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Foul-spoken coward! that thunder'st with thy tongue,5 And with thy weapon nothing dar'st perform.

Aar. Away, I say.

Now by the gods, that warlike Goths adore,
This petty brabble will undo us all.—

Why, lords, and think you not how dangerous
It is to jut upon a prince's right?

What, is Lavinia then become so loose,

Or Bassianus so degenerate,

That for her love such quarrels may be broach'd,
Without controlment, justice, or revenge?

Young lords, beware! an should the empress know
This discord's ground, the musick would not please.
Chi. I care not, I, knew she and all the world;
I love Lavinia more than all the world.

Dem. Youngling, learn thou to make some meaner choice:

Lavinia is thine elder brother's hope.

Aar. Why, are ye mad? or know ye not, in Rome How furious and impatient they be,

And cannot brook competitors in love?

I tell you, lords, you do but plot your deaths
By this device.


Aaron, a thousand deaths Would I propose, to achieve her whom I love. Aar. To achieve her!-How?


Why mak'st thou it so strange?

She is a woman, therefore may be woo'd;
She is a woman, therefore may be won ;7*

5 thunder'st with thy tongue,] This phrase appears to have been adopted from Virgil, Æneid XI, 383:


"Proinde tona eloquio solitum tibi;

a thousand deaths


Would I propose,] Whether Chiron means he would contrive a thousand deaths for others, or imagine as many cruel ones for himself, I am unable to determine. Steevens.

Aaron's words, to which these are an answer, seem to lead to the latter interpretation. Malone.


She is a woman, therefore may be woo'd;

She is a woman, therefore may be won;] These two lines occur, with very little variation, in the First Part of K. Henry VI: "She's beautiful, and therefore to be woo'd; "She is a woman, therefore to be won."

She is Lavinia, therefore must be lov'd.
What, man! more water glideth by the mills
Than wots the miller of; and easy it is
Of a cut loaf to steal a shive,9 we know:
Though Bassianus be the emperor's brother,
Better than he have yet worn1 Vulcan's badge.

This coincidence may lead one to suspect that the author of the present play was also author of the original Henry VI. I do not, indeed, conceive either to be the production of Shakspeare; for, though his hand is sufficiently visible in some parts of the other play, particularly in the second scene of the fourth Act, there does not appear a single line in this, which can have any pretensions to that honour: and therefore the testimony of Meres and the publication of the players must necessarily yield to the force of intrinsick and circumstantial evidence. It is much to be regretted that the dramatick works of our earliest tragick writers, as Greene and Peele, for instance, and “sporting Kyd," and "Marlowe's mighty line," are not collected and published together, if it were only to enable the readers of Shakspeare to discriminate between his style and that of which he found the stage, and has left some of his dramas, in possession; and of which I consider this play, and at least four fifths of the First Part of King Henry VI, (including the whole of the first Act) the performances, no doubt, of one or other of the writers already named, as a genuine and not unfavourable specimen. Indeed, I should take Kyd to have been the author of Titus Andronicus, because he seems to delight in murders and scraps of Latin; though I must confess that, in the first of those good qualities, Marlowe's Jew of Malta may fairly dispute precedence with the Spanish Tragedy. Some few of the obsolete dramas I allude to, are, it is true, to be found in the collections of Dodsley and Hawkins: though I could wish that each of those gentlemen had confined his researches to the further side of the year 1600. Future editors will, doubtless, agree in ejecting a performance by which their author's name is dishonoured, and his works are disgraced. Ritson.

*We find the same lines, with a little variation, in Richard III, Vol. XI, p. 28:

"Was ever woman in this humour woo'd?

"Was ever woman in this humour won?" Am. Ed.

8 more water glideth by the mill &c.] A Scots proverb: "Mickle water goes by the miller when he sleeps."


"Non omnem molitor quæ fluit unda videt." Steevens.

to steal a shive,] A shive is a slice. So, in the tale of Argentile and Curan, in Warner's Albion's England, 1602: "A sheeve of bread as browne as nut."

Demetrius is again indebted to a Scots proverb: "It is safe taking a shive of a cut loaf."



have yet worn - Worn is here used as a dissyllable.

Aar. Ay, and as good as Saturninus may.
Dem. Then why should he despair, that
court it

With words, fair looks, and liberality?
What, hast thou not full often struck a doe,2
And borne her cleanly by the keeper's nose?

[Aside. knows to

Aar. Why then, it seems, some certain snatch or so Would serve your turns.


Ay, so the turn were serv'd.

Dem. Aaron, thou hast hit it.

'Would you had hit it too ;3

Then should not we be tir'd with this ado.

