

And he hath cut those pretty fingers off,

That could have better sew’d than Philomel.

O! had the monster seen those lily hands  44

Tremble, like aspen-leaves, upon a lute,

And make the silken strings delight to kiss them,

He would not, then, have touch’d them for his life;

Or had he heard the heavenly harmony  48

Which that sweet tongue hath made,

He would have dropp’d his knife, and fell asleep,

As Cerberus at the Thracian poet’s feet.

Come, let us go, and make thy father blind;  52

For such a sight will blind a father’s eye:

One hour’s storm will drown the fragrant meads;

What will whole months of tears thy father’s eyes?

Do not draw back, for we will mourn with thee:  56

O! could our mourning ease thy misery.



Scene I.— Rome. A Street.

Enter Senators, Tribunes, and Officers of Justice, with Martius and Quintus, bound, passing on to the place of execution; Titus going before, pleading.


Hear me, grave fathers! noble tribunes, stay!

For pity of mine age, whose youth was spent

In dangerous wars, whilst you securely slept;

For all my blood in Rome’s great quarrel shed;

For all the frosty nights that I have watch’d;  5

And for these bitter tears, which now you see

Filling the aged wrinkles in my cheeks;

Be pitiful to my condemned sons,  8

Whose souls are not corrupted as ’tis thought.

For two and twenty sons I never wept,

Because they died in honour’s lofty bed.

For these, these, tribunes, in the dust I write  12

[He throws himself on the ground.

My heart’s deep languor and my soul’s sad tears.

Let my tears stanch the earth’s dry appetite;

My sons’ sweet blood will make it shame and blush.

[Exeunt Senators, Tribunes, &c., with the Prisoners.

O earth! I will befriend thee more with rain,  16

That shall distil from these two ancient urns,

Than youthful April shall with all his showers:

In summer’s drought I’ll drop upon thee still;

In winter with warm tears I’ll melt the snow,  20

And keep eternal spring-time on thy face,

So thou refuse to drink my dear sons’ blood.

Enter Lucius, with his sword drawn.

O reverend tribunes! O gentle, aged men!

Unbind my sons, reverse the doom of death:  24

And let me say, that never wept before,

My tears are now prevailing orators.


O noble father, you lament in vain:

The tribunes hear you not, no man is by;  28

And you recount your sorrows to a stone.


Ah! Lucius, for thy brothers let me plead.

Grave tribunes, once more I entreat of you,—


My gracious lord, no tribune hears you speak.  32


Why, ’tis no matter, man: if they did hear,

They would not mark me, or if they did mark,

They would not pity me, yet plead I must,

All bootless unto them.  36

Therefore I tell my sorrows to the stones,

Who, though they cannot answer my distress,

Yet in some sort they are better than the tribunes,

For that they will not intercept my tale.  40

When I do weep, they humbly at my feet

Receive my tears, and seem to weep with me;

And, were they but attired in grave weeds,

Rome could afford no tribune like to these.  44

A stone is soft as wax, tribunes more hard than stones;

A stone is silent, and offendeth not,

And tribunes with their tongues doom men to death.


But wherefore stand’st thou with thy weapon drawn?  48


To rescue my two brothers from their death;

For which attempt the judges have pronounc’d

My everlasting doom of banishment.


O happy man! they have befriended thee.  52

Why, foolish Lucius, dost thou not perceive

That Rome is but a wilderness of tigers?

Tigers must prey; and Rome affords no prey

But me and mine: how happy art thou then,  56

From these devourers to be banished!

But who comes with our brother Marcus here?

Enter Marcus and Lavinia.


Titus, prepare thy aged eyes to weep;

Or, if not so, thy noble heart to break:  60

I bring consuming sorrow to thine age.


Will it consume me? let me see it then.


This was thy daughter.


Why, Marcus, so she is.  64


Ay me! this object kills me.


Faint-hearted boy, arise, and look upon her.

Speak, Lavinia, what accursed hand

Hath made thee handless in thy father’s sight?

What fool hath added water to the sea,  69

Or brought a faggot to bright-burning Troy?

My grief was at the height before thou cam’st;

And now, like Nilus, it disdaineth bounds.  72

Give me a sword, I’ll chop off my hands too;

For they have fought for Rome, and all in vain;

And they have nurs’d this woe, in feeding life;

In bootless prayer have they been held up,  76

And they have serv’d me to effectless use:

Now all the service I require of them

Is that the one will help to cut the other.

’Tis well, Lavinia, that thou hast no hands,  80

For hands, to do Rome service, are but vain.


Speak, gentle sister, who hath martyr’d thee?


O! that delightful engine of her thoughts,

That blabb’d them with such pleasing eloquence,  84

Is torn from forth that pretty hollow cage,

Where, like a sweet melodious bird, it sung

Sweet varied notes, enchanting every ear.


O! say thou for her, who hath done this deed?  88


O! thus I found her straying in the park,

Seeking to hide herself, as doth the deer,

That hath receiv’d some unrecuring wound.


It was my dear; and he that wounded her  92

Hath hurt me more than had he kill’d me dead:

For now I stand as one upon a rock

Environ’d with a wilderness of sea,

Who marks the waxing tide grow wave by wave,

Expecting ever when some envious surge  97

Will in his brinish bowels swallow him.

This way to death my wretched sons are gone;

Here stands my other son, a banish’d man,  100

And here my brother, weeping at my woes:

But that which gives my soul the greatest spurn,

Is dear Lavinia, dearer than my soul.

Had I but seen thy picture in this plight  104

It would have madded me: what shall I do

Now I behold thy lively body so?

Thou hast no hands to wipe away thy tears,

Nor tongue to tell me who hath martyr’d thee:

Thy husband he is dead, and for his death  109

Thy brothers are condemn’d, and dead by this.

Look! Marcus; ah! son Lucius, look on her:

When I did name her brothers, then fresh tears

Stood on her cheeks, as doth the honey-dew  113

Upon a gather’d lily almost wither’d.


Perchance she weeps because they kill’d her husband;

Perchance because she knows them innocent.


If they did kill thy husband, then be joyful,  117

Because the law hath ta’en revenge on them.

No, no, they would not do so foul a deed;

Witness the sorrow that their sister makes.  120

Gentle Lavinia, let me kiss thy lips;

Or make some sign how I may do thee ease.

Shall thy good uncle, and thy brother Lucius,

And thou, and I, sit round about some fountain,  124

Looking all downwards, to behold our cheeks

How they are stain’d, like meadows yet not dry,

With miry alime left on them by a flood?

And in the fountain shall we gaze so long  128

Till the fresh taste be taken from that clearness,

And made a brine-pit with our bitter tears?

Or shall we cut away our hands, like thine?

Or shall we bite our tongues, and in dumb shows  132

Pass the remainder of our hateful days?

What shall we do? let us, that have our tongues,

Plot some device of further misery,

To make us wonder’d at in time to come.  136


Sweet father, cease your tears; for at your grief

See how my wretched sister sobs and weeps.


Patience, dear niece. Good Titus, dry thine eyes.


Ah! Marcus, Marcus, brother; well I wot  140

Thy napkin cannot drink a tear of mine,

For thou, poor man, hast drown’d it with thine own.


Ah! my Lavinia, I will wipe thy cheeks.


Mark, Marcus, mark! I understand her signs:  144

Had she a tongue to speak, now would she say

That to her brother which I said to thee:

His napkin, with his true tears all bewet,

Can do no service on her sorrowful cheeks.  148

O! what a sympathy of woe is this;

As far from help as limbo is from bliss.

Enter Aaron.


Titus Andronicus, my lord the emperor

Sends thee this word: that, if thou love thy sons,  152

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;  156

And that shall be the ransom for their fault.


O gracious emperor! O gentle Aaron!

Did ever raven sing so like a lark,

That gives sweet tidings of the sun’s uprise?  160

With all my heart, I’ll send the emperor my hand:

Good Aaron, wilt thou help to chop it off?


Stay, father! for that noble hand of thine,

That hath thrown down so many enemies,  164

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.


Which of your hands hath not defended Rome,  168

And rear’d aloft the bloody battle-axe,

Writing destruction on the enemy’s castle?

O! none of both but are of high desert:

My hand hath been but idle; let it serve  172

To ransom my two nephews from their death;

Then have I kept it to a worthy end.


Nay, come, agree whose hand shall go along,

For fear they die before their pardon come.  176


My hand shall go.


