Sidor som bilder


Rome. A Street.

Enter Senators, Tribunes, and Officers of Justice, with
MARTIUS and QUINTUS, bound, passing on to the
Place of Execution; TITUS going before, pleading.
Tit. Hear me, grave fathers! noble tribunes, stay!
For pity of mine age, whose youth was spent
In dangerous wars, whilst you securely slept;
For all my blood in Rome's great quarrel shed;
For all the frosty nights that I have watch'd;
And for these bitter tears, which now you see
Filling the aged wrinkles in my cheeks;
Be pitiful to my condemned sons,

Whose souls are not corrupted as 'tis thought!
For two and twenty sons I never wept,
Because they died in honour's lofty bed.
For these, these tribunes,5 in the dust I write

[Throwing himself on the ground. My heart's deep languor, and my soul's sad tears. Let my tears stanch the earth's dry appetite;

My sons' sweet blood will make it shame and blush.
[Exeunt Senators, Tribunes, &c. with the Prisoners.
O earth! I will befriend thee more with rain,
That shall distil from these two ancient urns,6
Than youthful April shall with all his showers:
In summer's drought, I'll drop upon thee still;
In winter, with warm tears I 'll melt the snow,
And keep eternal spring-time on thy face,
So thou refuse to drink my dear sons' blood.

Enter LUCIUS, with his Sword drawn.
O, reverend tribunes! gentle aged men !7
Unbind my sons, reverse the doom of death;

5 For these, these tribunes,] The latter these was added for the sake of the metre, by the editor of the second folio. Malone.


two ancient urns,] Oxford editor.-Vulg. two ancient ruins. Johnson.

Edition 1600,-ruines, as in other old copies. Todd.
*0, reverend tribunes! gentle aged men!] Edition 1600:-
Oh reverent tribunes, oh gentle aged men. Todd.

And let me say, that never wept before,
My tears are now prevailing orators.

Luc. O, noble father, you lament in vain;
The tribunes hear you not, no man is by,
And you recount your sorrows to a stone.

Tit. Ah, Lucius, for thy brothers let me plead: Grave tribunes, once more I entreat of you.

Luc. My gracious lord, no tribune hears you speak. Tit. Why, 'tis no matter, man: if they did hear, They would not mark me; or, if they did mark,8 All bootless to them, they 'd not pity me. Therefore I tell my sorrows to the stones; Who, though they cannot answer my distress, Yet in some sort they 're better than the tribunes, For that they will not intercept my tale: When I do weep, they humbly at my feet Receive my tears, and seem to weep with me; And, were they but attired in grave weeds, Rome could afford no tribune like to these.

A stone is soft as wax, tribunes more hard than stones:
A stone is silent, and offendeth not;

And tribunes with their tongues doom men to death.
But wherefore stand'st thou with thy weapon drawn?
Luc. To rescue my two brothers from their death:
For which attempt, the judges have pronounc'd
My everlasting doom of banishment.

Tit. O happy man! they have befriended thec.
Why, foolish Lucius, dost thou not perceive,
That Rome is but a wilderness of tigers?
Tigers must prey; and Rome affords no prey,
But me and mine: How happy art thou then,
From these devourers to be banished?


or, if they did mark.

All bootless to them, they'd not pity me.
Therefore &c.] The Edition 1600, thus:
or if they did marke,

They would not pitty me, yet pleade I must,
All bootless unto them.

Therefore &c.

This I conceive to be the right reading. Todd.


A stone is soft as wax, tribunes more hard than stones:] The author, we may suppose, originally wrote:

Stone's soft as wax, &c.


But who comes with our brother Marcus here?

Mar. Titus, prepare thy noble eyes to weep ;
Or, if not so, thy noble heart to break;

I bring consuming sorrow to thine age.

Tit. Will it consume me? let me see it then.
Mar. This was thy daughter.

Tit. Why, Marcus, so she is.

Luc. Ah me! this object kills me!

Tit. Faint-hearted boy, arise, and look upon her:Speak, my Lavinia,' what accursed hand

Hath made thee handless in thy father's sight?2
What fool hath added water to the sea?

Or brought a faggot to bright-burning Troy?
My grief was at the height before thou cams't,
And now, like Nilus, it disdaineth bounds.-
Give me a sword, i 'll chop off my hands too;3
For they have fought for Rome, and all in vain;
And they have nurs'd this woe, in feeding life;
In bootless prayer have they been held up,
And they have serv'd me to effectless use:
Now, all the service I require of them
Is, that the one will help to cut the other.—
'Tis well, Lavinia, that thou hast no hands;
For hands, to do Rome service, are but vain.

