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SATURNINUS, Son to the late Emperor of Rome, and afterwards declared Emperor.

BASSIANUS, Brother to Saturninus, in love with Lavinia.

TITUS ANDRONICUS, a noble Roman, General against the Goths. MARCUS ANDRONICUS, Tribune of the People, and Brother to Titus. LUCIUS,

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Goths and Romans.

TAMORA, Queen of the Goths.

LAVINIA, Daughter to Titus Andronicus.

A Nurse, and a black Child.

Senators, Tribunes, Officers, Soldiers, and Attendants.

SCENE: Rome, and the Country near it.





The Tomb of the Andronici appearing. The Tribunes and Senators aloft; and then enter SATURNINUS and his Followers at one door, and BASSIANUS and his Followers at the other, with drum and colours.

Sat. Noble patricians, patrons of my right,

Defend the justice of my cause with arms;
And, countrymen, my loving followers,
Plead my successive title with your swords:
I am his first-born son, that was the last
That wore the imperial diadem of Rome;
Then let my father's honours live in me,
Nor wrong mine age with this indignity.
Bass. Romans, friends, followers, favourers of my right,

4. successive] legitimate, in due succession to his father. Vide 2 Henry VI. III. i. 49; Hamlet, v. ii. 284. Steevens quotes a like use of it from Raleigh.


8. age] seniority, i.e. deprive me of what is due me as the elder son. A form of half-personification or synecdoche very common in Shakespeare.

9. Romans, friends, followers, etc.] 5. his first-born . . . that] A con- It is well to note how carefully the struction no longer allowable in characters of the two brothers are disEnglish I am the first-born son of tinguished from the first, and the him who was the last, etc. "That " different style of their address to their for modern "who" is frequent in followers. Bassianus speaks in that Shakespeare. strain of aristocratic republicanism


If ever Bassianus, Cæsar's son,

Were gracious in the eyes of royal Rome,
Keep then this passage to the Capitol,


And suffer not dishonour to approach

The imperial seat, to virtue consecrate,
To justice, continence, and nobility;
But let desert in pure election shine,
And, Romans, fight for freedom in your choice.

Enter MARCUS ANDRONICUS, aloft, with the crown.

Marc. Princes, that strive by factions and by friends
Ambitiously for rule and empery,

Know that the people of Rome, for whom we stand
A special party, have by common voice,
In election for the Roman empery,
Chosen Andronicus, surnamed Pius,



For many good and great deserts to Rome.


A nobler man, a braver warrior,
Lives not this day within the city walls:
He by the senate is accited home

which we find both in Julius Cæsar
and Coriolanus. Saturninus, a despic-
able character throughout, appeals
merely to his right by primogeniture.

12. Keep] defend, hold.

15. continence] may either have a rather broader meaning than that we now give it = self-mastery, or may be in allusion to known defects in his brother's character. The New Eng. Dict. quotes from Elyot: "Continence is a virtue which keepeth the plesaunt appetite of man under the yoke of reason.

16. pure election] free choice, apart from the considerations of birth, which were in favour of his brother.

19. empery] rule, absolute sway, Henry V. 1. ii. 226.

21. special party] as representatives. Party in Shakespeare means cause, interest, party (in political or military sense), and never has the (vulgar) modern use = person.

22. In election, etc.] This seems to mean, not that Titus was finally elected Emperor, but was put forward as candidate by the people, as distinguished from the Patrícians, the Senate, etc. He was merely candidatus, as Marcus says in a later speech.

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24. deserts] merit, good deeds, as in Marlowe's Tamburlaine, 'If you retain desert of holiness," New. Eng.


27. accited] summoned. This and other slightly pedantic words in the

From weary wars against the barbarous Goths;
That, with his sons, a terror to our foes,
Hath yok'd a nation strong, train'd up in arms.
Ten years are spent since first he undertook
This cause of Rome, and chastised with arms
Our enemies' pride: five times he hath return'd
Bleeding to Rome, bearing his valiant sons

In coffins from the field.

And now at last, laden with honour's spoils,
Returns the good Andronicus to Rome,
Renowned Titus, flourishing in arms.
Let us entreat, by honour of his name,



Whom worthily you would have now succeed,


And in the Capitol and senate's right,

Whom you pretend to honour and adore,

That you withdraw you and abate your strength;

Dismiss your followers, and, as suitors should,

Plead your deserts in peace and humbleness.


Sat. How fair the tribune speaks to calm my thoughts!
Bass. Marcus Andronicus, so I do affy

In thy uprightness and integrity,

And so I love and honour thee and thine,

Thy noble brother Titus and his sons,
And her to whom my thoughts are humbled all,


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Gracious Lavinia, Rome's rich ornament,
That I will here dismiss my loving friends,
And to my fortunes and the people's favour
Commit my cause in balance to be weigh'd.
[Exeunt the Followers of Bassianus.

Sat. Friends, that have been thus forward in my right,
I thank you all and here dismiss you all;
And to the love and favour of my country
Commit myself, my person, and the cause.


[Exeunt the Followers of Saturninus.

Rome, be as just and gracious unto me
As I am confident and kind to thee.
Open the gates, and let me in.

Bass. Tribunes, and me, a poor competitor.


[Flourish. They go up into the Senate-house.

Enter a Captain.

Cap. Romans, make way! the good Andronicus,
Patron of virtue, Rome's best champion,
Successful in the battles that he fights,
With honour and with fortune is return'd
From where he circumscribed with his sword,
And brought to yoke, the enemies of Rome.

52. Gracious] has numerous meanings in Shakespeare (1) kind, (2) agreeable, (3) holy, (4) fortunate, (5) lovely, (6) condescending (applied to kings, etc.); but here either (3) or (5). Schmidt.

55, 59. cause] the decision, or trial of the matter, as often elsewhere in Shakespeare. Richard III. III. v. 66.

61. confident] confiding. See New Eng. Dict. "Kind” may mean kindly disposed, or it may mean near in


blood, as the eldest son of the late Emperor.

63. a poor competitor] either poor in having no wealthy or influential backing, as his brother had, or a mere touch of mock humility, in order to curry favour with the tribunes and people.

68. circumscribed] restrained, limited, as in Hamlet, 1. iii. 22. New Eng. Dict. gives Defoe, Robinson Crusoe, ix. 185 (ed. 1840), "I was alone circumscribed by the ocean."

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