By heaven, it shall not go!


Sirs, strive no more: such wither’d herbs as these

Are meet for plucking up, and therefore mine.


Sweet father, if I shall be thought thy son,  180

Let me redeem my brothers both from death.


And for our father’s sake, and mother’s care,

Now let me show a brother’s love to thee.


Agree between you; I will spare my hand.  184


Then I’ll go fetch an axe.


But I will use the axe.

[Exeunt Lucius and Marcus.


Come hither, Aaron; I’ll deceive them both:

Lend me thy hand, and I will give thee mine.


[Aside.] If that be call’d deceit, I will be honest,  188

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.

[Cuts off Titushand.

Re-enter Lucius and Marcus.


Now stay your strife: what shall be is dispatch’d.  192

Good Aaron, give his majesty my hand:

Tell him it was a hand that warded him

From thousand dangers; bid him bury it;

More hath it merited; that let it have.  196

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.


I go, Andronicus; and for thy hand,

Look by and by to have thy sons with thee.  201

[Aside.] Their heads, I mean. O! how this villany

Doth fat me with the very thoughts of it.

Let fools do good, and fair men call for grace,

Aaron will have his soul black like his face.  205



O! here I lift this one hand up to heaven,

And how this feeble ruin to the earth:

If any power pities wretched tears,  208

To that I call! [To Lavinia.] What! wilt thou kneel with me?

Do, then, dear heart; for heaven shall hear our prayers,

Or with our sighs we’ll breathe the welkin dim,  211

And stain the sun with fog, as sometime clouds

When they do hug him in their melting bosoms.


O! brother, speak with possibilities,

And do not break into these deep extremes.


Is not my sorrow deep, having no bottom?  216

Then be my passions bottomless with them.


But yet let reason govern thy lament.


If there were reason for these miseries,

Then into limits could I bind my woes.  220

When heaven doth weep, doth not the earth o’erflow?

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?  224

I am the sea; hark! how her sighs do blow;

She is the weeping welkin, I the earth:

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;  229

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  232

To ease their stomachs with their bitter tongues.

Enter a Messenger, with two heads and a hand.


Worthy Andronicus, ill art thou repaid

For that good hand thou sent’st the emperor.

Here are the heads of thy two noble sons,  236

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,

More than remembrance of my father’s death.



Now let hot Ætna cool in Sicily,  241

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,  244

But sorrow flouted at is double death.


Ah! that this sight should make so deep a wound,

And yet detested life not shrink thereat,  247

That ever death should let life bear his name,

Where life hath no more interest but to breathe.

[Lavinia kisses Titus.


Alas! poor heart; that kiss is comfortless

As frozen water to a starved snake.


When will this fearful slumber have an end?  252


Now, farewell, flattery: die, Andronicus;

Thou dost not slumber: see, thy two sons’ heads,

Thy war-like hand, thy mangled daughter here;

Thy other banish’d son, with this dear sight  256

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.

Rent off thy silver hair, thy other hand  260

Gnawing with thy teeth; and be this dismal sight

The closing up of our most wretched eyes!

Now is a time to storm; why art thou still?


Ha, ha, ha!  264


Why dost thou laugh? it fits not with this hour.


Why, I have not another tear to shed:

Besides, this sorrow is an enemy,

And would usurp upon my watery eyes,  268

And make them blind with tributary tears:

Then which way shall I find Revenge’s cave?

For these two heads do seem to speak to me,

And threat me I shall never come to bliss  272

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,  276

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.  280

Lavinia, thou shalt be employ’d in these things:

Bear thou my hand, sweet wench, between thy teeth.

As for thee, boy, go get thee from my sight;

Thou art an exile, and thou must not stay:  284

Hie to the Goths, and raise an army there:

And if you love me, as I think you do,

Let’s kiss and part, for we have much to do.

[Exeunt Titus, Marcus, and Lavinia.


Farewell, Andronicus, my noble father;

The woefull’st man that ever liv’d in Rome:  289

Farewell, proud Rome; till Lucius come again,

He leaves his pledges dearer than his life.

Farewell, Lavinia, my noble sister;  292

O! would thou wert as thou tofore hast been;

But now nor Lucius nor Lavinia lives

But in oblivion and hateful griefs.

If Lucius live, he will requite your wrongs,  296

And make proud Saturnine and his empress

Beg at the gates like Tarquin and his queen.

Now will I to the Goths, and raise a power,

To be reveng’d on Rome and Saturnine.  300


Scene II.— The Same. A Room in TitusHouse. A Banquet set out.

Enter Titus, Marcus, Lavinia, and young Lucius, a Boy.


So, so; now sit; and look you eat no more

Than will preserve just so much strength in us

As will revenge these bitter woes of ours.

Marcus, unknit that sorrow-wreathen knot:  4

Thy niece and I, poor creatures, want our hands,

And cannot passionate our ten-fold grief

With folded arms. This poor right hand of mine

Is left to tyrannize upon my breast;  8

And when my heart, all mad with misery,

Beats in this hollow prison of my flesh,

Then thus I thump it down.

[To Lavinia.] Thou map of woe, that thus dost talk in signs!  12

When thy poor heart beats with outrageous beating

Thou canst not strike it thus to make it still.

Wound it with sighing, girl, kill it with groans;

Or get some little knife between thy teeth,  16

And just against thy heart make thou a hole;

That all the tears that thy poor eyes let fall

May run into that sink, and, soaking in,

Drown the lamenting fool in sea-salt tears.  20


Fie, brother, fie! teach her not thus to lay

Such violent hands upon her tender life.


How now! has sorrow made thee dote already?

Why, Marcus, no man should be mad but I.  24

What violent hands can she lay on her life?

Ah! wherefore dost thou urge the name of hands;

To bid Æaeas tell the tale twice o’er,

How Troy was burnt and he made miserable?  28

O! handle not the theme, to talk of hands,

Lest we remember still that we have none.

Fie, fie! how franticly I square my talk,

As if we should forget we had no hands,  32

If Marcus did not name the word of hands.

Come, let’s fall to; and, gentle girl, eat this:

Here is no drink. Hark, Marcus, what she says;

I can interpret all her martyr’d signs:  36

She says she drinks no other drink but tears,

Brew’d with her sorrow, mash’d upon her cheeks.

Speechless complainer, I will learn thy thought;

In thy dumb action will I be as perfect  40

As begging hermits in their holy prayers:

Thou shalt not sigh, nor hold thy stumps to heaven,

Nor wink, nor nod, nor kneel, nor make a sign,

But I of these will wrest an alphabet,  44

And by still practice learn to know thy meaning.


Good grandsire, leave these bitter deep laments:

Make my aunt merry with some pleasing tale.


Alas! the tender boy, in passion mov’d,

Doth weep to see his grandsire’s heaviness.  49


Peace, tender sapling; thou art made of tears,

And tears will quickly melt thy life away.

[Marcus strikes the dish with a knife.

What dost thou strike at, Marcus, with thy knife?  52


At that that I have kill’d, my lord; a fly.


Out on thee, murderer! thou kill’st my heart;

Mine eyes are cloy’d with view of tyranny:

A deed of death, done on the innocent,  56

Becomes not Titus’ brother. Get thee gone;

I see, thou art not for my company.


Alas! my lord, I have but kill’d a fly.


But how if that fly had a father and a mother?  60

How would he hang his slender gilded wings

And buzz lamenting doings in the air!

Poor harmless fly,

That, with his pretty buzzing melody,  64

Came here to make us merry! and thou hast kill’d him.


Pardon me, sir; it was a black ill-favour’d fly,

Like to the empress’ Moor; therefore I kill’d him.


O, O, O!  68

Then pardon me for reprehending thee,

For thou hast done a charitable deed.

Give me thy knife, I will insult on him;

Flattering myself, as if it were the Moor  72

Come hither purposely to poison me.

There’s for thyself, and that’s for Tamora.

Ah! sirrah.

Yet I think we are not brought so low,  76

But that between us we can kill a fly

That comes in likeness of a coal-black Moor.


Alas! poor man; grief has so wrought on him,

He takes false shadows for true substances.  80


Come, take away. Lavinia, go with me:

I’ll to thy closet; and go read with thee

Sad stories chanced in the times of old.

Come, boy, and go with me: thy sight is young,

And thou shalt read when mine begins to dazzle.



Scene I.— Rome. TitusGarden.

Enter Titus and Marcus. Then enter young Lucius, Lavinia ranning after him.


