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A gown made of the finest wool,
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Slippers lin'd choicely for the cold;
With buckles of the purest gold;

A belt of straw, and ivie buds,
With coral clasps, and amber studs:
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Then live with me, and be my love.

The shepherd swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me, and be my love.


that the World and Love were young, And truth in every shepherd's toung, These pretty pleasures might me move To live with thee, and be thy love. But time drives flocks from field to fold, When rivers rage, and rocks grow cold, And Philomel becometh dumb, And all complain of cares to come.

The flowers do fade, and wanton fields
To wayward winter reckoning yield:
A honey tongue, a heart of gall,
Is fancies spring, but sorrows fall.

Thy gowns, thy shoes, thy beds of roses,
Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy posies,
Soon break, soon wither, soon forgotten,
In folly ripe, in reason rotten.

Thy belt of straw, and ivie buds,
Thy coral clasps, and amber studs;







All these in me no means can move
To come to thee, and be thy love.

But could youth last, and love still breed,
Had joyes no date, nor age no need ;
Then those delights my mind might move
To live with thee, and be thy love.




HE reader has here an ancient ballad on the same subject as the play of Titus Andronicus, and it is probable that the one was borrowed from the other: but which of them was the original it is not easy to decide. And yet, if the argument offered above for the priority of the ballad of the Jew of Venice may be admitted, somewhat of the same kind may be urged here; for this ballad differs from the play in several particulars, which a simple ballad-writer would be less likely to alter than an inventive tragedian. Thus in the ballad is no mention of the contest for the empire between the two brothers, the composing of which makes the ungrateful treatment of Titus afterwards the more flagrant: neither is there any notice taken of his sacrificing one of Tamora's sons, which the tragic poet has assigned as the original cause of all her cruelties. In the play Titus loses twenty-one of his sons in war, and kills another for assisting Bassianus to carry off Lavinia : the reader will find it different in the ballad. In the latter she is betrothed to the emperor's son: in the play to his brother. In the tragedy only two of his sons fall into the pit, and the third being banished returns to Rome with a victorious army, to avenge the wrongs of his house: in the ballad all three are entrapped and suffer death. In the scene the emperor kills Titus, and is in return stabbed by Titus's surviving son. Here Titus kills the emperor, and afterwards himself.


Let the reader weigh these circumstances and some others wherein he will find them unlike, and then pronounce for himself. After all, there is reason to conclude that this play was rather improved by Shakespeare with a few fine touches of his pen, than originally written by him; for, not to mention that the style is less figurative

than his others generally are, this tragedy is mentioned with discredit in the Induction to Ben Jonson's Bartholomew Fair, in 1614, as one that had then been exhibited "five and twenty or thirty years:" which, if we take the lowest number, throws it back to the year 1589, at which time Shakespeare was but 25: an earlier dete than can be found for any other of his pieces:* and if it does not clear him entirely of it, shews at least it was a first attempt.†

The following is given from a copy in The Golden Garland intitled as above; compared with three others, two of them in black letter in the Pepys Collection, intitled, The Lamentable and Tragical History of Titus Andronicus, &c. To the tune of, Fortune. Printed for E. Wright. Unluckily none of these have any dates.

[No original from which the plot of the play of Titus Andronicus could be taken has yet been discovered, and it is just possible that this ballad may have given the hint, but the Registers of the Stationers' Company go some way towards proving a negative to this supposition, for on the 6th of February, 1593-4, John Danter registered A noble Roman Historye of Tytus Andronicus, and also the ballad thereof.]

OU noble minds, and famous martiall wights,
That in defence of native country fights,
Give eare to me, that ten yeeres fought for

Yet reapt disgrace at my returning home.

* Mr. Malone thinks 1591 to be the æra when our author commenced a writer for the stage. See in his Shakesp. the ingenious Attempt to ascertain the order in which the plays of Shakespeare were


† Since the above was written, Shakespeare's memory has been fully vindicated from the charge of writing the above play by the best criticks. See what has been urged by Steevens and Malone in their excellent editions of Shakespeare, &c. [The question of Shakspere's authorship is not by any means so completely settled in the negative as this note would imply. The external evidence for its authenticity is as strong as for most of the other plays. See New Shakspere Society's Transactions, Part i. p. 126, for a list of sages which seem to bear evidence of Shakspere's hand in their composition.]

In Rome I lived in fame fulle threescore yeeres,
My name beloved was of all my peeres;
Full five and twenty valiant sonnes I had,
Whose forwarde vertues made their father glad.

For when Romes foes their warlike forces bent,
Against them stille my sonnes and I were sent;
Against the Goths full ten yeeres weary warre
We spent, receiving many a bloudy scarre.

Just two and twenty of my sonnes were slaine
Before we did returne to Rome againe :
Of five and twenty sonnes, I brought but three
Alive, the stately towers of Rome to see.

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When wars were done, I conquest home did bring,
And did present my prisoners to the king,
The queene of Goths, her sons, and eke a moore,
Which did such murders, like was nere before.



Then she, whose thoughts to murder were inclinde,
Consented with the moore of bloody minde
Against myselfe, my kin, and all my friendes,
In cruell sort to bring them to their endes.

The emperour did make this queene his wife,
Which bred in Rome debate and deadlie strife;
The moore, with her two sonnes did growe soe proud.
That none like them in Rome might bee allowd

The moore soe pleas'd this new-made empress' eie, 25
That she consented to him secretlye
For to abuse her husbands marriage bed,
And soe in time a blackamore she bred.

Soe when in age I thought to live in peace,
Both care and griefe began then to increase:
Amongst my sonnes I had one daughter bright, 35
Which joy'd, and pleased best my aged sight;

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My deare Lavinia was betrothed than
To Cesars sonne, a young and noble man:
Who in a hunting by the emperours wife,
And her two sonnes, bereaved was of life.

He being slaine, was cast in cruel wise,
Into a darksome den from light of skies:
The cruell moore did come that way as then
With my three sonnes, who fell into the den.

The moore then fetcht the emperour with speed, 45
For to accuse them of that murderous deed;
And when my sonnes within the den were found,
In wrongfull prison they were cast and bound.

But nowe, behold! what wounded most my mind,
The empresses two sonnes of savage kind
My daughter ravished without remorse,
And took away her honour, quite perforce.

Then both her hands they basely cutt off quite,
Whereby their wickednesse she could not write;
Nor with her needle on her sampler sowe
The bloudye workers of her direfull woe.


When they had tasted of soe sweete a flowre,
Fearing this sweete should shortly turne to sowre,
They cutt her tongue, whereby she could not tell 55
How that dishonoure unto her befell.

But when I sawe her in that woefull case,
With teares of bloud I wet mine aged face:
For my Lavinia I lamented more
Then for my two and twenty sonnes before.



My brother Marcus found her in the wood,
Staining the grassie ground with purple bloud,
That trickled from her stumpes, and bloudlesse armes:
Noe tongue at all she had to tell her harmes.


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