Act II, Scene 3
A lonely part of the forest.
- Enter Aaron alone with a bag of gold.
Aaron1 - 9
- He that had wit would think that I had none,
- To bury so much gold under a tree,
- And never after to inherit it.
- Let him that thinks of me so abjectly
- Know that this gold must coin a stratagem,
- Which cunningly effected will beget
- A very excellent piece of villainy.
- And so repose, sweet gold, for their unrest,
- Hides the gold.
- That have their alms out of the Empress’ chest.
- Enter Tamora alone to the Moor.
Tamora10 - 29
- My lovely Aaron, wherefore look’st thou sad,
- When every thing doth make a gleeful boast?
- The birds chaunt melody on every bush,
- The snake lies rolled in the cheerful sun,
- The green leaves quiver with the cooling wind
- And make a checker’d shadow on the ground.
- Under their sweet shade, Aaron, let us sit,
- And whilst the babbling echo mocks the hounds,
- Replying shrilly to the well-tun’d horns,
- As if a double hunt were heard at once,
- Let us sit down and mark their yellowing noise;
- And after conflict such as was suppos’d
- The wand’ring prince and Dido once enjoyed,
- When with a happy storm they were surpris’d,
- And curtain’d with a counsel-keeping cave,
- We may, each wreathed in the other’s arms
- (Our pastimes done), possess a golden slumber,
- Whiles hounds and horns and sweet melodious birds
- Be unto us as is a nurse’s song
- Of lullaby to bring her babe asleep.
Aaron30 - 50
- Madam, though Venus govern your desires,
- Saturn is dominator over mine:
- What signifies my deadly-standing eye,
- My silence, an’ my cloudy melancholy,
- My fleece of woolly hair that now uncurls,
- Even as an adder when she doth unroll
- To do some fatal execution?
- No, madam, these are no venereal signs.
- Vengeance is in my heart, death in my hand,
- Blood and revenge are hammering in my head.
- Hark, Tamora, the empress of my soul,
- Which never hopes more heaven than rests in thee,
- This is the day of doom for Bassianus:
- His Philomel must lose her tongue today,
- Thy sons make pillage of her chastity,
- And wash their hands in Bassianus’ blood.
- Seest thou this letter? Take it up, I pray thee,
- And give the King this fatal-plotted scroll.
- Now question me no more, we are espied.
- Here comes a parcel of our hopeful booty,
- Which dreads not yet their lives’ destruction.
- Enter Bassianus and Lavinia.
- Ah, my sweet Moor, sweeter to me than life!
Aaron52 - 54
- No more, great Empress, Bassianus comes.
- Be cross with him, and I’ll go fetch thy sons
- To back thy quarrels, whatsoe’er they be.
Bassianus55 - 59
- Who have we here? Rome’s royal Emperess,
- Unfurnish’d of her well-beseeming troop?
- Or is it Dian habited like her,
- Who hath abandoned her holy groves
- To see the general hunting in this forest?
Tamora60 - 65
- Saucy controller of my private steps!
- Had I the pow’r that some say Dian had,
- Thy temples should be planted presently
- With horns, as was Actaeon’s, and the hounds
- Should drive upon thy new-transformed limbs,
- Unmannerly intruder as thou art!
Lavinia66 - 71
- Under your patience, gentle Emperess,
- ’Tis thought you have a goodly gift in horning,
- And to be doubted that your Moor and you
- Are singled forth to try thy experiments.
- Jove shield your husband from his hounds today!
- ’Tis pity they should take him for a stag.
Bassianus72 - 79
- Believe me, Queen, your swart Cimmeriant
- Doth make your honor of his body’s hue,
- Spotted, detested, and abominable.
- Why are you sequest’red from all your train,
- Dismounted from your snow-white goodly steed,
- And wand’red hither to an obscure plot,
- Accompanied but with a barbarous Moor,
- If foul desire had not conducted you?
Lavinia80 - 84
- And, being intercepted in your sport,
- Great reason that my noble lord be rated
- For sauciness. I pray you let us hence,
- And let her joy her raven-colored love;
- This valley fits the purpose passing well.
- The King my brother shall have notice of this.
Lavinia86 - 87
- Ay, for these slips have made him noted long,
- Good king, to be so mightily abused.
- Why, I have patience to endure all this.
- Enter Chiron and Demetrius.
Demetrius89 - 90
- How now, dear sovereign and our gracious mother?
- Why doth your Highness look so pale and wan?
Tamora91 - 115
- Have I not reason, think you, to look pale?