Help, grandsire, help! my aunt Lavinia

Follows me everywhere, I know not why:

Good uncle Marcus, see how swift she comes:

Alas! sweet aunt, I know not what you mean.  4


Stand by me, Lucius; do not fear thine aunt.


She loves thee, boy, too well to do thee harm.


Ay, when my father was in Rome, she did.


What means my niece Lavinia by these signs?  8


Fear her not, Lucius: somewhat doth she mean.

See, Lucius, see how much she makes of thee;

Somewhither would she have thee go with her.

Ah! boy; Cornelia never with more care  12

Read to her sons, than she hath read to thee

Sweet poetry and Tully’s Orator.


Canst thou not guess wherefore she plies thee thus?


My lord, I know not, I, nor can I guess,

Unless some fit or frenzy do possess her;  17

For I have heard my grandsire say full oft,

Extremity of griefs would make men mad;

And I have read that Hecuba of Troy  20

Ran mad through sorrow; that made me to fear,

Although, my lord, I know my noble aunt

Loves me as dear as e’er my mother did,

And would not, but in fury, fright my youth;  24

Which made me down to throw my books and fly,

Causeless, perhaps. But pardon me, sweet aunt;

And, madam, if my uncle Marcus go,

I will most willingly attend your ladyship.  28


Lucius, I will.

[Lavinia turns over the books which Lucius had let fall.


How now, Lavinia! Marcus, what means this?

Some book there is that she desires to see.

Which is it, girl, of these? Open them, boy.  32

But thou art deeper read, and better skill’d;

Come, and take choice of all my library,

And so beguile thy sorrow, till the heavens

Reveal the damn’d contriver of this deed.  36

Why lifts she up her arms in sequence thus?


I think she means that there was more than one

Confederate in the fact: ay, more there was;

Or else to heaven she heaves them for revenge.


Lucius; what book is that she tosseth so?


Grandsire, ’tis Ovid’s Metamorphoses;

My mother gave it me.


For love of her that’s gone,

Perhaps, she cull’d it from among the rest.  44


Soft! see how busily she turns the leaves!

[Helping her.

What would she find? Lavinia, shall I read?

This is the tragic tale of Philomel,

And treats of Tereus’ treason and his rape;  48

And rape, I fear, was root of thine annoy.


See, brother, see! note how she quotes the leaves.


Lavinia, wert thou thus surpris’d, sweet girl,

Ravish’d and wrong’d, as Philomela was,  52

Forc’d in the ruthless, vast, and gloomy woods?

See, see!

Ay, such a place there is, where we did hunt,—

O! had we never, never hunted there,—  56

Pattern’d by that the poet here describes,

By nature made for murders and for rapes.


O! why should nature build so foul a den,

Unless the gods delight in tragedies?  60


Give signs, sweet girl, for here are none but friends,

What Roman lord it was durst do the deed:

Or slunk not Saturnine, as Tarquin erst,

That left the camp to sin in Lucrece’ bed?  64


Sit down, sweet niece: brother, sit down by me.

Apollo, Pallas, Jove, or Mercury,

Inspire me, that I may this treason find!

My lord, look here; look here, Lavinia:  68

This sandy plot is plain; guide, if thou canst,

This after me.

[He writes his name with his staff, and guides it with his feet and mouth.

I have writ my name

Without the help of any hand at all.

Curs’d be that heart that forc’d us to this shift!

Write thou, good niece, and here display at last

What God will have discover’d for revenge.  74

Heaven guide thy pen to print thy sorrows plain,

That we may know the traitors and the truth!

[She takes the staff in her mouth, and guides it with her stumps, and writes.


O! do you read, my lord, what she hath writ?  77

Stuprum, Chiron, Demetrius.


What, what! the lustful sons of Tamora

Performers of this heinous, bloody deed?  80


Magni dominator poli,

Tam lentus audis scelera? tam lentus vides?


O! calm thee, gentle lord; although I know

There is enough written upon this earth  84

To stir a mutiny in the mildest thoughts

And arm the minds of infants to exclaims.

My lord, kneel down with me; Lavinia, kneel;

And kneel, sweet boy, the Roman Hector’s hope;

And swear with me, as, with the woeful fere  89

And father of that chaste dishonour’d dame,

Lord Junius Brutus sware for Lucrece’ rape,

That we will prosecute by good advice  92

Mortal revenge upon these traitorous Goths,

And see their blood, or die with this reproach.


’Tis sure enough, an you knew how;

But if you hunt these bear-whelps, then beware:

The dam will wake, an if she wind you once:  97

She’s with the lion deeply still in league,

And lulls him whilst she playeth on her back,

And when he sleeps will she do what she list.  100

You’re a young huntsman, Marcus; let it alone;

And, come, I will go get a leaf of brass,

And with a gad of steel will write these words,

And lay it by: the angry northern wind  104

Will blow these sands like Sibyl’s leaves abroad,

And where’s your lesson then? Boy, what say you?


I say, my lord, that if I were a man,

Their mother’s bed-chamber should not be safe

For these bad bondmen to the yoke of Rome.  109


Ay, that’s my boy! thy father hath full oft

For his ungrateful country done the like.


And, uncle, so will I, an if I live.  112


Come, go with me into mine armoury:

Lucius, I’ll fit thee; and withal my boy

Shall carry from me to the empress’ sons

Presents that I intend to send them both:  116

Come, come; thou’lt do thy message, wilt thou not?


Ay, with my dagger in their bosoms, grandsire.


No, boy, not so; I’ll teach thee another course.

Lavinia, come. Marcus, look to my house;  120

Lucius and I’ll go brave it at the court:

Ay, marry, will we, sir; and we’ll be waited on.

[Exeunt Titus, Lavinia, and Boy.


O heavens! can you hear a good man groan,

And not relent or not compassion him?  124

Marcus, attend him in his ecstasy,

That hath more scars of sorrow in his heart

Than foemen’s marks upon his batter’d shield;

But yet so just that he will not revenge.  128

Revenge, ye heavens, for old Andronicus!


Scene II.— The Same. A Room in the Palace.

Enter, from one side, Aaron, Demetrius, and Chiron; from the other young Lucius, and an Attendant, with a bundle of weapons, and verses writ upon them.


Demetrius, here’s the son of Lucius;

He hath some message to deliver us.


Ay, some mad message from his mad grandfather.


My lords, with all the humbleness I may,  4

I greet your honours from Andronicus;

[Aside.] And pray the Roman gods, confound you both!


Gramercy, lovely Lucius: what’s the news?


[Aside.] That you are both decipher’d, that’s the news,  8

For villains mark’d with rape. [Aloud.] May it please you,

My grandsire, well advis’d, hath sent by me

The goodliest weapons of his armoury,

To gratify your honourable youth,  12

The hope of Rome, for so he bade me say;

And so I do, and with his gifts present

Your lordships, that whenever you have need,

You may be armed and appointed well.  16

And so I leave you both: [Aside.] like bloody villains.

[Exeunt Boy and Attendant.


What’s here? A scroll; and written round about?

Let’s see:—

[Reads.] ‘Integer vitæ, scelerisque purus,  20

Non eget Mauri jaculis, nec arcu.


O! ’tis a verse in Horace; I know it well:

I read it in the grammar long ago.


Ay just, a verse in Horace; right, you have it.  24

[Aside.] Now, what a thing it is to be an ass!

Here’s no sound jest! the old man hath found their guilt

And sends them weapons wrapp’d about with lines,

That wound, beyond their feeling, to the quick;

But were our witty empress well afoot,  29

She would applaud Andronicus’ conceit:

But let her rest in her unrest awhile.

[To them.] And now, young lords, was’t not a happy star  32

Led us to Rome, strangers, and more than so,

Captives, to be advanced to this height?

It did me good before the palace gate

To brave the tribune in his brother’s hearing.  36


But me more good, to see so great a lord

Basely insinuate and send us gifts.


Had he not reason, Lord Demetrius?

Did you not use his daughter very friendly?  40


I would we had a thousand Roman dames

At such a bay, by turn to serve our lust.


A charitable wish and full of love.


Here lacks but your mother for to say amen.  44


And that would she for twenty thousand more.


Come, let us go and pray to all the gods

For our beloved mother in her pains.


[Aside.] Pray to the devils; the gods have given us over.

[Trumpets sound.


Why do the emperor’s trumpets flourish thus?  49


Belike, for joy the emperor hath a son.


