Act 3, Scene 1
Rome. A street.
- Enter the Judges and Senators and Tribunes, with Titus’ two
- sons Martius and Quintus bound, passing on the stage to the
- place of execution, and Titus going before, pleading.
Titus4 - 32
- Hear me, grave fathers! Noble tribunes, stay!
- For pity of mine age, whose youth was spent
- In dangerous wars whilst you securely slept;
- For all my blood in Rome’s great quarrel shed,
- For all the frosty nights that I have watch’d,
- And for these bitter tears which now you see
- Filling the aged wrinkles in my cheeks,
- Be pitiful to my condemned sons,
- Whose souls is not corrupted as ’tis thought.
- For two and twenty sons I never wept,
- Because they died in honor’s lofty bed.
- Andronicus lieth down.
- The Judges, etc. pass by him and exeunt with the prisoners.
- For these, tribunes, in the dust I write
- My heart’s deep languor, and my soul’s sad tears:
- Let my tears staunch the earth’s dry appetite,
- My sons’ sweet blood will make it shame and blush.
- O earth, I will befriend thee more with rain,
- That shall distill from these two ancient urns,
- Than youthful April shall with all his show’rs.
- In summer’s drought I’ll drop upon thee still,
- In winter with warm tears I’ll melt the snow,
- And keep eternal spring-time on thy face,
- So thou refuse to drink my dear sons’ blood.
- Enter Lucius with his weapon drawn.
- O reverent tribunes! O gentle, aged men!
- Unbind my sons, reverse the doom of death,
- And let me say (that never wept before)
- My tears are now prevailing orators.
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- O noble father, you lament in vain:
- The tribunes hear you not, no man is by,
- And you recount your sorrows to a stone.
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- Ah, Lucius, for thy brothers let me plead.
- Grave tribunes, once more I entreat of you—
- My gracious lord, no tribune hears you speak.
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- Why, ’tis no matter, man: if they did hear,
- They would not mark me; if they did mark,
- They would not pity me; yet plead I must,
- And bootless unto them.
- Therefore I tell my sorrows to the stones,
- Who, though they cannot answer my distress,
- Yet in some sort they are better than the tribunes,
- For that they will not intercept my tale.
- When I do weep, they humbly at my feet
- Receive my tears, and seem to weep with me,
- And were they but attired in grave weeds,
- Rome could afford no tribunes like to these.
- A stone is soft as wax, tribunes more hard than stones;
- A stone is silent, and offendeth not,
- And tribunes with their tongues doom men to death.
- But wherefore stand’st thou with thy weapon drawn?
Lucius56 - 58
- To rescue my two brothers from their death,
- For which attempt the judges have pronounc’d
- My everlasting doom of banishment.
Titus59 - 65
- O happy man, they have befriended thee!
- Why, foolish Lucius, dost thou not perceive
- That Rome is but a wilderness of tigers?
- Tigers must prey, and Rome affords no prey
- But me and mine. How happy art thou then,
- From these devourers to be banished!
- But who comes with our brother Marcus here?
- Enter Marcus with Lavinia.
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- Titus, prepare thy aged eyes to weep,
- Or if not so, thy noble heart to break:
- I bring consuming sorrow to thine age.
- Will it consume me? Let me see it then.
- This was thy daughter.
- Why, Marcus, so she is.
- Ay me, this object kills me!
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- Faint-hearted boy, arise and look upon her.
- Speak, Lavinia, what accursed hand
- Hath made thee handless in thy father’s sight?
- What fool hath added water to the sea?
- Or brought a faggot to bright-burning Troy?
- My grief was at the height before thou cam’st,
- And now like Nilus it disdaineth bounds.
- Give me a sword, I’ll chop off my hands too,
- For they have fought for Rome, and all in vain;
- And they have nurs’d this woe, in feeding life;
- In bootless prayer have they been held up,
- And they have serv’d me to effectless use.
- Now all the service I require of them
- Is that the one will help to cut the other.
- ’Tis well, Lavinia, that thou hast no hands,
- For hands to do Rome service is but vain.
- Speak, gentle sister, who hath mart’red thee?
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- O, that delightful engine of her thoughts,
- That blabb’d them with such pleasing eloquence,
- Is torn from forth that pretty hollow cage,
- Where like a sweet melodious bird it sung
- Sweet varied notes, enchanting every ear!
- O, say thou for her, who hath done this deed?
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- O, thus I found her straying in the park,
- Seeking to hide herself, as doth the deer
- That hath receiv’d some unrecuring wound.
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- It was my dear, and he that wounded her
- Hath hurt me more than had he kill’d me dead:
- For now I stand as one upon a rock,
- Environ’d with a wilderness of sea,
- Who marks the waxing tide grow wave by wave,
- Expecting ever when some envious surge
- Will in his brinish bowels swallow him.
