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I have dogs, my lord,


Will rouse the proudest panther in the chase,
And climb the highest promontory top.
Tit. And I have horse will follow where the game

Makes way, and run like swallows o'er the plain.
Dem. Chiron, we hunt not, we, with horse nor hound,
But hope to pluck a dainty doe to ground.

SCENE III-A lonely part of the Forest.

Enter AARON, with a bag of gold.

Aar. 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

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

ing of panthers in the neighbourhood of Rome seems somewhat on a par with the seaport in Bohemia. Such a mixture as panthers and deer is certainly not possible, still less probable, in Europe at all. I strongly suspect the whole story of an originally Oriental origin; the lavish bloodshed and rapine being more Oriental than Roman. But the myth has evidently been modified in transit through European hands. Chiron and Demetrius are not Europeans, they are Bashibazouks.

20. I have dogs, my lord] I think here again we have symbolism and irony. The "proudest panther" refers


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That have their alms out of the empress' chest.


Tam. My lovely Aaron, wherefore look'st thou sad
When every thing doth make a gleeful boast?
The birds chant melody on every bush,

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,
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;
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,
We may, each wreathed in the other's arms,
Our pastimes done, possess a golden slumber

9. That have their alms] Is rather obscure, and seems to me to mean that the Empress will give the Andronici gifts, i.e. punishment, out of her chest, i.e. her "sacred wit," which contains evil for them.

12. The birds chant melody, etc.] This fine passage is surely, if one may use the expression, doubly Shakespearian, firstly in its extreme and rare poetic and rhythmic beauty, and secondly in that love of contrast or irony by which he makes it a prelude to one of the most horrible scenes in this horrible drama. See Shelley's Adonais, stanzas, 18 and 19.

15. chequer'd shadow] "Dancing in



the chequered shade," Milton's L'Allegro.

20. yelping] The Quartos have "yellowing," possibly a variant of "yelling.” But we have no other example of the word.

23. with] by, a very common use of the word by Shakespeare and earlier writers. See Abbott, pars. 193-195; Franz, § 383, etc.

23. happy] fortunate.

24. counsel-keeping] that tells no tales; not elsewhere in Shakespeare.

26. golden slumber] excellent delicious sleep. Cf. Romeo, II. iii. 38; Henry IV. 11. 344; Colley Cibber's Apology (1756), ii. 35, "golden actor."

Whiles hounds and horns and sweet melodious birds

Be unto us as is a nurse's song

Of lullaby to bring her babe asleep.

Aar. Madam, though Venus govern your desires,
Saturn is dominator over mine:


What signifies my deadly-standing eye,
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 ?

Vengeance is in my heart, death in my hand,

No, madam, these are no venereal signs:

Blood and revenge are hammering in my head.

Hark, Tamora, the empress of my soul,



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,

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29. bring... asleep] put to sleep; originally on sleep,' see Acts xiii. 36; Barth de P., VI. iv. (1495) 191, Nouryces bring the children softly on slepe," New. Eng. Dict.

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31. Saturn is dominator, etc.] In astrology, palmistry, etc., Saturn was a malign influence both on the person into whose horoscope he comes and those connected with him, and involved disaster and misfortune, if not crime. Chaucer, who was an adept in astrology, describes particularly the malign influence of Saturn in The Knight's Tale. Collins quotes from Beaumont and Fletcher, "sullen Saturn," etc. For "dominator," ruler, see "Dominator of Navarre," Love's Labour's Lost, I. i. 222.

32. deadly-standing] fixed and staring like that of the dead. This and the rest of the passage savour no doubt of what to modern taste is balderdash; but this is no argument that it was not written by Shakespeare, at least in his

youth. It is just the sublime balderdash that only a man of genius like Marlowe or Shakespeare can write, without being absolutely absurd. It is redeemed by accurate realistic touches. Aaron had really planned out the whole horrible scheme, and, hardened as he was, he was intensely excited as its consummation approached.

37. venereal] erotic; does not occur again in Shakespeare, used by Nash, Anatomie of Absurditie (M'Kerrow, 1904), i. 19. Chaucer uses venerien," Wife of Bath's Prologue, 609, in the

same sense.