Soft! who comes here?

Enter a Nurse, with a blackamoor Child.


Good morrow, lords. O! tell me, did you see  52

Aaron the Moor?


Well, more or less, or ne’er a whit at all,

Here Aaron is; and what with Aaron now?


O gentle Aaron! we are all undone.  56

Now help, or woe betide thee evermore!


Why, what a caterwauling dost thou keep!

What dost thou wrap and fumble in thine arms?


O! that which I would hide from heaven’s eye,  60

Our empress’ shame, and stately Rome’s disgrace!

She is deliver’d, lords, she is deliver’d.


To whom?


I mean, she’s brought a-bed.


Well, God give her good rest! What hath he sent her?  64


A devil.


Why, then she’s the devil’s dam: a joyful issue.


A joyless, dismal, black, and sorrowful issue.

Here is the babe, as loathsome as a toad  68

Amongst the fairest breeders of our clime.

The empress sends it thee, thy stamp, thy seal,

And bids thee christen it with thy dagger’s point.


’Zounds, ye whore! is black so base a hue?  72

Sweet blowse, you are a beauteous blossom, sure.


Villain, what hast thou done?


That which thou canst not undo.


Thou hast undone our mother.  76


Villain, I have done thy mother.


And therein, hellish dog, thou hast undone.

Woe to her chance, and damn’d her loathed choice!

Accurs’d the offspring of so foul a fiend!  80


It shall not live.


It shall not die.


Aaron, it must; the mother wills it so.


What! must it, nurse? then let no man but I  84

Do execution on my flesh and blood.


I’ll broach the tadpole on my rapier’s point:

Nurse, give it me; my sword shall soon dispatch it.


Sooner this sword shall plough thy bowels up.  88

[Takes the Child from the Nurse, and draws.

Stay, murderous villains! will you kill your brother?

Now, by the burning tapers of the sky,

That shone so brightly when this boy was got,

He dies upon my scimitar’s sharp point  92

That touches this my first-born son and heir.

I tell you, younglings, not Enceladus,

With all his threatening band of Typhon’s brood,

Nor great Alcides, nor the god of war,  96

Shall seize this prey out of his father’s hands.

What, what, ye sanguine, shallow-hearted boys!

Ye white-lim’d walls! ye alehouse painted signs!

Coal-black is better than another hue,  100

In that it scorns to bear another hue;

For all the water in the ocean

Can never turn the swan’s black legs to white,

Although she lave them hourly in the flood.  104

Tell the empress from me, I am of age

To keep mine own, excuse it how she can.


Wilt thou betray thy noble mistress thus?


My mistress is my mistress; this myself;  108

The vigour, and the picture of my youth:

This before all the world do I prefer;

This maugre all the world will I keep safe,

Or some of you shall smoke for it in Rome.  112


By this our mother is for ever sham’d.


Rome will despise her for this foul escape.


The emperor in his rage will doom her death.


I blush to think upon this ignomy.  116


Why, there’s the privilege your beauty bears.

Fie, treacherous hue! that will betray with blushing

The close enacts and counsels of the heart:

Here’s a young lad fram’d of another leer:  120

Look how the black slavesmiles upon the father,

As who should say, ‘Old lad, I am thine own.’

He is your brother, lords, sensibly fed

Of that self blood that first gave life to you;  124

And from that womb where you imprison’d were

He is enfranchised and come to light:

Nay, he is your brother by the surer side,

Although my seal be stamped in his face.  128


Aaron, what shall I say unto the empress?


Advise thee, Aaron, what is to be done,

And we will all subscribe to thy advice:

Save thou the child, so we may all be safe.  132


Then sit we down, and let us all consult,

My son and I will have the wind of you:

Keep there; now talk at pleasure of your safety.

[They sit.


How many women saw this child of his?


Why, so, brave lords! when we join in league,  137

I am a lamb; but if you brave the Moor,

The chafed boar, the mountain lioness,

The ocean swells not so as Aaron storms.  140

But say, again, how many saw the child?


Cornelia the midwife, and myself,

And no one else but the deliver’d empress.


The empress, the midwife, and yourself:  144

Two may keep counsel when the third’s away.

Go to the empress; tell her this I said:

[Stabbing her.

‘Weke, weke!’

So cries a pig prepared to the spit.  148


What mean’st thou, Aaron? Wherefore didst thou this?


O lord, sir, ’tis a deed of policy:

Shall she live to betray this guilt of ours,

A long-tongu’d babbling gossip? no, lords, no.

And now be it known to you my full intent.  153

Not far, one Muli lives, my countryman;

His wife but yesternight was brought to bed.

His child is like to her, fair as you are:  156

Go pack with him, and give the mother gold,

And tell them both the circumstance of all,

And how by this their child shall be advanc’d,

And be received for the emperor’s heir,  160

And substituted in the place of mine,

To calm this tempest whirling in the court;

And let the emperor dandle him for his own.

Hark ye, lords; you see, I have given her physic,

[Pointing to the Nurse.

And you must needs bestow her funeral;  165

The fields are near, and you are gallant grooms.

This done, see that you take no longer days,

But send the midwife presently to me.  168

The midwife and the nurse well made away,

Then let the ladies tattle what they please.


Aaron, I see thou wilt not trust the air

With secrets.


For this care of Tamora,  172

Herself and hers are highly hound to thee.

[Exeunt Demetrius and Chiron, bearing off the Nurse’s body.


Now to the Goths, as swift as swallow flies:

There to dispose this treasure in mine arms,

And secretly to greet the empress’ friends.  176

Come on, you thick-lipp’d slave, I’ll bear you hence;

For it is you that puts us to our shifts:

I’ll make you feed on berries and on roots,

And feed on curds and whey, and suck the goat,

And cabin in a cave, and bring you up  181

To be a warrior, and command a camp.

[Exit with the Child.

Scene III.— The Same. A Public Place.

Enter Titus, bearing arrows, with letters on the ends of them; with him Marcus, young Lucius, Publius, Sempronius, Caius, and other Gentlemen, with bows.


Come, Marcus, come; kinsmen, this is the way.

Sir boy, now let me see your archery:

Look ye draw home enough, and ’tis there straight.

Terras Astræa reliquit:  4

Be you remember’d, Marcus, she’s gone, she’s fled.

Sirs, take you to your tools. You, cousins, shall

Go sound the ocean, and cast your nets;

Happily you may find her in the sea;  8

Yet there’s as little justice as at land.

No; Publius and Sempronius, you must do it;

’Tis you must dig with mattock and with spade,

And pierce the inmost centre of the earth:  12

Then, when you come to Pluto’s region,

I pray you, deliver him this petition;

Tell him, it is for justice and for aid,

And that it comes from old Andronicus,  16

Shaken with sorrows in ungrateful Rome.

Ah! Rome. Well, well; I made thee miserable

What time I threw the people’s suffrages

On him that thus doth tyrannize o’er me.  20

Go, get you gone; and pray be careful all,

And leave you not a man-of-war unsearch’d:

This wicked emperor may have shipp’d her hence;

And, kinsmen, then we may go pipe for justice.


O Publius! is not this a heavy case,  25

To see thy noble uncle thus distract?


Therefore, my lord, it highly us concerns

By day and night to attend him carefully,  28

And feed his humour kindly as we may,

Till time beget some careful remedy.


Kinsmen, his sorrows are past remedy.

Join with the Goths, and with revengeful war  32

Take wreak on Rome for this ingratitude,

And vengeance on the traitor Saturnine.


Publius, how now! how now, my masters!

What! have you met with her?  36


No, my good lord; but Pluto sends you word,

If you will have Revenge from hell, you shall:

Marry, for Justice, she is so employ’d,

He thinks, with Jove in heaven, or somewhere else,  40

So that perforce you must needs stay a time.


He doth me wrong to feed me with delays.

I’ll dive into the burning lake below,

And pull her out of Acheron by the heels.  44

Marcus, we are but shrubs, no cedars we;

No big-bon’d men fram’d of the Cyclops’ size;

But metal, Marcus, steel to the very back,

Yet wrung with wrongs more than our backs can bear:  48

And sith there’s no justice in earth nor hell,

We will solicit heaven and move the gods

To send down Justice for to wreak our wrongs.

Come, to this gear. You are a good archer, Marcus.

[He gives them the arrows.

