Act 2, Scene 1
Rome. Before the Palace.
- Aaron the Moor alone.
Aaron2 - 26
- Now climbeth Tamora Olympus’ top,
- Safe out of fortune’s shot, and sits aloft,
- Secure of thunder’s crack or lightning flash,
- Advanc’d above pale envy’s threat’ning reach.
- As when the golden sun salutes the morn,
- And, having gilt the ocean with his beams,
- Gallops the zodiac in his glistering coach,
- And overlooks the highest-peering hills:
- So Tamora.
- Upon her wit doth earthly honor wait,
- And virtue stoops and trembles at her frown;
- Then, Aaron, arm thy heart, and fit thy thoughts,
- To mount aloft with thy imperial mistress,
- And mount her pitch, whom thou in triumph long
- Hast prisoner held, fett’red in amorous chains,
- And faster bound to Aaron’s charming eyes
- Than is Prometheus tied to Caucasus.
- Away with slavish weeds and servile thoughts!
- I will be bright, and shine in pearl and gold,
- To wait upon this new-made emperess.
- To wait, said I? To wanton with this queen,
- This goddess, this Semiramis, this nymph,
- This siren that will charm Rome’s Saturnine,
- And see his shipwrack and his commonweal’s.
- Hollo, what storm is this?
- Enter Chiron and Demetrius braving.
Demetrius28 - 30
- Chiron, thy years wants wit, thy wits wants edge,
- And manners, to intrude where I am grac’d,
- And may, for aught thou knowest, affected be.
Chiron31 - 38
- Demetrius, thou dost overween in all,
- And so in this, to bear me down with braves.
- ’Tis not the difference of a year or two
- Makes me less gracious, or thee more fortunate;
- I am as able and as fit as thou
- To serve, and to deserve my mistress’ grace,
- And that my sword upon thee shall approve,
- And plead my passions for Lavinia’s love.
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- Clubs, clubs! These lovers will not keep the peace.
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- Why, boy, although our mother, unadvis’d,
- Gave you a dancing-rapier by your side,
- Are you so desperate grown to threat your friends?
- Go to; have your lath glued within your sheath,
- Till you know better how to handle it.
Chiron46 - 47
- Mean while, sir, with the little skill I have,
- Full well shalt thou perceive how much I dare.
- Ay, boy, grow ye so brave?
- They draw.
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- Coming forward.
- Why, how now, lords?
- So near the Emperor’s palace dare ye draw,
- And maintain such a quarrel openly?
- Full well I wot the ground of all this grudge.
- I would not for a million of gold
- The cause were known to them it most concerns,
- Nor would your noble mother for much more
- Be so dishonored in the court of Rome.
- For shame, put up.
Demetrius60 - 63
- Not I, till I have sheath’d
- My rapier in his bosom, and withal
- Thrust those reproachful speeches down his throat,
- That he hath breath’d in my dishonor here.
Chiron64 - 66
- For that I am prepar’d and full resolv’d,
- Foul-spoken coward, that thund’rest with thy tongue,
- And with thy weapon nothing dar’st perform!
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- 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 jet 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! And should the Empress know
- This discord’s ground, the music would not please.
Chiron78 - 79
- I care not, I, knew she and all the world,
- I love Lavinia more than all the world.
Demetrius80 - 81
- Youngling, learn thou to make some meaner choice,
- Lavinia is thine elder brother’s hope.
Aaron82 - 86
- 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.
Chiron87 - 88
- Aaron, a thousand deaths
- Would I propose to achieve her whom I love.
- To achieve her how?
Demetrius90 - 98
- Why makes thou it so strange?
- She is a woman, therefore may be woo’d,
- She is a woman, therefore may be won,
- She is Lavinia, therefore must be lov’d.
- What, man, more water glideth by the mill
- Than wots the miller of, and easy it is
- Of a cut loaf to steal a shive, we know.
- Though Bassianus be the Emperor’s brother,
- Better than he have worn Vulcan’s badge.
Aaron99 - 100
- Ay, and as good as Saturninus may.
Demetrius101 - 104
- Then why should he despair that knows to court it,
- With words, fair looks, and liberality?
- What, hast not thou full often struck a doe,
- And borne her cleanly by the keeper’s nose?
Aaron105 - 106
- Why then it seems some certain snatch or so
- Would serve your turns.
- Ay, so the turn were served.
- Aaron, thou hast hit it.
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- Would you had hit it too!
- Then should not we be tir’d with this ado.
- Why, hark ye, hark ye, and are you such fools
- To square for this? Would it offend you then
- That both should speed?
- Faith, not me.
- Nor me, so I were one.
Aaron116 - 144
- 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 ling’ring languishment
- 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 withal what we intend,
- And she shall file our engines with advice,
- 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, and ears;
- The woods are ruthless, dreadful, deaf, and dull.
- There speak, and strike, brave boys, and take your turns,
- There serve your lust, shadowed from heaven’s eye,
- And revel in Lavinia’s treasury.
- Thy counsel, lad, smells of no cowardice.
Demetrius146 - 148
- Sit fas aut nefas, till I find the stream
- To cool this heat, a charm to calm these fits,
- Per Stygia, per manes vehor.