Why, hark ye, hark ye, And are you such fools,
To square for this ?4* Would it offend you then

The modern editors, however, after the second folio, read-have yet worn. Malone.

Let him who can read worn as a dissyllable, read it so. As I am not of that description, I must continue to follow the second folio. Steevens.

2 struck a doe,] Mr. Holt is willing to infer from this passage that Titus Andronicus was not only the work of Shakspeare, but one of his earliest performances, because the stratagems of his former profession seem to have been yet fresh in his mind. I had made the same observation in King Henry VI, before I had seen his; but when we consider how many phrases are borrowed from the sports of the field, which were more followed in our author's time than any other amusement, I do not think there is much in either his remark or my own.-Let me add, that we have here Demetrius, the son of a queen, demanding of his brother prince if he has not often been reduced to practise the common artifices of a deer-stealer :-an absurdity right worthy the rest of the piece. Steevens.

Demetrius surely here addresses Aaron, not his brother.


3 'Would you had hit it too;] The same pleasant allusion occurreth also in Love's Labour's Lost, Vol. IV, p. 62. Amner. To square for this?] To square is to quarrel. So, in A Midsummer Night's Dream:

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they never meet,

"But they do square."

Again, in Drant's translation of Horace's Art of Poetry, 1567 : "Let them not sing twixt act and act, "What squareth from the rest."

But to square, which in both these instances signifies to differ, is now used only in the very opposite sense, and means to agree..


That both should speed?


So I were one.

I' faith, not me.

Nor me,

Aar. For shame, be friends; and join for that you jar. 'Tis policy and stratagem must do

That you affect; and so must you resolve;
That what you cannot, as you would, achieve,
You must perforce accomplish as you may.
Take this of me, Lucrece was not more chaste
Than this Lavinia, Bassianus' love.

A speedier course than lingering languishments
Must we pursue, and I have found the path.
My lords, a solemn hunting is in hand;
There will the lovely Roman ladies troop:
The forest walks are wide and spacious;
And many unfrequented plots there are,
Fitted by kind for rape and villainy:
Single you thither then this dainty doe,
And strike her home by force, if not by words:
This way, or not at all, stand you in hope.
Come, come, our empress, with her sacred wit,"
To villainy and vengeance consecrate,

Will we acquaint with all that we intend;
And she shall file our engines with advice,

* To square, is to take the position of defence; to square up tô. each other, in the language of pugilists, denotes the manner in which the combatants advance to the conflict, with arms prepared either to strike or defend. Am. Ed.

5 A speedier course than lingering languishment —] The old copies read:

this lingering &c.

which may mean, we must pursue by a speedier course this coy languishing dame, this piece of reluctant softness. Steevens. The emendation was made by Mr. Rowe. Malone.

6 by kind - That is, by nature, which is the old signification of kind. Johnson.

7 with her sacred wit,] Sacred here signifies accursed;

a Latinism:


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Quid non mortalia pectora cogis,

"Auri sacra fames?" Virg. Malone.

file our engines with advice,] i. e. remove all impediments from our designs by advice. The allusion is to the ope

That will not suffer you to square yourselves,
But to your wishes' height advance you both.
The emperor's court is like the house of fame,
The palace full of tongues, of eyes, of ears:9
The woods are ruthless, dreadful, deaf, and dull;
There speak, and strike, brave boys, and take your turns:
There serve your lust, shadow'd from heaven's eye,
And revel in Lavinia's treasury.

Chi. Thy counsel, lad, smells of no cowardice.
Dem. Sit fas aut nefas, till I find the stream
To cool this heat,1 a charm to calm these fits,
Per Styga, per manes vehor.2



A Forest near Rome. A Lodge seen at a distance. Horns, and cry of Hounds, heard.


Tit. The hunt is up, the morn1 is bright and grey,5 The fields are fragrant, and the woods are green:

ration of the file, which, by conferring smoothness, facilitates the motion of the wheels which compose an engine or piece of machinery. Steevens.



of eyes, of ears:] Edit. 1600:-of eyes and eares.

till I find the stream


To cool this heat,] Thus likewise, the festive Strumbo in the tragedy of Locrine: ". except you with the pleasant water of your secret fountain, quench the furious heat of the same."



Per Styga, &c.] These scraps of Latin are, I believe, taken, though not exactly, from some of Seneca's tragedies. Steevens.

3 Scene II] The division of this play into Acts, which was first made by the editors in 1623, is improper. There is here an interval of action, and here the second Act ought to have begun. Johnson.

4 the morn] Edit. 1600, erroneously reads-the moon.



the morn is bright and grey,] i. e. bright and yet not red, which was a sign of storms and rain, but gray, which foretold fair weather. Yet the Oxford editor alters gray to gay.


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