Ad Javem, that’s for you: here, ad Apollinem:

Ad Martem, that’s for myself:

Here, boy, to Pallas: here, to Mercury:

To Saturn, Caius, not to Saturnine;  56

You were as good to shoot against the wind.

To it, boy! Marcus, loose when I bid.

Of my word, I have written to effect;

There’s not a god left unsolicited.  60


Kinsmen, shoot all your shafts into the court:

We will afflict the emperor in his pride.


Now, masters, draw. [They shoot.] O! well said, Lucius!

Good boy, in Virgo’s lap: give it Pallas.  64


My lord, I aim a mile beyond the moon;

Your letter is with Jupiter by this.


Ha! Publius, Publius, what hast thou done?

See, see! thou hast shot off one of Taurus’ horns.


This was the sport, my lord: when Publius shot,  69

The Bull, being gall’d, gave Aries such a knock

That down fell both the Ram’s horns in the court;

And who should find them but the empress’ villain?  72

She laugh’d, and told the Moor, he should not choose

But give them to his master for a present.


Why, there it goes: God give his lordship joy!

Enter a Clown, with a basket, and two pigeons in it.

News! news from heaven! Marcus, the post is come.  76

Sirrah, what tidings? have you any letters?

Shall I have justice? what says Jupiter?


O! tho gibbet-maker? He says that he hath taken them down again, for the man must not be hanged till the next week.  81


But what says Jupiter, I ask thee?


Alas! sir, I know not Jupiter; I never drank with him in all my life.  84


Why, villain, art not thou the carrier?


Ay, of my pigeons, sir; nothing else.


Why, didst thou not come from heaven?


From heaven! alas! sir, I never came there. God forbid I should be so bold to press to heaven in my young days. Why, I am going with my pigeons to the tribunal plebs, to take up a matter of brawl betwixt my uncle and one of the emperial’s men.  93


Why, sir, that is as fit as can be to serve for your oration; and let him deliver the pigeons to the emperor from you.  96


Tell me, can you deliver an oration to the emperor with a grace?


Nay, truly, sir, I could never say grace in all my life.  100


Sirrah, come hither: make no more ado,

But give your pigeons to the emperor:

By me thou shalt have justice at his hands.

Hold, hold; meanwhile, here’s money for thy charges.  104

Give me pen and ink.

Sirrah, can you with a grace deliver a supplication?


Ay, sir.


Then here is a supplication for you. And when you come to him, at the first approach you must kneel; then kiss his foot; then deliver up your pigeons; and then look for your reward. I’ll be at hand, sir; see you do it bravely.


I warrant you, sir; let me alone.  113


Sirrah, hast thou a knife? Come, let me see it.

Here, Marcus, fold it in the oration;

For thou hast made it like a humble suppliant:

And when thou hast given it to the emperor,  117

Knock at my door, and tell me what he says.


God be with you, sir; I will.


Come, Marcus, let us go. Publius, follow me.


Scene IV.— The Same. Before the Palace.

Enter Saturninus, Tamora, Demetrius, Chiron, Lords, and Others: Saturninus with the arrows in his hand that Titus shot.


Why, lords, what wrongs are these! Was ever seen

An emperor of Rome thus overborne,

Troubled, confronted thus; and, for the extent

Of egal justice, us’d in such contempt?  4

My lords, you know, as do the mightful gods,—

However these disturbers of our peace

Buzz in the people’s ears,—there nought hath pass’d,

But even with law, against the wilful sons  8

Of old Andronicus. And what an if

His sorrows have so overwhelm’d his wits,

Shall we be thus afflicted in his wreaks,

His fits, his frenzy, and his bitterness?  12

And now he writes to heaven for his redress:

See, here’s to Jove, and this to Mercury;

This to Apollo; this to the god of war;

Sweet scrolls to fly about the streets of Rome!  16

What’s this but libelling against the senate,

And blazoning our injustice every where?

A goodly humour, is it not, my lords?

As who would say, in Rome no justice were.  20

But if I live, his feigned ecstasies

Shall be no shelter to these outrages;

But he and his shall know that justice lives

In Saturninus’ health; whom, if she sleep,  24

He’ll so awake, as she in fury shall

Cut off the proud’st conspirator that lives.


My gracious lord, my lovely Saturnine,

Lord of my life, commander of my thoughts,  28

Calm thee, and bear the faults of Titus’ age,

The effects of sorrow for his valiant sons,

Whose loss hath pierc’d him deep and scarr’d his heart;

And rather comfort his distressed plight  32

Than prosecute the meanest or the best

For these contempts.—[Aside.] Why, thus it shall become

High-witted Tamora to gloze with all:

But, Titus, I have touch’d thee to the quick,  36

Thy life-blood out: if Aaron now be wise,

Then is all safe, the anchor’s in the port.

Enter Clown.

How now, good fellow! wouldst thou speak with us?


Yea, forsooth, an your mistership be emperial.  40


Empress I am, but yonder sits the emperor.


’Tis he. God and Saint Stephen give you good den.

I have brought you a letter and a couple of pigeons here.

[Saturninus reads the letter.


Go, take him away, and hang him presently.  44


How much money must I have?


Come, sirrah, you must be hanged.


Hanged! By ’r, lady, then I have brought up a neck to a fair end.

[Exit, guarded.


Despiteful and intolerable wrongs!  49

Shall I endure this monstrous villany?

I know from whence this same device proceeds:

May this be borne? As if his traitorous sons,  52

That died by law for murder of our brother,

Have by my means been butcher’d wrongfully!

Go, drag the villain hither by the hair;

Nor age nor honour shall shape privilege.  56

For this proud mock I’ll be thy slaughterman;

Sly frantic wretch, that holp’st to make me great,

In hope thyself should govern Rome and me.

Enter Æmilius.

What news with thee, Æmilius?  60


Arm, arm, my lord! Rome never had more cause.

The Goths have gather’d head, and with a power

Of high-resolved men, bent to the spoil,

They hither march amain, under conduct  64

Of Lucius, son to old Andronicus;

Who threats, in course of this revenge, to do

As much as ever Coriolanus did.


Is war-like Lucius general of the Goths?

These tidings nip me, and I hang the head  69

As flowers with frost or grass beat down with storms.

Ay, now begin our sorrows to approach:

’Tis he the common people love so much;  72

Myself hath often heard them say,

When I have walked like a private man,

That Lucius’ banishment was wrongfully,

And they have wish’d that Lucius were their emperor.  76


Why should you fear? is not your city strong?


Ay, but the citizens favour Lucius,

And will revolt from me to succour him.


King, be thy thoughts imperious, like thy name.  80

Is the sun dimm’d, that gnats do fly in it?

The eagle suffers little birds to sing,

And is not careful what they mean thereby,

Knowing that with the shadow of his wings  84

He can at pleasure stint their melody;

Even so mayst thou the giddy men of Rome.

Then cheer thy spirit; for know, thou emperor,

I will enchant the old Andronicus  88

With words more sweet, and yet more dangerous,

Than baits to fish, or honey-stalks to sheep,

Whenas the one is wounded with the bait,

The other rotted with delicious feed.  92


But he will not entreat his son for us.


If Tamora entreat him, then he will:

For I can smooth and fill his aged ear

With golden promises, that, were his heart  96

Almost impregnable, his old ears deaf,

Yet should both ear and heart obey my tongue.

[To Æmilius.] Go thou before, be our ambassador:

Say that the emperor requests a parley  100

Of war-like Lucius, and appoint the meeting,

Even at his father’s house, the old Andronicus.


Æmilius, do this message honourably:

And if he stand on hostage for his safety,  104

Bid him demand what pledge will please him best.


Your bidding shall I do effectually.



Now will I to that old Andronicus,

And temper him with all the art I have,  108

To pluck proud Lucius from the war-like Goths.

And now, sweet emperor, be blithe again,

And bury all thy fear in my devices.


Then go successantly, and plead to him.



Scene I.— Plains near Rome.

Flourish. Enter Lucius, and an army of Goths, with drums and colours.


Approved warriors, and my faithful friends,

I have received letters from great Rome,

Which signify what hate they bear their emperor,

And how desirous of our sight they are.  4

Therefore, great lords, be, as your titles witness,

Imperious and impatient of your wrongs;

And wherein Rome hath done you any scath,

Let him make treble satisfaction.  8

First Goth.

