« AnteriorContinuar »
Enter PUBLIUS and Others.
Pub. What is your will?
Tit. Know you these two?
Pub. The empress' sons
I take them, Chiron and Demetrius.
Tit. Fie, Publius, fie! thou art too much deceiv'd;
Chi. Villains, forbear! we are the empress' sons.
Is he sure bound? look that you bind them fast.
Re-enter TITUS, with LAVINIA; she bearing a
Tit. Come, come, Lavinia; look, thy foes are bound.
158. And therefore bind, etc.] A great deal of absolute nonsense has been written on the improbability of an old man like Titus, deprived of one hand, along with the maimed Lavinia, being able to cut the throats of Chiron and Demetrius. This passage, which has been curiously disregarded, shows that the youths were "securely bound and gagged," and that Titus had plenty of help at hand, in fact present. A child
of four, if so minded, could cut the throat of a person bound hand and foot, still more a powerful old man like Titus with his right hand free.
167. Come, come, etc.] There is no use denying the gruesomeness of this and the following scenes; but this gruesomeness is no proof, hardly an argument, against Shakespeare's authorship. Shakespeare soared above the "Tragedy of Blood" school, not by
Sirs, stop their mouths, let them not speak to me,
Here stands the spring whom you have stain'd with mud,
This goodly summer with your winter mix'd.
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
And make two pasties of your shameful heads; 190
excising the horrors from his plots,
bare details, is only fit for the Police News. In Lear the tragedy is so ruthlessly complete that even Shakespeare's immediate successors dared not play it as written.
172. goodly summer] Cf. Richard III. 1. i. 2, glorious summer."
189. coffin] the raised crust of a pie or other piece of pastry. Nares. See also "custard-coffin," Taming of the Shrew, IV. iii. 82.
Like to the earth swallow her own increase.
And this the banquet she shall surfeit on;
For worse than Philomel you us'd my daughter, 195
And now prepare your throats. Lavinia, come,
[He cuts their throats.
Receive the blood: and when that they are dead,
To make this banquet, which I wish may prove
SCENE III.-The Same.
Court of Titus's House.
A banquet set out.
Enter LUCIUS, MARCUS, and Goths; with AARON,
Luc. Uncle Marcus, since 'tis my father's mind
That I repair to Rome, I am content.
192. swallow her own increase] This may either refer to the phenomenon of earthquakes, or may refer to a variant of the legend of the early Greek gods, the elemented gods, Coelus and Terra. Saturn we know devoured his own children, till his wife Rhea cheated him with stones. "Increase," in this sense, is a very favourite word with Shakespeare.
200. temper it] mix it, as of mortar.
202. officious] here apparently in a favourable sense = zealous. Cf. Winter's Tale, II. iii. 159.
204. Centaurs' feast] The quarrel of the Centaurs and Lapithæ at the marriage of Hippodamia and Pirithous.
First Goth. And ours with thine, befall what fortune
Luc. Good uncle, take you in this barbarous Moor,
Let him receive no sustenance, fetter him,
And prompt me, that my tongue may utter forth
Luc. Away, inhuman dog! unhallow'd slave!
[Exeunt Goths, with Aaron. Trumpets sound.
The trumpets show the emperor is at hand.
Enter SATURNINUS and TAMORA, with MILIUS,
Sat. What! hath the firmament more suns than one?
The feast is ready which the careful Titus
For peace, for love, for league, and good to Rome:
9. And see the ambush] This repairs the apparent mistake of Titus' before alluded to.
18. to call thyself a sun] Probably a play on words, alluding to the fact that Saturninus was Emperor in virtue of being his father's son, and for no merit or capacity of his own.
19. break the parle] break off the parley. Johnson says it means "begin the parley." This is clearly wrong, as Marcus, seeing the parley has begun, unsuspiciously invites them to the feast. 22. honourable end] Marcus had of course no idea of what had occurred in his absence.
Please you, therefore, draw nigh, and take your places.
Sat. Marcus, we will.
[Hautboys sound. 25
Enter TITUS, dressed like a cook, LAVINIA, veiled, young LUCIUS, and Others. Titus places the dishes on
Tit. Welcome, my gracious lord; welcome, dread queen;
Sat. Why art thou thus attir'd, Andronicus?
To entertain your highness, and your empress.
To slay his daughter with his own right hand,
Sat. It was, Andronicus.
Tit. Your reason, mighty lord?
Sat. Because the girl should not survive her shame,
Tit. A reason mighty, strong, and effectual;
38. Because she was, etc.] This line seems to me like the interpolation of an ignorant scribe or actor.
41. Because the girl] If my suggestion were adopted of omitting, "Because she was, etc.," this line may be taken to mean merely that Virginia could not survive the shame which certainly awaited her, had her father not killed her. The expression below, "a thousand times more cause,' shows quite clearly that the author knew the great difference between the two cases.