« IndietroContinua »
Drums and trumpets sounded. Enter MAR
TIUS and MUTIUS; after them, two Men
bearing a coffin covered with black; then
LUCIUS and QUINTUS. After them, TITUS
ANDRONICUS; and then TAMORA, with ALAR-
BUS, DEMETRIUS, CHIRON, AARON, and other
Goths, prisoners; Soldiers and People follow-
ing. The Bearers set down the coffin, and
Tit. Hail, Rome, victorious in thy mourning
Lo, as the bark, that hath discharged her fraught,
Returns with precious lading to the bay
From whence at first she weigh'd her anchorage,
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 amongst their ancestors :
Here Goths have given me leave to sheathe 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.
[The tomb is opened.
There greet in silence, as the dead are wont,
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 proudest prisoner of the Goths,
That we may hew his limbs, and on a pile
Ad manes fratrum sacrifice his flesh,
Before this earthy prison of their bones;
That so the shadows be not unappeased,
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 !
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 commonweal
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 beheld
Alive and dead, and for their brethren slain
Religiously they ask a sacrifice:
To this your son is mark'd, and die he must,
To appease their groaning shadows that are gone.
121. Patient yourself, have patience.
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 consumed.
[Exeunt Lucius, Quintus, Martius, and
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 looks.
Then, madam, stand resolved, 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- 140 To quit the bloody wrongs upon her foes.
Re-enter LUCIUS, QUINTUS, MARTIUS, and
MUTIUS, with their swords bloody.
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 farewell to their souls.
[Trumpets sounded, and the coffin laid in
In peace and honour rest you here, my sons;
Rome's readiest champions, repose you here in rest,
138. the Thracian tyrant, Polymnestor, whom Hecuba, according to one tradition, beguiled into her tent and muti
lated, in vengeance for his murder of her son Polydorus. Hence Theobald proposed her tent.'
Secure from worldly chances and mishaps!
Here lurks no treason, here no envy swells,
Here grow no damned drugs; here are no storms,
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 fame! Lo, at this tomb my tributary tears I render, for my brethren's obsequies; And at thy feet I kneel, with tears of joy, Shed on the earth, for thy return to Rome: O, bless me here with thy victorious hand, Whose fortunes Rome's best citizens applaud!
Tit. Kind Rome, that hast thus lovingly reserved The cordial of mine age to glad my heart! Lavinia, live; outlive thy father's days, And fame's eternal date, for virtue's praise!
Enter, below, MARCUS ANDRONICUS and Tribunes; re-enter SATURNINUS and BASSIANUS, attended.
Marc. Long live Lord Titus, my beloved brother, Gracious triumpher in the eyes of Rome!
Tit. Thanks, gentle tribune, noble brother Marcus.
Marc. And welcome, nephews, from successful
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,
170. Gracious, i.e. in the eyes of Rome.'
That hath aspired 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,
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 chosen 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.
Marc. Titus, thou shalt obtain and ask the
Sat. Proud and ambitious tribune, canst thou tell?
Tit. Patience, Prince Saturninus.
Patricians, draw your swords, and sheathe them not
Till Saturninus be Rome's emperor.
177. Solon's happiness; happiness as conceived by Solon, who declared that no man was to be called happy before he died.
182. palliament, Roman mantle (a coinage from 'pallium ').
201. obtain and ask, obtain merely by asking.