Brave slip, sprung from the great Andronicus,

Whose name was once our terror, now our comfort;

Whose high exploits and honourable deeds

Ingrateful Rome requites with foul contempt,  12

Be bold in us: we’ll follow where thou lead’st,

Like stinging bees in hottest summer’s day

Led by their master to the flower’d fields,

And be aveng’d on cursed Tamora.  16


And, as he saith, so say we all with him.


I humbly thank him, and I thank you all.

But who comes here, led by a lusty Goth?

Enter a Goth, leading Aaron, with his Child in his arms.

Sec. Goth.

Renowned Lucius, from our troops I stray’d,  20

To gaze upon a ruinous monastery;

And as I earnestly did fix mine eye

Upon the wasted building, suddenly

I heard a child cry underneath a wall.  24

I made unto the noise; when soon I heard

The crying babe controll’d with this discourse:

‘Peace, tawny slave, half me and half thy dam!

Did not thy hue bewray whose brat thou art,  28

Had nature lent thee but thy mother’s look,

Villain, thou mightst have been an emperor:

But where the bull and cow are both milk-white,

They never do beget a coal-black calf.  32

Peace, villain, peace!’—even thus he rates the babe,—

‘For I must bear thee to a trusty Goth;

Who, when he knows thou art the empress’ babe,

Will hold thee dearly for thy mother’s sake.’  36

With this, my weapon drawn, I rush’d upon him,

Surpris’d him suddenly, and brought him hither,

To use as you think needful of the man.


O worthy Goth, this is the incarnate devil  40

That robb’d Andronicus of his good hand:

This is the pearl that pleas’d your empress’ eye,

And here’s the base fruit of his burning lust.

Say, wall-ey’d slave, whither wouldst thou convey  44

This growing image of thy fiend-like face?

Why dost not speak? What! deaf? not a word?

A halter, soldiers! hang him on this tree,

And by his side his fruit of bastardy.  48


Touch not the boy; he is of royal blood.


Too like the sire for ever being good.

First hang the child, that he may see it sprawl;

A sight to vex the father’s soul withal.  52

Get me a ladder.

[A ladder brought, which Aaron is made to ascend.


Lucius, save the child;

And bear it from me to the empress.

If thou do this, I’ll show thee wondrous things,

That highly may advantage thee to hear:  56

If thou wilt not, befall what may befall,

I’ll speak no more but ‘Vengeance rot you all!’


Say on; and if it please me which thou speak’st,

Thy child shall live, and I will see it nourish’d.


An if it please thee! why, assure thee, Lucius,  61

’Twill vex’thy soul to hear what I shall speak;

For I must talk of murders, rapes, and massacres,

Acts of black night, abominable deeds,  64

Complots of mischief, treason, villanies

Ruthful to hear, yet piteously perform’d:

And this shall all be buried by my death,

Unless thou swear to me my child shall live.  68


Tell on thy mind: I say, thy child shall live.


Swear that he shall, and then I will begin.


Who should I swear by? thou believ’st no god:

That granted, how canst thou believe an oath?


What if I do not? as, indeed, I do not;

Yet, for I know thou art religious,

And hast a thing within thee called conscience,

With twenty popish tricks and ceremonies,  76

Which I have seen thee careful to observe,

Therefore I urge thy oath; for that I know

An idiot holds his bauble for a god,

And keeps the oath which by that god he swears,

To that I’ll urge him: therefore thou shalt vow

By that same god, what god soe’er it be,

That thou ador’st and hast in reverence,

To save my boy, to nourish and bring him up:

Or else I will discover nought to thee.  85


Even by my god I swear to thee I will.


First, know thou, I begot him on the empress.


O most insatiate and luxurious woman!


Tut! Lucius, this was but a deed of charity  89

To that which thou shalt hear of me anon.

’Twas her two sons that murder’d Bassianus;

They cut thy sister’s tongue and ravish’d her,  92

And cut her hands and trimm’d her as thou saw’st.


O detestable villain! call’st thou that trimming?


Why, she was wash’d, and cut, and trimm’d, and ’twas

Trim sport for them that had the doing of it.  96


O barbarous, beastly villains, like thyself!


Indeed, I was their tutor to instruct them.

That codding spirit had they from their mother,

As sure a card as ever won the set;  100

That bloody mind, I think, they learn’d of me

As true a dog as ever fought at head.

Well, let my deeds be witness of my worth.

I train’d thy brethren to that guileful hole  104

Where the dead corpse of Bassianus lay;

I wrote the letter that thy father found,

And hid the gold within the letter mention’d,

Confederate with the queen and her two sons:

And what not done, that thou hast cause to rue,

Wherein I had no stroke of mischief in it?

I play’d the cheater for thy father’s hand,

And, when I had it, drew myself apart,  112

And almost broke my heart with extreme laughter.

I pry’d me through the crevice of a wall

When, for his hand, he had his two sons’ heads;

Beheld his tears, and laugh’d so heartily,  116

That both mine eyes were rainy like to his:

And when I told the empress of this sport,

She swounded almost at my pleasing tale,

And for my tidings gave me twenty kisses.  120

First Goth.

What! canst thou say all this, and never blush?


Ay, like a black dog, as the saying is.


Art thou not sorry for these heinous deeds?


Ay, that I had not done a thousand more.  124

Even now I curse the day, and yet, I think,

Few come within the compass of my curse,

Wherein I did not some notorious ill:

As kill a man, or else devise his death;  128

Ravish a maid, or plot the way to do it;

Accuse some innocent, and forswear myself;

Set deadly enmity between two friends;

Make poor men’s cattle break their necks;  132

Set fire on barns and hay-stacks in the night,

And bid the owners quench them with their tears,

Oft have I digg’d up dead men from their graves,

And set them upright at their dear friends’ doors,  136

Even when their sorrows almost were forgot;

And on their skins, as on the bark of trees,

Have with my knife carved in Roman letters,

‘Let not your sorrow die, though I am dead.’  140

Tut! I have done a thousand dreadful things

As willingly as one would kill a fly,

And nothing grieves me heartily indeed

But that I cannot do ten thousand more.  144


Bring down the devil, for he must not die

So sweet a death as hanging presently.


If there be devils, would I were a devil,

To live and burn in everlasting fire,  148

So I might have your company in hell,

But to torment you with my bitter tongue!


Sirs, stop his mouth, and let him speak no more.

Enter a Goth.


My lord, there is a messenger from Rome  152

Desires to be admitted to your presence.


Let him come near.

Enter Æmilius.

Welcome, Æmilius! what’s the news from Rome?


Lord Lucius, and you princes of the Goths,  156

The Roman emperor greets you all by me;

And, for he understands you are in arms,

He craves a parley at your father’s house,

Willing you to demand your hostages,  160

And they shall be immediately deliver’d.

First Goth.

What says our general?


Æmilius, let the emperor give his pledges

Unto my father and my uncle Marcus,  164

And we will come. March away.


Scene II.— Rome. Before TitusHouse.

Enter Tamora, Demetrius, and Chiron, disguised.


Thus, in this strange and sad habiliment,

I will encounter with Andronicus,

And say I am Revenge, sent from below

To join with him and right his heinous wrongs.

Knock at his study, where, they say, he keeps,  5

To ruminate strange plots of dire revenge;

Tell him, Revenge is come to join with him,

And work confusion on his enemies.  8

[They knock.

Enter Titus, above.


Who doth molest my contemplation?

Is it your trick to make me ope the door,

That so my sad decrees may fly away,

And all my study be to no effect?  12

You are deceiv’d; for what I mean to do,

See here, in bloody lines I have set down;

And what is written shall be executed.


Titus, I am come to talk with thee.  16


No, not a word; how can I grace my talk,

Wanting a hand to give it action?

Thou hast the odds of me; therefore no more.


If thou didst know me, thou wouldst talk with me.  20


I am not mad; I know thee well enough:

Witness this wretched stump, witness these crimson lines;

Witness these trenches made by grief and care;

Witness the tiring day and heavy night;  24

Witness all sorrow, that I know thee well

For our proud empress, mighty Tamora.

Is not thy coming for my other hand?


Know, thou sad man, I am not Tamora;  28

She is thy enemy, and I thy friend:

I am Revenge, sent from the infernal kingdom,

To ease the gnawing vulture of thy mind,

By working wreakful vengeance on thy foes.  32

Come down, and welcome me to this world’s light;

Confer with me of murder and of death.

There’s not a hollow cave or lurking-place,

No vast obscurity or misty vale,  36

Where bloody murder or detested rape

Can couch for fear, but I will find them out;

And in their ears tell them my dreadful name,

Revenge, which makes the foul offender quake.