Luc. Speak, gentle sister, who hath martyr'd thee?
Mar. O, that delightful engine of her thoughts,*


Speak, my Lavinia,] My, which is wanting in the first folio, was supplied by the second. Steevens.



in thy father's sight?] We should read-spight ? Warburton.

I'll chop off my hands too;] Perhaps we should read:

or chop off &c.

It is not easy to discover how Titus, when he had chopped off one of his hands, would have been able to have chopped off the other. Steevens.

I have no doubt but the text is as the author wrote it. Let him answer for the blunder. In a subsequent line Titus supposes himself his own executioner:


"Now all the service I require of them" &c. Malone.

O, that delightful engine of her thoughts,] This piece fur-

That blab'd them with such pleasing eloquence,
Is torn from forth that pretty hollow cage;
Where, like a sweet melodious bird, it sung
Sweet varied notes, enchanting every ear!

Luc. O, say thou for her, who hath done this deed?
Mar. O, thus I found her, straying in the park,
Seeking to hide herself; as doth the deer,
That hath receiv'd some unrecuring wound.

Tit. It was my deer;5 and he, that wounded her,
Hath hurt me more, than had he kill'd me dead:
For now I stand as one upon a rock,
Environ'd with a wilderness of sea;

Who marks the waxing tide grow wave by wave,
Expecting ever when some envious surge
. Will in his brinish bowels swallow him.
This way to death my wretched sons are gone;
Here stands my other son, a banish'd man;
And here my brother, weeping at my woes;
But that, which gives my soul the greatest spurn,
Is dear Lavinia, dearer than my soul.-
Had I but seen thy picture in this plight,
It would have madded me; What shall I do
Now I behold thy lively body so?

Thou hast no hands, to wipe away thy tears;
Nor tongue, to tell me who hath martyr'd thee:
Thy husband he is dead; and, for his death,
Thy brothers are condemn'd, and dead by this:
Look, Marcus! ah, son Lucius, look on her!
When I did name her brothers, then fresh tears
Stood on her cheeks; as doth the honey dew
Upon a gather'd lily almost wither'd.

Mar. Perchance, she weeps because they kill'd her

Perchance, because she knows them innocent.

Tit. If they did kill thy husband, then be joyful, Because the law hath ta'en revenge on them.

nishes scarce any resemblances to Shakspeare's works; this one expression, however, is found in his Venus and Adonis :

"Once more the engine of her thoughts began." Malone. 5 It was my deer;] The play upon deer and dear has been used by Waller, who calls a lady's girdle

"The pale that held my lovely deer." Johnson.

No, no, they would not do so foul a deed;
Witness the sorrow that their sister makes.-
Gentle Lavinia, let me kiss thy lips;

Or make some sign how I may do thee ease:
Shall thy good uncle, and thy brother Lucius,
And thou, and i, sit round about some fountain;
Looking all downwards, to behold our cheeks
How they are stain'd; like meadows, yet not dry
With miry slime left on them by a flood?
And in the fountain shall we gaze so long,
Till the fresh taste be taken from that clearness,
And made a brine-pit with our bitter tears?
Or shall we cut away our hands, like thine?
Or shall we bite our tongues, and in dumb shows
Pass the remainder of our hateful days?

What shall we do? let us, that have our tongues,
Plot some device of further misery,

To make us wonder'd at in time to come.

Luc. Sweet father, cease your tears; for, at your grief, See, how my wretched sister sobs and weeps.

Mar. Patience, dear niece:-good Titus, dry thine eyes.

Tit. Ah, Marcus, Marcus! brother, well I wot,
Thy napkin cannot drink a tear of mine,

For thou, poor man, hast drown'd it with thine own.
Luc. Ah, my Lavinia, I will wipe thy cheeks.
Tit. Mark, Marcus, mark! I understand her signs:
Had she a tongue to speak, now would she say
That to her brother which I said to thee;
His napkin, with his true tears? all be wet,
Can do no service on her sorrowful cheeks.
O, what a sympathy of woe is this!

As far from help as limbo is from bliss !8


like meadows,] Old copies-in meadows. Corrected by Mr. Rowe. Malone.


true tears.


with his true tears


[blocks in formation]

as limbo is from bliss.] The Limbus patrum, as it was called, is a place that the schoolmen supposed to be in the neighbourhood of hell, where the souls of the patriarchs were detained, and those good men who died before our Saviour's resurrection. Milton gives the name of Limbo to his Paradise of Fools. Reed.

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