- These two have ’ticed me hither to this place:
- A barren detested vale you see it is;
- The trees, though summer, yet forlorn and lean,
- Overcome with moss and baleful mistletoe;
- Here never shines the sun, here nothing breeds,
- Unless the nightly owl or fatal raven;
- And when they show’d me this abhorred pit,
- They told me, here, at dead time of the night,
- A thousand fiends, a thousand hissing snakes,
- Ten thousand swelling toads, as many urchins,
- Would make such fearful and confused cries,
- As any mortal body hearing it
- Should straight fall mad, or else die suddenly.
- No sooner had they told this hellish tale,
- But straight they told me they would bind me here
- Unto the body of a dismal yew,
- And leave me to this miserable death.
- And then they call’d me foul adulteress,
- Lascivious Goth, and all the bitterest terms
- That ever ear did hear to such effect;
- And had you not by wondrous fortune come,
- This vengeance on me had they executed:
- Revenge it, as you love your mother’s life,
- Or be ye not henceforth call’d my children.
- This is a witness that I am thy son.
- Stabs him.
- And this for me, struck home to show my strength.
- Also stabs Bassianus, who dies.
Lavinia118 - 119
- Ay, come, Semiramis, nay, barbarous Tamora,
- For no name fits thy nature but thy own!
Tamora120 - 121
- Give me the poniard; you shall know, my boys,
- Your mother’s hand shall right your mother’s wrong.
Demetrius122 - 127
- Stay, madam, here is more belongs to her:
- First thrash the corn, then after burn the straw.
- This minion stood upon her chastity,
- Upon her nuptial vow, her loyalty,
- And with that painted hope braves your mightiness;
- And shall she carry this unto her grave?
Chiron128 - 130
- And if she do, I would I were an eunuch.
- Drag hence her husband to some secret hole,
- And make his dead trunk pillow to our lust.
Tamora131 - 132
- But when ye have the honey we desire,
- Let not this wasp outlive, us both to sting.
Chiron133 - 135
- I warrant you, madam, we will make that sure.
- Come, mistress, now perforce we will enjoy
- That nice-preserved honesty of yours.
- O Tamora, thou bearest a woman’s face—
- I will not hear her speak, away with her!
- Sweet lords, entreat her hear me but a word.
Demetrius139 - 141
- Listen, fair madam, let it be your glory
- To see her tears, but be your heart to them
- As unrelenting flint to drops of rain.
Lavinia142 - 147
- When did the tiger’s young ones teach the dam?
- O, do not learn her wrath—she taught it thee;
- The milk thou suck’st from her did turn to marble,
- Even at thy teat thou hadst thy tyranny;
- Yet every mother breeds not sons alike—
- To Chiron.
- Do thou entreat her show a woman’s pity.
- What, wouldst thou have me prove myself a bastard?
Lavinia149 - 156
- ’Tis true, the raven doth not hatch a lark,
- Yet have I heard—O, could I find it now!—
- The lion, mov’d with pity, did endure
- To have his princely paws par’d all away.
- Some say that ravens foster forlorn children
- The whilst their own birds famish in their nests;
- O, be to me, though thy hard heart say no,
- Nothing so kind, but something pitiful!
- I know not what it means, away with her!
Lavinia158 - 160
- O, let me teach thee! For my father’s sake,
- That gave thee life when well he might have slain thee,
- Be not obdurate, open thy deaf years.
Tamora161 - 167
- Hadst thou in person ne’er offended me,
- Even for his sake am I pitiless.
- Remember, boys, I pour’d forth tears in vain
- To save your brother from the sacrifice,
- But fierce Andronicus would not relent.
- Therefore away with her, and use her as you will;
- The worse to her, the better lov’d of me.
Lavinia168 - 171
- O Tamora, be call’d a gentle queen,
- And with thine own hands kill me in this place!
- For ’tis not life that I have begg’d so long,
- Poor I was slain when Bassianus died.
- What beg’st thou then? Fond woman, let me go.
Lavinia173 - 178
- ’Tis present death I beg, and one thing more
- That womanhood denies my tongue to tell.
- O, keep me from their worse than killing lust,
- And tumble me into some loathsome pit,
- Where never man’s eye may behold my body:
- Do this, and be a charitable murderer.
Tamora179 - 180
- So should I rob my sweet sons of their fee.
- No, let them satisfice their lust on thee.
- Away, for thou hast stay’d us here too long.
Lavinia182 - 184
- No grace? No womanhood? Ah, beastly creature,
- The blot and enemy to our general name!
- Confusion fall—
Chiron185 - 186
- Nay then I’ll stop your mouth. Bring thou her husband;
- This is the hole where Aaron bid us hide him.
- Demetrius throws the body of Bassianus into the pit.