Art thou Revenge? and art thou sent to me,  41

To be a torment to mine enemies?


I am; therefore come down, and welcome me.


Do me some service ere I come to thee.

Lo, by thy side where Rape and Murder stands;

Now give some surance that thou art Revenge:

Stab them, or tear them on thy chariot-wheels,

And then I’ll come and be thy waggoner,  48

And whirl along with thee about the globe.

Provide two proper palfreys, black as jet,

To hale thy vengeful waggon swift away,

And find out murderers in their guilty caves:  52

And when thy car is loaden with their heads,

I will dismount, and by the waggon-wheel

Trot like a servile footman all day long,

Even from Hyperion’s rising in the east  56

Until his very downfall in the sea:

And day by day I’ll do this heavy task,

So thou destroy Rapine and Murder there.


These are my ministers, and come with me.  60


Are these thy ministers? what are they call’d?


Rapine and Murder; therefore called so,

Cause they take vengeance of such kind of men.


Good Lord, how like the empress’ sons they are,  64

And you the empress! but we worldly men

Have miserable, mad, mistaking eyes.

O sweet Revenge! now do I come to thee;

And, if one arm’s embracement will content thee,  68

I will embrace thee in it by and by.

[Exit above.


This closing with him fits his lunacy.

Whate’er I forge to feed his brain-sick fits,

Do you uphold and maintain in your speeches,  72

For now he firmly takes me for Revenge;

And, being credulous in this mad thought,

I’ll make him send for Lucius his son;

And, whilst I at a banquet hold him sure,  76

I’ll find some cunning practice out of hand

To scatter and disperse the giddy Goths,

Or, at the least, make them his enemies.

See, here he comes, and I must ply my theme.  80

Enter Titus.


Long have I been forlorn, and all for thee:

Welcome, dread Fury, to my woeful house:

Rapine and Murder, you are welcome too.

How like the empress and her sons you are!  84

Well are you fitted had you but a Moor:

Could not all hell afford you such a devil?

For well I wot the empress never wags

But in her company there is a Moor;  88

And would you represent our queen aright,

It were convenient you had such a devil.

But welcome as you are. What shall we do?


What wouldst thou have us do, Andronicus?  92


Show me a murderer, I’ll deal with him.


Show me a villain that hath done a rape,

And I am sent to be reveng’d on him.


Show me a thousand that have done thee wrong,  96

And I will be revenged on them all.


Look round about the wicked streets of Rome,

And when thou find’st a man that’s like thyself,

Good Murder, stab him; he’s a murderer.  100

Go thou with him; and when it is thy hap

To find another that is like to thee,

Good Rapine, stab him; he’s a ravisher.

Go thou with them; and in the emperor’s court  104

There is a queen attended by a Moor;

Well mayst thou know her by thy own proportion,

For up and down she doth resemble thee:

I pray thee, do on them some violent death;  108

They have been violent to me and mine.


Well hast thou lesson’d us; this shall we do.

But would it please thee, good Andronicus,

To send for Lucius, thy thrice-valiant son,  112

Who leads towards Rome a band of war-like Goths,

And bid him come and banquet at thy house:

When he is here, even at thy solemn feast,

I will bring in the empress and her sons,  116

The emperor himself, and all thy foes,

And at thy mercy shall they stoop and kneel,

And on them shalt thou ease thy angry heart.

What says Andronicus to this device?  120


Marcus, my brother! ’tis sad Titus calls.

Enter Marcus.

Go, gentle Marcus, to thy nephew Lucius;

Thou shalt inquire him out among the Goths:

Bid him repair to me, and bring with him  124

Some of the chiefest princes of the Goths;

Bid him encamp his soldiers where they are:

Tell him, the emperor and the empress too

Feast at my house, and he shall feast with them.

This do thou for my love; and so let him,  129

As he regards his aged father’s life.


This will I do, and soon return again.



Now will I hence about thy business,  132

And take my ministers along with me.


Nay, nay, let Rape and Murder stay with me;

Or else I’ll call my brother back again,

And cleave to no revenge but Lucius.  136


[Aside to her sons.] What say you, boys? will you abide with him,

Whiles I go tell my lord the emperor

How I have govern’d our determin’d jest?

Yield to his humour, smooth and speak him fair,  140

And tarry with him till I turn again.


[Aside.] I know them all, though they suppose me mad;

And will o’er-reach them in their own devices;

A pair of cursed hell-hounds and their dam.  144


[Aside to Tamora.] Madam, depart at pleasure; leave us here.


Farewell, Andronicus: Revenge now goes

To lay a complot to betray thy foes.

[Exit Tamora.


I know thou dost; and, sweet Revenge, farewell.  148


Tell us, old man, how shall we be employ’d?


Tut! I have work enough for you to do.

Publius, come hither, Caius, and Valentine!

Enter Publius and Others.


What is your will?  152


Know you these two?


The empress’ sons,

I take them, Chiron and Demetrius.


Fie, Publius, fie! thou art too much deceiv’d;  156

The one is Murder, Rape is the other’s name;

And therefore bind them, gentle Publius;

Caius and Valentine, lay hands on them;

Oft have you heard me wish for such an hour,

And now I find it: therefore bind them sure,  161

And stop their mouths, if they begin to cry.

[Exit. Publius, &c., seize Chiron and Demetrius.


Villains, forbear! we are the empress’ sons.


And therefore do we what we are commanded.  164

Stop close their mouths, let them not speak a word.

Is he sure bound? look that you bind them fast.

Re-enter Titus, with Lavinia; she bearing a basin, and he a knife.


Come, come, Lavinia; look, thy foes are bound.

Sirs, stop their mouths, let them not speak to me,  168

But let them hear what fearful words I utter.

O villains, Chiron and Demetrius!

Here stands the spring whom you have stain’d with mud,

This goodly summer with your winter mix’d.  172

You kill’d her husband, and for that vile fault

Two of her brothers were condemn’d to death,

My hand cut off and made a merry jest:

Both her sweet hands, her tongue, and that more dear  176

Than hands or tongue, her spotless chastity,

Inhuman traitors, you constrain’d and forc’d.

What would you say if I should let you speak?

Villains! for shame you could not beg for grace.

Hark, wretches! how I mean to martyr you.  181

This one hand yet is left to cut your throats,

Whilst that Levinia ’tween her stumps doth hold

The basin that receives your guilty blood.  184

You know your mother means to feast with me,

And calls herself Revenge, and thinks me mad.

Hark! villains, I will grind your bones to dust,

And with your blood and it I’ll make a paste;

And of the paste a coffin I will rear,  189

And make two pasties of your shameful heads;

And bid that strumpet, your unhallow’d dam,

Like to the earth swallow her own increase.  192

This is the feast that I have bid her to,

And this the banquet she shall surfeit on;

For worse than Philomel you us’d my daughter,

And worse than Procne I will be reveng’d.  196

And now prepare your throats. Lavinia, come.

[He cuts their throats.

Receive the blood: and when that they are dead,

Let me go grind their bones to powder small,

And with this hateful liquor temper it;  200

And in that paste let their vile heads be bak’d.

Come, come, be every one officious

To make this banquet, which I wish may prove

More stern and bloody than the Centaurs’ feast.

So, now bring them in, for I will play the cook,

And see them ready ’gainst their mother comes.

[Exeunt, bearing the dead bodies.

Scene III.— The Same. Court of Titus’ House. A banquet set out.

Enter Lucius, Marcus and Goths, with Aaron prisoner.


Uncle Marcus, since it is my father’s mind

That I repair to Rome, I am content.

First Goth.

And ours with thine, befall what fortune will.


Good uncle, take you in this barbarous Moor,  4

This ravenous tiger, this accursed devil;

Let him receive no sustenance, fetter him,

Till he be brought unto the empress’ face,

For testimony of her foul proceedings:  8

And see the ambush of our friends be strong;

I fear the emperor means no good to us.


Some devil whisper curses in mine ear,

And prompt me, that my tongue may utter forth  12

The venomous malice of my swelling heart!


Away, inhuman dog! unhallow’d slave!

Sirs, help our uncle to convey him in.

[Exeunt Goths, with Aaron. Trumpets sound.

The trumpets show the emperor is at hand.  16

Enter Saturninus and Tamora, with Æmilius, Senators, Tribunes, and Others.


What! hath the firmament more suns than one?


What boots it thee, to call thyself a sun?


