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85

For sauciness. I pray you, let us hence,
And let her joy her raven-colour'd love;

This valley fits the purpose passing well.
Bass. The king my brother shall have note of this.
Lav. Ay, for these slips have made him noted long:

Good king, to be so mightily abus'd !
Tam. Why have I patience to endure all this?

Enter DEMETRIUS and CHIRON. Dem. How now, dear sovereign, and our gracious mother !

Why doth your highness look so pale and wan? 90 Tam. Have I not reason, think you, to look pale?

These two have tic'd me hither to this place:
A barren detested vale, you see, it is;

etc.

83. joy] to enjoy ; several times in opening speech implies, not only that Shakespeare in this sense, as Richard Tamora was made Empress, but also II. v. vi. 26; Richard Ill. 11. iv. 59, that she had obtained complete control

over Saturninus, which might be the 86. slips] offences, faults, as Hamlet, work of some little time. Steevens conII. i. 22,

wanton, wild, and usual jectures “her” for “him.” This is slips," etc.

possibly right, especially as in earlier 86. him noted long] There is, as Dr. versions of the play the intrigue is even Johnson pointed out, something very more obvious than in Shakespeare's. wrong about the chronology of this part See Introduction, p. lxxix. of the play. This line alone makes it 92. tic'd] enticed, in Q 1 “ticed.” evident that some interval had elapsed The Quarto printer did not use the form since Tamora's marriage, and the only “d," but marked the silence of the place where this interval can possibly "e" either by omission as in "showd," come in is between the two Acts, and or by the old form “de” or “d” as not, as Dr. Johnson suggests, between “calde” and “cald” in this same Scenes 1 and 2 of this Act, which are speech. It is possible that “

“ticed obviously closely consecutive in point was meant for a disyllable, making of time, as Aaron says in Scene I, My

a dactyl. lord, a solemn hunting is at hand.” 93. A barren, etc.] This is unThe interval can thus only come, as is doubtedly a powerful description, and natural, between the two Acts. The by no means unworthy of Shakespeare only solution I can see is that there in his earlier days. Tamora, in order were two hunts in the play, one at the to excite her sons to fury, invents a invitation of Titus on the day after Act quite imaginary narrative about the 1. closes, and a second later on, after abhorred pit, and exaggerates Bassianus' an interval of at least weeks, if not and Lavinia's language. This speech months; and I think that Aaron's has the further dramatic function of

“ ticed me

The trees, though summer, yet forlorn and lean,
O'ercome with moss and baleful mistletoe:

95
Here never shines the sun; here nothing breeds,
Unless the nightly owl or fatal raven:
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, 100
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 :
And then they call'd me foul adulteress,
Lascivious Goth, and all the bitterest terms IIO
That ever ear did hear to such effect;
And, had you not by wondrous fortune come,
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. I 15 describing the pit (which could not be been enticed into a horrible and dangerstaged, and was represented merely by ous place. a trap-door) to the audience. “Barren 95. O'ercome] overcome, conquered, detested ” may be scanned as a slurred covered by; not elsewhere in Shakeor as a dactylic foot =-vv- The speare in this sense. inconsistency between the two descrip- 101. urchins] hedgehogs. We retain tions of her surroundings by Tamora the term in “sea-urchin. has been pointed out ; but I think it is 103. body] (as in Scotch) person. meant to reflect her own change of Two Gentlemen, 1. ii. 18, etc. mood, from the pleasurable anticipation 104. Should straight, etc.) This, of enjoyment with her lover to the state Johnson remarks, was said in fabulous of doubt and apprehension into which physiology of those who heard the groan the presence of Bassianus and Lavinia of the mandrake when torn up. See threw her. She also wishes to excite Romeo, iv. iii. 48. her sons by representing that she had 115. Or be ye not, etc.) This line does

Dem. This is a witness that I am thy son.

[Stabs Bassianus. Chi. And this for me, struck home to show my strength.

[Also stabs Bassianus, who dies. Lav. Ay, come, Semiramis, nay, barbarous Tamora ;

For no name fits thy nature but thy own. Tam. Give me thy poniard; you shall know, my boys, 120

Your mother's hand shall right your mother's wrong. Dem. Stay, madam ; here is more belongs to her:

First thrash the corn, then after burn the straw.
This minion stood upon her chastity,
Upon her nuptial vow, her loyalty,

I 25
And with that painted hope she braves your mightiness :

And shall she carry this unto her grave ? Chi. An if she do, I would I were an eunuch.

Drag hence her husband to some secret hole,

And make his dead trunk pillow to our lust. 130 Tam. But when ye have the honey ye desire,

Let not this wasp outlive, us both to sting.

“call."

