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Sound drums and trumpets, 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. They set down the coffin, and TITUS speaks.
Tit. Hail, Rome, victorious in thy mourning weeds!
Thou great defender of this Capitol,
70. thy mourning weeds] Warburton very unnecessarily suggests "my." He and other commentators seem to forget that Titus was not the only one, by many, who had lost sons and other near relations in the war, as Lord Roberts was not the only bereaved parent in the South African War.
71. fraught] Modern English freight. Fraught is cognate with New High German fracht; freight with Old High German freht. Some old MSS. have "his," but "her" is obviously right, as it stands in both Q 1 and F i.
73. anchorage] anchor, by the rhetorical figure of synecdoche, whereby the abstract or general is used for
the concrete and particular; a common figure in Shakespeare.
77. Thou great defender] Jupiter Capitolinus.
78. Stand gracious] take a gracious attitude towards, regard with favour. See "gracious," above.
79. five-and-twenty] The number given here compared with the "twentytwo, who in Honour's bed" (Act III. i. 10), shows that Shakespeare had invented the Mutius] episode and forgotten to alter the original number; for twenty-two, with Mutius, Quintus and Martius, and Lucius, who survives, = twenty-six. I am indebted for this valuable point to Mr. C. Crawford.
These that I bring unto their latest home,
With burial amongst their ancestors.
Here Goths have given me leave to sheathe my sword.
Why suffer'st thou thy sons, unburied yet,
[The tomb is opened.
There greet in silence, as the dead are wont,
Sweet cell of virtue and nobility,
How many sons of mine hast thou in store,
That thou wilt never render to me more!
85. Here] at this point, now.
92. receptacle] pronounced, here and generally in Shakespeare, réceptácle, with main accent on the penultimate syllable. Cf. Romeo and Juliet, IV. iii. 39.
94, 95. store... more] The rhymes here are no argument against Shakespeare's authorship, as he never quite lost his fondness for ending an important speech or scene with one or more rhymed couplets.
98. Ad manes fratrum] Some have tried to make an anti-Shakespearian argument from the Latin tags used in this play. But as none of them are beyond the reach of a schoolboy's picking up, there is nothing to be based on this. Sir Walter Scott, no great classic, can give us pages of Latin tags
in the mouth of the Antiquary. Shakespeare himself, in Love's Labour's Lost, shows even greater familiarity with this sort of thing.
99. earthy] F 1, "earthly." Earthy probably right, as more graphic.
100. shadows] shades of the dead. It is one of the beliefs common to all folk-lore, down to this era of modern Psychical Research Societies, that the ghost, manes, or shade did not rest until (1) properly buried, and (2) until avenged or propitiated. The killing of Alarbus, though so revolting to modern ideas, was therefore not unnatural in pagan Rome, noted, even in its highest civilisation, for its cruelty and love of bloodshed. Cf. Cymbeline, v. iv. 97.
Nor we disturb'd with prodigies on earth.
Tam. Stay, Roman brethren!
But must my sons be slaughter'd in the streets
106. passion] suffering, grief, the strict meaning of the Latin passio.
109. Sufficeth] does it not suffice. 117. Wilt thou draw near, etc.] No one can fail to be struck by the extraordinary resemblance between these lines and the famous eulogy of mercy in Portia's speech in the Merchant of Venice. Inferior as they are to the celebrated passage, they seem to contain the germs of it, and also to exhibit that kind of moral or religious anachronism into which Shakespeare so frequently falls in this and other plays. For the pagan gods were not merciful gods whatever they were, and mercy as a divine attribute has come to us entirely
from Judaism through Christianity, and indeed in Judaism itself it was a comparatively late development, except in the narrow sense of special favour shown to a tribe or person. Tamora's speech here is to my thinking very fine indeed, and not unworthy of Shakespeare at any time of his career. It is the rejection of her noble appeal to Titus that brings the first and fatal elements of tragedy into the play, and turns her into a fury. Steevens quotes a similar sentiment from Cicero pro Ligario. But the Latin salutem= health, welfare, is by no means the same as mercy.
121. Patient] school yourself to
These are their brethren, whom you Goths beheld
Alive and dead, and for their brethren slain
To this your son is mark'd, and die he must,
To appease their groaning shadows that are gone. Luc. Away with him! and make a fire straight; And with our swords, upon a pile of wood, Let's hew his limbs till they be clean consum'd. [Exeunt Lucius, Quintus, Martius, and Mutius, with Alarbus.
Tam. O cruel, irreligious piety!
Chi. Was ever Scythia half so barbarous ?
Dem. Oppose not Scythia to ambitious Rome.
To tremble under Titus' threatening look.
Then, madam, stand resolv'd; but hope withal
With opportunity of sharp revenge
patience. Steevens quotes similar use
130. O cruel, etc.] I should like to know how many poets or dramatists, except Shakespeare himself, could have written this magnificent line. How much of "man's inhumanity to man in almost every age is covered and condemned by this comprehensive and perfect phrase !
131. Was ever Scythia] See Mr. Craig's note on Lear, 1. i. 116, Arden Shakespeare, where he refers to Purchas' Pilgrim on Cannibalism, the practice of which, as described by Herodotus, gave the Scythians their reputation for barbarism.
132. Oppose] compare, from literal meaning of the Latin opponere to set over against; another proof of knowledge of Latin.
133. Alarbus] Alarbus is an insertion of Shakespeare's own, as in the earlier versions of the story, in the ballad and the earlier play or plays, on which the Dutch and German were founded, Tamora has only two sons. See Introduction.
136. Queen of Troy] Hecuba.
138. Thracian tyrant] Polymnestor. Steevens and Theobald differ as to whether Shakespeare here alludes to the Hecuba of Euripides or from a misreading of Ovid. I do not think much can be made of these supposed allusions
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,
Luc. See, lord and father, how we have perform'd
Whose smoke, like incense, doth perfume the sky. 145
Tit. Let it be so; and let Andronicus
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;
to Greek plays as then untranslated; for
144. entrails] The "his" is here elided. Shakespeare and other Elizabethan writers often add vigour to their language by the omission of words readily understood by the reader. Even nominatives, especially personal pronouns, following Latin, were often elided. See Abbott's Grammar, pars. 399-402.
147. 'larums] warlike din. See New Eng. Dict.
150. In peace and honour, etc.] a very fine passage, admirably finished off by the repetition of the opening line at the end like a refrain, a device freely used by Tennyson in his blank
151. Rome's readiest champions, etc.] This line, like so many Shakespearian lines, must be read with a "slur" or crushing of the syllables "champions re" into one foot of the verse, the strong accent or stress on the first syllable of "champions" carrying us readily over the half-syllable (grace note) "re" to the next accent on "pose."