Rome’s emperor, and nephew, break the parle;

These quarrels must be quietly debated.  20

The feast is ready which the careful Titus

Hath ordain’d to an honourable end,

For peace, for love, for league, and good to Rome:

Please you, therefore, draw nigh, and take your places.  24


Marcus, we will.

[Hautboys sound.

Enter Titus, dressed like a cook, Lavinia, veiled, young Lucius, and Others. Titus places the dishes on the table.


Welcome, my gracious lord; welcome, dread queen;

Welcome, ye war-like Goths; welcome, Lucius;

And welcome, all. Although the cheer be poor,

’Twill fill your stomachs; please you eat of it.  29


Why art thou thus attir’d, Andronicus?


Because I would be sure to have all well

To entertain your highness, and your empress.


We are beholding to you, good Andronicus.  33


An if your highness knew my heart, you were.

My lord the emperor, resolve me this:

Was it well done of rash Virginius  36

To slay his daughter with his own right hand,

Because she was enforced, stain’d, and deflower’d?


It was, Andronicus.


Your reason, mighty lord?  40


Because the girl should not survive her shame,

And by her presence still renew his sorrows.


A reason mighty, strong, and effectual;

A pattern, precedent, and lively warrant,  44

For me most wretched, to perform the like.

Die, die. Lavinia, and thy shame with thee;

And with thy shame thy father’s sorrow die!

[Kills Lavinia.


What hast thou done, unnatural and unkind?  48


Kill’d her, for whom my tears have made me blind.

I am as woeful as Virginius was,

And have a thousand times more cause than he

To do this outrage: and it is now done.  52


What! was she ravish’d? tell who did the deed.


Will ’t please you eat? will ’t please your highness feed?


Why hast thou slain thine only daughter thus?


Not I; ’twas Chiron and Demetrius:  56

They ravish’d her, and cut away her tongue:

And they, ’twas they, that did her all this wrong.


Go fetch them hither to us presently.


Why, there they are both, baked in that pie;  60

Whereof their mother daintily hath fed,

Eating the flesh that she herself hath bred.

’Tis true, ’tis true; witness my knife’s sharp point.

[Kills Tamora.


Die, frantic wretch, for this accursed deed!

[Kills Titus.


Can the son’s eye behold his father bleed?  65

There’s meed for meed, death for a deadly deed!

[Kills Saturninus. A great tumult. The people in confusion disperse. Marcus, Lucius, and their partisans, go up into the balcony.


You sad-fac’d men, people and sons of Rome,

By uproar sever’d, like a flight of fowl  68

Scatter’d by winds and high tempestuous gusts,

O! let me teach you how to knit again

This scatter’d corn into one mutual sheaf,

These broken limbs again into one body,  72

Lest Rome herself be bane unto herself,

And she whom mighty kingdoms curtsy to,

Like a forlorn and desperate castaway,

Do shameful execution on herself.  76

But if my frosty signs and chaps of age,

Grave witnesses of true experience,

Cannot induce you to attend my words,

[To Lucius.] Speak, Rome’s dear friend, as erst our ancestor,  80

When with his solemn tongue he did discourse

To love-sick Dido’s sad attending ear

The story of that baleful burning night

When subtle Greeks surpris’d King Priam’s Troy;  84

Tell us what Sinon hath bewitch’d our ears,

Or who hath brought the fatal engine in

That gives our Troy, our Rome, the civil wound.

My heart is not compact of flint nor steel,  88

Nor can I utter all our bitter grief,

But floods of tears will drown my oratory,

And break my very utterance, even in the time

When it should move you to attend me most,  92

Lending your kind commiseration.

Here is a captain, let him tell the tale;

Your hearts will throb and weep to hear him speak.


Then, noble auditory, be it known to you,  96

That cursed Chiron and Demetrius

Were they that murdered our emperor’s brother;

And they it was that ravished our sister.  99

For their fell faults our brothers were beheaded,

Our father’s tears despis’d, and basely cozen’d

Of that true hand that fought Rome’s quarrel out,

And sent her enemies unto the grave:

Lastly, myself unkindly banished,  104

The gates shut on me, and turn’d weeping out,

To beg relief among Rome’s enemies;

Who drown’d their enmity in my true tears,

And op’d their arms to embrace me as a friend:  108

And I am the turn’d forth, be it known to you,

That have preserv’d her welfare in my blood,

And from her bosom took the enemy’s point,

Sheathing the steel in my adventurous body.  112

Alas! you know I am no vaunter, I;

My scars can witness, dumb although they are,

That my report is just and full of truth.

But, soft! methinks I do digress too much,  116

Citing my worthless praise: O! pardon me;

For when no friends are by, men praise themselves.


Now is my turn to speak. Behold this child;

Of this was Tamora delivered,  120

The issue of an irreligious Moor,

Chief architect and plotter of these woes.

The villain is alive in Titus’ house,

Damn’d as he is, to witness this is true.  124

Now judge what cause had Titus to revenge

These wrongs, unspeakable, past patience,

Or more than any living man could bear.

Now you have heard the truth, what say you Romans?  128

Have we done aught amiss, show us wherein,

And, from the place where you behold us now,

The poor remainder of Andronici

Will, hand in hand, all headlong cast us down,

And on the ragged stones beat forth our brains,

And make a mutual closure of our house.

Speak, Romans, speak! and if you say we shall,

Lo! hand in hand, Lucius and I will fall.  136


Come, come, thou reverend man of Rome,

And bring our emperor gently in thy hand,

Lucius, our emperor; for well I know

The common voice do cry it shall be so.  140


Lucius, all hail! Rome’s royal emperor!


[To Attendants.] Go, go into old Titus’ sorrowful house,

And hither, hale that misbelieving Moor,

To be adjudg’d some direful slaughtering death,

As punishment for his most wicked life.  145

[Exeunt Attendants.

Lucius, Marcus, and the Others descend.


Lucius, all hail! Rome’s gracious governor!


Thanks, gentle Romans: may I govern so,

To heal Rome’s harms, and wipe away her woe!

But, gentle people, give me aim awhile,  149

For nature puts me to a heavy task.

Stand all aloof; but, uncle, draw you near,

To shed obsequious tears upon this trunk.  152

O! take this warm kiss on thy pale cold lips,

[Kisses Titus.

These sorrowful drops upon thy blood-stain’d face,

The last true duties of thy noble son!


Tear for tear, and loving kiss for kiss,

Thy brother Marcus tenders on thy lips:  157

O! were the sum of these that I should pay

Countless and infinite, yet would I pay them.


Come hither, boy; come, come, and learn of us  160

To melt in showers: thy grandsire lov’d thee well:

Many a time he danc’d thee on his knee,

Sung thee asleep, his loving breast thy pillow;

Many a matter hath he told to thee,  164

Meet and agreeing with thine infancy;

In that respect, then, like a loving child,

Shed yet some small drops from thy tender spring,

Because kind nature doth require it so:  168

Friends should associate friends in grief and woe.

Bid him farewell; commit him to the grave;

Do him that kindness, and take leave of him.


O grandsire, grandsire! even with all my heart  172

Would I were dead, so you did live again.

O Lord! I cannot speak to him for weeping;

My tears will choke me if I ope my mouth.

Re-enter Attendants, with Aaron.

First Rom.

You sad Andronici, have done with woes:  176

Give sentence on this execrable wretch,

That hath been breeder of these dire events.


Set him breast-deep in earth, and famish him;

There let him stand, and rave, and cry for food:  180

If any one relieves or pities him,

For the offence he dies. This is our doom:

Some stay to see him fasten’d in the earth.


O! why should wrath be mute, and fury dumb?  184

I am no baby, I, that with base prayers

I should repent the evils I have done.

Ten thousand worse than ever yet I did

Would I perform, if I might have my will:  188

If one good deed in all my life I did,

I do repent it from my very soul.


Some loving friends convey the emperor hence,

And give him burial in his father’s grave.  192

My father and Lavinia shall forthwith

Be closed in our household’s monument.

As for that heinous tiger, Tamora,

No funeral rite, nor man in mournful weeds,  196

No mournful bell shall ring her burial;

But throw her forth to beasts and birds of prey.

Her life was beast-like, and devoid of pity;

And, being so, shall have like want of pity.  200

See justice done on Aaron, that damn’d Moor,

By whom our heavy haps had their beginning:

Then, afterwards, to order well the state,

That like events may ne’er it ruinate.