Imágenes de páginas

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;
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,
And stop their mouths if they begin to cry. [Exit.
[Publius, etc., lay hold on Chiron and



Chi. Villains, forbear! we are the empress' sons.
Pub. And therefore do we what we are commanded.
Stop close their mouths, let them not speak a


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

Re-enter TITUS, with LAVINIA; she bearing a
basin, and he a knife.

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,
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.

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
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.
This one hand yet is left to cut your throats,
Whilst that Lavinia 'tween her stumps doth hold
The basin that receives your guilty blood.
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,


And make two pasties of your shameful heads; 190
And bid that strumpet, your unhallow'd dam,

excising the horrors from his plots,
but by treating them in so noble and
elevated a manner that we forget the
physical horrors in the awe and pity
with which his marvellous handling of
his themes inspires us. Macbeth and
Lear, not to speak of Richard III.,
are as much "tragedies of blood" as
any ever written. Apart from the
treatment of it, Macbeth, the story of a
treacherous and clumsy murder, in its

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.
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, 195
And worse than Progne I will be reveng'd.

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;
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'll play the cook,
And see them ready 'gainst their mother comes.
[Exeunt, bearing the dead bodies.


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,
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:
And see the ambush of our friends be strong;
I fear the emperor means no good to us.
Aar. Some devil whisper curses in mine ear,

And prompt me, that my tongue may utter forth
The venomous malice of my swelling heart!

Luc. 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.

Senators, Tribunes, and Others.

Sat. What! hath the firmament more suns than one?
Luc. What boots it thee to call thyself a sun?
Marc. Rome's emperor, and nephew, break the parle;
These quarrels must be quietly debated.

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:

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

the table.

Tit. 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.

Sat. Why art thou thus attir'd, Andronicus?
Tit. Because I would be sure to have all well,

To entertain your highness, and your empress.
Tam. We are beholding to you, good Andronicus.
Tit. An if your highness knew my heart, you were.
My lord the emperor, resolve me this:
Was it well done of rash Virginius



To slay his daughter with his own right hand,
Because she was enforc'd, stain'd, and deflower'd?

Sat. It was, Andronicus.

Tit. Your reason, mighty lord?


Sat. Because the girl should not survive her shame,
And by her presence still renew his sorrows.

Tit. A reason mighty, strong, and effectual;
A pattern, precedent, and lively warrant,
36. Was it well done] The author
of this play knows classic story too well
not to know the difference between the
two cases, but he regards them as
similar, as Virginia would certainly
have become the victim of lust just as
Lavinia did.

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.


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