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Cometh Andronicus, bound with laurel boughs,
To re-salute his country with his tears ;
Tears of true joy for his return to Rome.-
Thou great defender of this Capitol,
Stand gracious to the rites that we intend !
Romans, of five and twenty valiant sons,
Half of the number that king Priam had,
Behold the poor remains, alive, and dead !
These, that survive, let Rome reward with love ;
These, that I bring unto their latest home,
With burial among their ancestors :
Here Goths have given me leave to sheath my
Titus, unkind, and careless of thine own,
Why suffer'st thou thy sons, unburied yet,
To hover on the dreadful shore of Styx?-
Make way to lay them by their brethren.
[They open the Tomb.
There greet in silence, as the dead were wont, 90
And sleep in peace, slain in your country's wars !
O sacred receptacle of my joys,
Sweet cell of virtue and nobility,
How many sons of mine hast thou in store,
That thou wilt never render to me more ?
Luc. Give us the proudeșt prisoner of the Goths, That we may hew his limbs, and, on a pile, Ad manes fratrum sacrifice his flesh, Before this earthly prison of their bones; That so the shadows be not unappeas’d, Nor we disturb’d with prodigies on earth.
Tit. I give him you ; the noblest that survives, The eldest son of this distressed queen.
Tam. Stay, Roman brethren,--Gracious conqueror,
Victorious Titus, rue the tears I shed,
A mother's tears in passion for her son :
And, if thy sons were ever dear to thee,
O, think my son to be as dear to me.
Sufficeth not, that we are brought to Rome,
To beautify thy triumphs, and return,
Captive to thee, and to thy Roman yoke ?
But must my sons be slaughter'd in the streets,
For valiant doings in their country's cause ?
O! if to fight for king and common weal
Were piety in thine, it is in these;
Andronicus, stain not thy tomb with blood;
Wilt thou draw near the nature of the gods?
Draw near them then in being merciful :
Sweet mercy is nobility's true badge ;
Thrice-noble Titus, spare my first-born son.
Tit. Patient yourself, madam, and pardon me.
These are their brethren, whom you Goths behold
Alive, and dead; and for their brethren slain,
Religiously they ask a sacrifice :
To this your son is mark'd; and die he must,
appease their groaning shadows that are gone.
Luc. Away.with him! and make a fire straight;
And with our swords, upon a pile of wood,
Let's hew his limbs, 'till they be clean consum'd.
[ Exeunt Murius, Marcus, QUINTUS,
and LUCIUS, with ALARBUS.
Tam. O cruel, irreligious piety!
Chi. Was ever Scythia half so barbarous ?
Dem. Oppose not Scythia to ambitious Rome.
Alarbus goes to rest; and we survive
To tremble under Titus' threatening look.
Then, madam, stand resolv'd; but hope withal,
The self-same gods, that arm'd the queen of Troy,
With opportunity of sharp revenge
Upon the Thracian tyrant in his tent,
May favour Tamora, the queen of Goths
(When Goths were Goths, and Tamora was queen),
To quit the bloody wrongs upon her foes. 141
Enter Mutius, MARCUS, QUINTUS, and LUCIUS.
Luc. See, lord and father, how we have perform'd
Our Roman rites: Alarbus' limbs are lopp’d,
And entrails feed the sacrificing fire,
Whose smoke, like incense, doth perfume the sky.
Remaineth nought, but to inter our brethren,
And with loud 'larums welcome them to Rome.
Tit. Let it be so; and let Andronicus
Make this his latest farewel to their souls.
[Then sound Trumpets, and lay the Coffins in the Tomb.
In peace and honour rest you here, my sons; 150
Rome's readiest champions, repose you here,
Secure from worldly chances and mishaps !
Here lurks no treason, here no envy swells,
Here grow no damned grudges; here no storm,
No noise, but silence and eternal sleep:
In peace and honour rest you here, my sons !
Lav. In peace and honour live lord Titus long;
My noble lord and father, live in famel
Lo! at this tomb my tributary tears
I render, for my brethren's obsequies ;
160 And at thy feet I kneel, with tears of joy Shed on the earth, for thy return to Rome: 0, bless me here with thy victorious hand, Whose fortune Rome's best citizens applaud.
Tit. Kind Rome, that hast thus lovingly reserv'd The cordial of mine age, to glad my heart! Lavinia, live; out-live thy father's days, And fame's eternal date, for virtue's praise !
Mar. „Long live lord Titus, my beloved brother, Gracious triumpher in the eyes of Rome!
170 Tit. Thanks, gentle tribune, noble brother Marcus. Mar. And welcome nephews, from successful
wars, You that survive, and you that sleep in fame. Fair lords, your fortunes are alike in all, That in your country's service drew your swords; But safer triumph is this funeral pomp, That hath aspir'd to Solon's happiness, And triumphs over chance, in honour's bed. Titus Andronicus, the people of Rome, Whose friend in justice thou hast ever been, 180 Send thee by me, their tribune, and their trust, This palliament of white and spotless hue ;
And name thee in election for the empire,
With these our late-deceased emperor's sons :
Be candidatus then, and put it on,
And help to set a head on headless Rome.
Tit. A better head her glorious body fits,
Than his, that shakes for age and feebleness :
What! should I don this robe, and trouble you?
Be chose with proclamations to-day;
To-morrow yield up rule, resign my life,
And set abroad new business for you all?
Rome, I have been thy soldier forty years,
And led my country's strength successfully;
And buried one and twenty valiant sons,
Knighted in field, slain manfully in arms,
In right and service of their noble country:
Give me a staff of honour for mine age,
But not a sceptre to control the world:
Upright he held it, lords, that held it last.
Mar. Titus, thou shalt obtain and ask the empery.
Sat. Proud and ambitious tribune, canst thou
tell ? -
Tit. Patience, prince Saturninus.
Sat. Romans, do me right;
Patricians, draw your swords, and sheath them not,
'Till Saturninus be Rome's emperor :--
Andronicus, 'would thou were ship'd to hell,
Rather than rob me of the people's hearts.
Luc. Proud Saturninus ? interrupter of the good
That noble-minded Titus means to theel 210