39. Blood and revenge are hammering in my head] is a precise description of the "drumming" of the blood in one's head under intense excitement. How true too is the psychology of the scene! With the woman, her passion drowns her desire for revenge; with the man, the desire for the success of his infamous schem❤keeps his passion in abeyance.

Thy sons make pillage of her chastity,

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;
Here comes a parcel of our hopeful booty,
Which dreads not yet their lives' destruction.
Tam. Ah! my sweet Moor, sweeter to me than life.
Aar. No more, great empress; Bassianus comes:

Be cross with him; and I'll go fetch thy sons
To back thy quarrels, whatsoe'er they be.


Bass. Whom have we here?



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Unfurnish'd of her well-beseeming troop?

Or is it Dian, habited like her,

Who hath abandoned her holy groves,

To see the general hunting in this forest?
Tam. Saucy controller of our private steps!

Had I the power that some say Dian had,
Thy temples should be planted presently
With horns, as was Acteon's; and the hounds

Cf. Two Gentlemen, 1. iii. 18; 2 Henry
VI. I. ii. 47, etc.

47. fatal-plotted] contrived to a fatal end; the only instance in Shakespeare. 48. question] discuss. Sonnets, lxvii. 9; Henry VIII. 1. i. 130.

49. parcel] part, portion, party. See Love's Labour's Lost, v. ii. 160, "A holy parcel of the fairest dames!"

53. Be cross with him] perverse or rude, so as to pick a quarrel with him.

54. To back thy quarrels] support you in your quarrels.

56. Unfurnish'd] unaccompanied by, or deprived of. Winter's Tale, V. i. 123.


56. well-beseeming troop] the guard or following suitable to her as Empress. 1 Henry IV. I. i. 14.

57. Dian] intensely sarcastic, of


63. With horns] Shakespeare seems never to tire of the subject of horns, as implying cuckoldry. In The Merry Wives, in Much Ado, Love's Labour's Lost, As You Like It, and many other plays, he returns again and again to this theme, which to us is alike indecorous and banal. It evidently found favour with Elizabethan and Jacobean audi


Should drive upon thy new-transformed limbs,
Unmannerly intruder as thou art!

Lav. Under your patience, gentle empress,

'Tis thought you have a goodly gift in horning;

And to be doubted that your Moor and you

Are singled forth to try experiments.


Jove shield your husband from his hounds to-day! 70
'Tis pity they should take him for a stag.

Bass. Believe me, queen, your swarth Cimmerian
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,
Accompanied but with a barbarous Moor,
If foul desire had not conducted you?
Lav. And, being intercepted in your sport,

Great reason that my noble lord be rated

64. drive] let drive, attack. See Hamlet, II. ii. 494.

66. Under your patience, etc.] Exception has been taken by some critics, especially by Arthur Symons in his able introduction to the Facsimile of the First Quarto of this play, to Lavinia's language here. See Introduction, p. xlvii et seq.

69. singled] See previous note. 72. swarth] swart, swarthy. QI gives "swarty." Cf. Sonnets, xxviii. II; and Beaumont and Fletcher, Island Princess, vi., "Foul swarth ingratitude has taken off thy sweetness."

72. Cimmerian] one of a people from whom, according to Plutarch, Homer took his conceptions of the dark infernal regions, in which he was followed by Virgil and Ovid. There were two peoples or nations of this



name, one located in Asia Minor and South Russia (where they left the name Crimea), and another dwelling on the coast of Campania, a robber race who lived in caves, where they concealed their booty, and from them the idea of Cimmerian darkness seems to have


74. Spotted] that is tainted or infected as with a plague; frequent in Shakespeare, as Lucrece, 196, 721, 1172; Othello, V. i. 36; Midsummer-Night's Dream, 1. i. 110, etc. etc. Surely Mr. Symons was thinking of this speech of Bassianus when he characterises Lavinia's language so strongly! The dramatist obviously wishes from the first to divert a portion of our sympathy to Tamora, and make her revenges, if horrible, still natural in one whose feelings have been cruelly outraged from the first.

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