Sidor som bilder

Quin. Aaron is gone; and my compassionate heart
Will not permit mine eyes once to behold
The thing, whereat it trembles by surmise:
O, tell me how it is; for ne'er till now
Was I a child, to fear I know not what.

Mart. Lord Bassianus lies embrewed here,
All on a heap, like to a slaughter'd lamb,
In this detested, dark, blood-drinking pit.
Quin. If it be dark, how dost thou know 'tis he?
Mart. Upon his bloody finger he doth wear
A precious ring, that lightens all the hole,
Which, like a taper in some monument,
Doth shine upon the dead man's earthy cheeks,
And shows the ragged-entrails of this pit:
So pale did shine the moon' on Pyramus,.
When he by night lay bath'd in maiden blood.
O brother, help me with thy fainting hand,----
If fear hath made thee faint, as me it hath,-
Out of this fell devouring receptacle,

As hateful as Cocytus' misty mouth,

3 A precious ring,] There is supposed to be a gem called a carbuncle, which emits not reflected but native light. Mr. Boyle believes the reality of its existence. Johnson.

So, in The Gesta Romanorum, history the sixth: "He farther beheld and saw a carbuncle in the hall that lighted all the house." Again, in Lydgate's Description of King Priam's Palace, L. II: "And for most chefe all dirkeness to confound,

"A carbuncle was set as kyng of stones all,
"To recomforte and gladden all the hall.
"And it to enlumine in the black night
"With the freshness of his ruddy light."

Again, in the Muse's Elysium, by Drayton:
"Is that admired, mighty stone,
"The carbuncle that 's named;
"Which from it such a flaming light
"And radiancy ejecteth,

"That in the very darkest night

"The eye to it directeth."

Chaucer, in the Romaunt of the Rose, attributes the same properties to the carbuncle:



"Soche light ysprang out of the stone." Steevens.

all the hole,] The 4to. 1600, reads-all this hole. Todd. So pale did shine the moon &c.] Lee appears to have been indebted to this image in his Massacre of Paris: "Looks like a midnight moon upon a murder." Steevens.

Quin. Reach me thy hand, that I may help thee out; Or, wanting strength to do thee so much good, I may be pluck'd into the swallowing womb Of this deep pit, poor Bassianus' grave.

I have no strength to pluck thee to the brink.

Mart. Nor I no strength to climb without thy help. Quin. Thy hand once more; I will not lose again, Till thou art here aloft, or I below:

Thou canst not come to me, I come to thee. [Falls in.

Sat. Along with me:-I'll see what hole is here,
And what he is, that now is leap'd into it.-
Say, who art thou, that lately didst descend

Into this gaping hollow of the earth?

Mart. The unhappy son of old Andronicus; Brought hither in a most unlucky hour,

To find thy brother Bassianus dead.

Sat. My brother dead? I know, thou dost but jest: He and his lady both are at the lodge,

Upon the north side of this pleasant chase;

'Tis not an hour since I left him there.

Mart. We know not where you left him all alive, But, out alas! here have we found him dead.

Enter TAMORA, with Attendants; TITUS ANDRONICUS, and LUCIUS.

Tam. Where is my lord, the king?

Sat. Here, Tamora; though griev'd with killing grief. Tam. Where is thy brother Bassianus?

Sat. Now to the bottom dost thou search Poor Bassianus here lies murdered.

my wound

Tam. Then all too late I bring this fatal writ,

[ocr errors]

[Giving a Letter.

The complot of this timeless' tragedy;
And wonder greatly, that man's face can fold
In pleasing smiles such murderous tyranny.

Sat. [reads] An if we miss to meet him handsomely —— Sweet huntsman, Bassianus 'tis we mean,—

Do thou so much as dig the grave for him;

[merged small][ocr errors]

left him there.] Edition 1600 reads:-left them there.


timeless i. e. untimely. So, in King Richard II: “The bloody office of his timeless end." Steevens.

[ocr errors]

Thou know'st our meaning: Look for thy reward
Among the nettles at the elder tree,

Which overshades the mouth of that same pit,
Where we decreed to bury Bassianus.

Do this, and purchase us thy lasting friends.
O, Tamora! was ever heard the like?
This is the pit, and this the elder-tree:
Look, sirs, if you can find the huntsman out,
That should have murder'd Bassianus here.

Aar. My gracious lord, here is the bag of gold.

[Showing it. Sat. Two of thy whelps, [to TIT.] fell curs of bloody


Have here bereft my brother of his life :-
Sirs, drag them from the pit unto the prison;
There let them bide, until we have devis'd
Some never-heard-of torturing pain for them.