19

not run well as it stands, an unusual minne-singer. In Scotch it appears as thing in this play. To my mind it runs “minnie," but in the favourable sense. better with " called” for “callid,” 124. stood upon] prided herself making a pause after “henceforth,” so upon, or maintained, or perhaps it as to get the stress on

involves both ideas or valuing and 118. Semiramis] Queen of Assyria preserving her virtue. may best be described as an ancient 126. painted hope) unreal, vain, as in Catherine of Russia, famous at once for “painted pomp,” As You Like It, II. her ability as a ruler and her insatiable i. 3; "painted peace,King John, 11. sexual passion.

i. 105. This line must be read with a 124. minion) here in the contemp- pause or rest after “hope." tuous and opprobrious sense of the 130. And make] a very brutal touch, word, which originally meant darling, which Shakespeare, if even only editor favourite, and is used by Shakespeare of the play, might well have spared us. in that sense also, just as we still use It is, moreover, inconsistent with what the word “mistress” in an honourable follows, and seems wantonly thrown in or dishonourable sense. The word is to pile up the horror; or perhaps it the same as the French Mignon, and is a survival from a cruder form of the connected with the first part of the word play.

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

Come, mistress, now perforce we will enjoy
That nice-preserved honesty of yours.

135
Lav. O Tamora ! thou bear'st a woman's face,-
Tam. I will not hear her speak; away with her!
Lav. Sweet lords, entreat her hear me but a word.
Dem. 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.
Lav. 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;
Even at thy teat thou hadst thy tyranny.

145 Yet every mother breeds not sons alike: [To Chiron.] Do thou entreat her show a woman pity. Chi. What! would'st thou have me prove myself a bastard ? Lav. 'Tis true the raven doth not hatch a lark: Yet have I heard, O! could I find it now,

150 The lion mov'd with pity did endure

135. nice - preserved] carefully pre. It is the mother that teaches, and they served, or coyly preserved. As " nice” remain with her till their second year has also the meaning of coy, prudish, as (Chambers's Encyclopædia). “she is nice and coy,” Two Gentle- 144. The milk, etc.] This seems in men, ill. i. 82.

accord with the popular notion, not 137. I will not hear her speak, etc.) unsupported by facts, that a man's disTamora does not seem quite sure of position comes largely from his mother's herself, and appears anxious to have side, while the type of feature that perLavinia dragged away before she, sists is that of the male side. We are Tamora, relents. This seems to me a here also reminded of Lady Macbeth very subtle touch. Lavinia, who cer. and of Macbeth's speech to her, Mactainly is very maladroit, throws away beth, 1. vii. 73. her opportunity by attacking Tamora 149. raven doth not] The raven, the as the tiger's dam. See Introduction, bird of night and evil omen, is in sharp p. xlvii et seq.

contrast to the lark, the bird of morning 142. When did, etc.] This seems like and sunlight. a touch of Shakespeare's encyclopædic 150.0! could I find it now] O knowledge, as it is a fact that young would I could now experience the fact tigers (like kittens) require to be taught that a mild nature can spring from a to hunt and do not do it by instinct. fierce one.

To have his princely claws par'd all away.
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, 155

Nothing so kind, but something pitiful.
Tam. I know not what it means; away with her!
Lav. 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.

1бо Tam. 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;
But fierce Andronicus would not relent:

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

The worse to her, the better lov'd of me.
Lav. O Tamora! be call'd a gentle queen,

And with thine own hands kill me in this place;
For 'tis not life that I have begg'd so long; 170

152. claws] This is clearly the mean- 154. birds) nestlings. Cf. 1 Henry ing, but it is a gloss of Collins, as both VI. v. i. 60, and 3 Henry VI. 11. i. Qi and F i have “paws." Apparently 91, and in North of Ireland dialect an allusion to the standard anecdote of (Craig), the original meaning of the Androcles and the lion, as Androcles word, New Eng. Dict. had probably to cut away the claws 156. Nothing so kind] This line has before removing the thorn.

to my ear a genuine ring of Shake. 153. ravens, etc.) This was evidently speare ; it means not so much as kind a piece of popular folk-lore, whether but only pitiful. 2 Henry VI. v. ii. 65. arising from the biblical story of Elijah 158. for my father's sake] Another or no, as we have it in Winter's Tale, instance of Lavinia's maladroitness. II. iii. 186. I doubt whether any She was thinking no doubt of Titus' modern instance could be cited of this sparing Tamora and her sons in the voluntary foster-motherhood to human first instance, whereas she only succeeds infants, but there are authenticated in. in reminding Tamora of his cruelty to stances of female animals adopting and Alarbus. fostering animals of a different species 170. For 'tis not life] She has hitherto for their own.

been pleading to be spared altogether,

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