- This way to death my wretched sons are gone,
- Here stands my other son, a banish’d man,
- And here my brother, weeping at my woes;
- But that which gives my soul the greatest spurn
- Is dear Lavinia, dearer than my soul.
- Had I but seen thy picture in this plight,
- It would have madded me; what shall I do
- Now I behold thy lively body so?
- Thou hast no hands to wipe away thy tears,
- Nor tongue to tell me who hath mart’red thee.
- Thy husband he is dead, and for his death
- Thy brothers are condemn’d, and dead by this.
- Look, Marcus! Ah, son Lucius, look on her!
- When I did name her brothers, then fresh tears
- Stood on her cheeks, as doth the honey-dew
- Upon a gath’red lily almost withered.
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- Perchance she weeps because they kill’d her husband,
- Perchance because she knows them innocent.
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- If they did kill thy husband, then be joyful,
- Because the law hath ta’en revenge on them.
- No, no, they would not do so foul a deed;
- Witness the sorrow that their sister makes.
- Gentle Lavinia, let me kiss thy lips,
- Or make some sign how I may do thee ease.
- Shall thy good uncle, and thy brother Lucius,
- And thou, and I, sit round about some fountain,
- Looking all downwards to behold our cheeks,
- How they are stain’d like meadows yet not dry,
- With miry slime left on them by a flood?
- And in the fountain shall we gaze so long
- Till the fresh taste be taken from that clearness,
- And made a brine-pit with our bitter tears?
- Or shall we cut away our hands like thine?
- Or shall we bite our tongues, and in dumb shows
- Pass the remainder of our hateful days?
- What shall we do? Let us that have our tongues
- Plot some device of further misery,
- To make us wonder’d at in time to come.
Lucius145 - 146
- Sweet father, cease your tears, for at your grief
- See how my wretched sister sobs and weeps.
- Patience, dear niece. Good Titus, dry thine eyes.
Titus148 - 150
- Ah, Marcus, Marcus! Brother, well I wot,
- Thy napkin cannot drink a tear of mine,
- For thou, poor man, hast drown’d it with thine own.
- Ah, my Lavinia, I will wipe thy cheeks.
Titus152 - 158
- Mark, Marcus, mark! I understand her signs.
- Had she a tongue to speak, now would she say
- That to her brother which I said to thee:
- His napkin, with his true tears all bewet,
- Can do no service on her sorrowful cheeks.
- O, what a sympathy of woe is this,
- As far from help as limbo is from bliss!
- Enter Aaron the Moor alone.
Aaron160 - 166
- Titus Andronicus, my lord the Emperor
- Sends thee this word—that, if thou love thy sons,
- Let Marcus, Lucius, or thyself, old Titus,
- Or any one of you, chop off your hand
- And send it to the King; he for the same
- Will send thee hither both thy sons alive,
- And that shall be the ransom for their fault.
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- O gracious Emperor! O gentle Aaron!
- Did ever raven sing so like a lark
- That gives sweet tidings of the sun’s uprise?
- With all my heart I’ll send the Emperor my hand.
- Good Aaron, wilt thou help to chop it off?
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- Stay, father, for that noble hand of thine,
- That hath thrown down so many enemies,
- Shall not be sent. My hand will serve the turn.
- My youth can better spare my blood than you,
- And therefore mine shall save my brothers’ lives.
Marcus177 - 183
- Which of your hands hath not defended Rome,
- And rear’d aloft the bloody battle-axe,
- Writing destruction on the enemy’s castle?
- O, none of both but are of high desert.
- My hand hath been but idle, let it serve
- To ransom my two nephews from their death;
- Then have I kept it to a worthy end.
Aaron184 - 185
- Nay, come, agree whose hand shall go along,
- For fear they die before their pardon come.
- My hand shall go.
- By heaven, it shall not go!
Titus188 - 189
- Sirs, strive no more: such with’red herbs as these
- Are meet for plucking up, and therefore mine.
Lucius190 - 191
- Sweet rather, if I shall be thought thy son,
- Let me redeem my brothers both from death.
Marcus192 - 193
- And for our father’s sake, and mother’s care,
- Now let me show a brother’s love to thee.
- Agree between you, I will spare my hand.
- Then I’ll go fetch an axe.
- But I will use the axe.
- Exeunt Lucius and Marcus.
Titus198 - 199
- Come hither, Aaron. I’ll deceive them both;
- Lend me thy hand, and I will give thee mine.
Aaron200 - 204
- If that be call’d deceit, I will be honest,
- And never whilst I live deceive men so;
- But I’ll deceive you in another sort,
- And that you’ll say ere half an hour pass.
- He cuts off Titus’ hand.
- Enter Lucius and Marcus again.
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- Now stay your strife, what shall be is dispatch’d.
- Good Aaron, give his Majesty my hand.
- Tell him it was a hand that warded him
- From thousand dangers, bid him bury it:
- More hath it merited, that let it have.