Tam. What, are they in this pit? O wondrous thing * How easily murder is discovered!

Tit. High emperor, upon my feeble knee
I beg this boon, with tears not lightly shed,
That this fell fault of my accursed sons,
Accursed, if the fault be prov'd in them,

Sat. If it be prov'd! you see, it is apparent.
Who found this letter? Tamora, was it you?
Tam. Andronicus himself did take it up.
Tit. I did, my lord: yet let me be their bail:
For by my father's reverend tomb, I vow,
They shall be ready at your highness' will,
To answer their suspicion with their lives.

Sat. Thou shalt not bail them; see, thou follow me.
Some bring the murder'd body, some the murderers:
Let them not speak a word, the guilt is plain;
For, by my soul, were there worse end than death,
That end upon them should be executed.

Tam. Andronicus, I will entreat the king; Fear not thy sons, they shall do well enough.

Tit. Come, Lucius, come; stay not to talk with them. [Exeunt severally.


The same.

Enter DEMETRIUS and CHIRON, with LAVINIA, ravishi-
ed; her Hands cut off, and her Tongue cut out.
Dem. So, now go tell, an if thy tongue can speak,
Who 'twas that cut thy tongue, and ravish'd thee.
Chi. Write down thy mind, bewray thy meaning so;
And, if thy stumps will let thee, play the scribe.

Dem. See, how with signs and tokens she can scowl.8 Chi. Go home, call for sweet water, wash thy hands. Dem. She hath no tongue to call, nor hands to wash; And so let's leave her to her silent walks.

Chi. An 'twere my case, I should go hang myself. Dem. If thou hadst hands to help thee knit the cord. [Exeunt Dem. and CHI.

Enter Marcus.

Mar. Who's this, my niece, that flies away so fast? Cousin, a word; Where is your husband?—

If I do dream, 'would all my wealth would wake me
If I do wake, some planet strike me down,
That I may slumber in eternal sleep!—
Speak, gentle niece, what stern ungentle hands
Have lopp'd, and hew'd, and made thy body bare
Of her two branches? those sweet ornaments,


Whose circling shadows kings have sought to sleep in; And might not gain so great a happiness,

As half thy love? Why dost not speak to me?

Alas, a crimson river of warm blood,

Like to a bubbling fountain stirr'd with wind,
Doth rise and fall between thy rosed lips,
Coming and going with thy honey breath.
But, sure, some Tereus hath defloured thee;
And, lest thou should'st detect him, cut thy tongue.1

8 she can scowl.] Edition 1600 reads: she can scrowle This, I apprehend, is the true reading. Todd.

9 If I do dream, 'would all my wealth would wake me!] If this be a dream, I would give all my possessions to be delivered from it by waking. Johnson.

1 lest thou should'st detect him, &c.] Old copies- detect them. The same mistake has happened in many other old plays. The correction was made by Mr. Rowe.

Ah, now thou turn'st away thy face for shame
And, notwithstanding all this loss of blood,-
As from a conduit with three issuing spouts,2.
Yet do thy cheeks look red as Titan's face,
Blushing to be encounter'd with a cloud.
Shall I speak for thee? shall I say 'tis so?
O, that I knew thy heart; and knew the beast,
That I might rail at him to ease my mind!
Sorrow concealed, like an oven stopp'd,
Doth burn the heart to cinders where it is.
Fair Philomela, she but lost her tongue,
And in a tedious sampler sew'd her mind:
But, lovely niece, that mean is cut from thee;
A craftier Tereus hast thou met withal,3
And he hath cut those pretty fingers off,
That could have better sew'd than Philomel.
O, had the monster seen those lily hands
Tremble, like aspen leaves, upon a lute,
And make the silken strings delight to kiss them
He would not then have touch'd them for his life:
Or, had he heard the heavenly harmony,
Which that sweet tongue hath made,

He would have dropp'd his knife, and fell asleep,
As Cerberus at the Thracian poet's4 feet.
Come, let us go, and make thy father blind;
For such a sight will blind a father's eye:
One hour's storm will drown the fragrant meads;
What will whole months of tears thy father's eyes?
Do not draw back, for we will mourn with thee;
O, could our mourning ease thy misery!


Tereus having ravished Philomela, his wife's sister, cut out her tongue, to prevent a discovery. Malone.

2 three issuing spouts,] Old copies-their issuing &c. Corrected by Sir Thomas Hanmer. Steevens.

3 · hast thou met withal,] The word withal, is wanting in edition 1600. Todd.

Thracian poet's -] Orpheus. Steevens:

« FöregåendeFortsätt »