- Then exeunt Demetrius and Chiron dragging off Lavinia.
Tamora187 - 191
- Farewell, my sons, see that you make her sure.
- Ne’er let my heart know merry cheer indeed
- Till all the Andronici be made away.
- Now will I hence to seek my lovely Moor,
- And let my spleenful sons this trull deflow’r.
- Enter Aaron with two of Titus’ sons, Quintus and Martius.
Aaron192 - 194
- Come on, my lords, the better foot before.
- Straight will I bring you to the loathsome pit
- Where I espied the panther fast asleep.
- My sight is very dull, what e’er it bodes.
Martius196 - 197
- And mine, I promise you; were it not for shame,
- Well could I leave our sport to sleep a while.
- Falls into the pit.
Quintus198 - 203
- What, art thou fallen? What subtile hole is this,
- Whose mouth is covered with rude-growing briers,
- Upon whose leaves are drops of new-shed blood
- As fresh as morning dew distill’d on flowers?
- A very fatal place it seems to me.
- Speak, brother, hast thou hurt thee with the fall?
Martius204 - 205
- O brother, with the dismall’st object hurt
- That ever eye with sight made heart lament!
Aaron206 - 208
- Now will I fetch the King to find them here,
- That he thereby may have a likely guess,
- How these were they that made away his brother.
Martius209 - 210
- Why dost not comfort me and help me out
- From this unhallow’d and blood-stained hole?
Quintus211 - 213
- I am surprised with an uncouth fear,
- A chilling sweat o’erruns my trembling joints,
- My heart suspects more than mine eye can see.
Martius214 - 216
- To prove thou hast a true-divining heart,
- Aaron and thou look down into this den,
- And see a fearful sight of blood and death.
Quintus217 - 221
- 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 who it is, for ne’er till now
- Was I a child to fear I know not what.
Martius222 - 224
- Lord Bassianus lies beray’d in blood,
- All on a heap, like to a slaughtered lamb,
- In this detested, dark, blood-drinking pit.
- If it be dark, how dost thou know ’tis he?
Martius226 - 236
- Upon his bloody finger he doth wear
- A precious ring that lightens all this 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.
Quintus237 - 241
- 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.
- Nor I no strength to climb without thy help.
Quintus243 - 245
- Thy hand once more; I will not loose again,
- Till thou art here aloft or I below.
- Thou canst not come to me—I come to thee.
- Falls in.
- Enter the Emperor and Aaron the Moor.
Saturninus246 - 249
- Along with me! I’ll see what hole is here,
- And what he is that now is leapt into it.
- Say who art thou that lately didst descend
- Into this gaping hollow of the earth?
Martius250 - 252
- The unhappy sons of old Andronicus,
- Brought hither in a most unlucky hour,
- To find thy brother Bassianus dead.
Saturninus253 - 256
- 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 them there.
Martius257 - 258
- We know not where you left them all alive,
- But out alas, here have we found him dead.
- Enter Tamora with Attendants, Titus Andronicus, and Lucius.
- Where is my lord the King?
- Here, Tamora, though griev’d with killing grief.
- Where is thy brother Bassianus?
Saturninus262 - 263
- Now to the bottom dost thou search my wound;
- Poor Bassianus here lies murdered.
Tamora264 - 267
- Then all too late I bring this fatal writ,
- The complot of this timeless tragedy,
- And wonder greatly that man’s face can fold
- In pleasing smiles such murderous tyranny.
- She giveth Saturnine a letter.
Saturninus268 - 279
- Reads the letter.
- “And if we miss to meet him handsomely,
- Sweet huntsman—Bassianus ’tis we mean—
- Do thou so much as dig the grave for him:
- 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 murdered Bassianus here.
- My gracious lord, here is the bag of gold.
Saturninus281 - 285
- To Titus.
- Two of thy whelps, fell curs of bloody kind,
- 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 tortering pain for them.
Tamora286 - 287
- What, are they in this pit? O wondrous thing!
- How easily murder is discovered!
Titus288 - 291
- 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—
Saturninus292 - 293
- If it be prov’d! You see it is apparent.
- Who found this letter? Tamora, was it you?
- Andronicus himself did take it up.
Titus295 - 298
- I did, my lord, yet let me be their bail,
- For by my fathers’ reverent tomb I vow
- They shall be ready at your Highness’ will,
- To answer their suspicion with their lives.
Saturninus299 - 303
- Thou shalt not bail them, see thou follow me.
- Some bring the murdered 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.
Tamora304 - 305
- Andronicus, I will entreat the King.
- Fear not thy sons, they shall do well enough.
- Come, Lucius, come, stay not to talk with them.