- As for my sons, say I account of them
- As jewels purchas’d at an easy price,
- And yet dear too, because I bought mine own.
Aaron215 - 221
- I go, Andronicus, and for thy hand
- Look by and by to have thy sons with thee.
- Their heads, I mean. O how this villainy
- Doth fat me with the very thoughts of it!
- Let fools do good, and fair men call for grace,
- Aaron will have his soul black like his face.
Titus223 - 232
- O, here I lift this one hand up to heaven,
- And bow this feeble ruin to the earth;
- If any power pities wretched tears,
- To that I call!
- To Lavinia.
- What, wouldst thou kneel with me?
- Do then, dear heart, for heaven shall hear our prayers,
- Or with our sighs we’ll breathe the welkin dim,
- And stain the sun with fog, as sometime clouds
- When they do hug him in their melting bosoms.
Marcus233 - 234
- O brother, speak with possibility,
- And do not break into these deep extremes.
Titus235 - 236
- Is not my sorrow deep, having no bottom?
- Then be my passions bottomless with them!
- But yet let reason govern thy lament.
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- If there were reason for these miseries,
- Then into limits could I bind my woes:
- When heaven doth weep, doth not the earth o’erflow?
- If the winds rage, doth not the sea wax mad,
- Threat’ning the welkin with his big-swoll’n face?
- And wilt thou have a reason for this coil?
- I am the sea; hark how her sighs doth blow!
- She is the weeping welkin, I the earth:
- Then must my sea be moved with her sighs;
- Then must my earth with her continual tears
- Become a deluge, overflow’d and drown’d:
- For why my bowels cannot hide her woes,
- But like a drunkard must I vomit them.
- Then give me leave, for losers will have leave
- To ease their stomachs with their bitter tongues.
- Enter a Messenger, with two heads and a hand.
Messenger254 - 260
- Worthy Andronicus, ill art thou repaid
- For that good hand thou sent’st the Emperor.
- Here are the heads of thy two noble sons,
- And here’s thy hand, in scorn to thee sent back—
- Thy grief their sports! Thy resolution mock’d!
- That woe is me to think upon thy woes,
- More than remembrance of my father’s death.
Marcus262 - 266
- Now let hot Aetna cool in Sicily,
- And be my heart an ever-burning hell!
- These miseries are more than may be borne.
- To weep with them that weep doth ease some deal,
- But sorrow flouted at is double death.
Lucius267 - 270
- Ah, that this sight should make so deep a wound,
- And yet detested life not shrink thereat!
- That ever death should let life bear his name,
- Where life hath no more interest but to breathe!
- Lavinia kisses Titus.
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- Alas, poor heart, that kiss is comfortless
- As frozen water to a starved snake.
- When will this fearful slumber have an end?
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- Now farewell, flatt’ry; die, Andronicus.
- Thou dost not slumber; see thy two sons’ heads,
- Thy warlike hand, thy mangled daughter here,
- Thy other banish’d son with this dear sight
- Struck pale and bloodless, and thy brother, I,
- Even like a stony image, cold and numb.
- Ah, now no more will I control thy griefs.
- Rent off thy silver hair, thy other hand
- Gnawing with thy teeth, and be this dismal sight
- The closing up of our most wretched eyes.
- Now is a time to storm, why art thou still?
- Ha, ha, ha!
- Why dost thou laugh? It fits not with this hour.
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- Why, I have not another tear to shed.
- Besides, this sorrow is an enemy,
- And would usurp upon my wat’ry eyes,
- And make them blind with tributary tears;
- Then which way shall I find Revenge’s cave?
- For these two heads do seem to speak to me,
- And threat me I shall never come to bliss
- Till all these mischiefs be return’d again,
- Even in their throats that hath committed them.
- Come let me see what task I have to do.
- You heavy people, circle me about,
- That I may turn me to each one of you,
- And swear unto my soul to right your wrongs.
- The vow is made. Come, brother, take a head,
- And in this hand the other will I bear;
- And, Lavinia, thou shalt be employ’d;
- Bear thou my hand, sweet wench, between thy teeth.
- As for thee, boy, go get thee from my sight;
- Thou art an exile, and thou must not stay.
- Hie to the Goths and raise an army there,
- And if ye love me, as I think you do,
- Let’s kiss and part, for we have much to do.
- Exeunt. Manet Lucius.
Lucius311 - 323
- Farewell, Andronicus, my noble father,
- The woefull’st man that ever liv’d in Rome.
- Farewell, proud Rome, till Lucius come again;
- He loves his pledges dearer than his life.
- Farewell, Lavinia, my noble sister,
- O would thou wert as thou tofore hast been!
- But now nor Lucius nor Lavinia lives
- But in oblivion and hateful griefs.
- If Lucius live, he will requite your wrongs,
- And make proud Saturnine and his emperess
- Beg at the gates, like Tarquin and his queen.
- Now will I to the Goths and raise a pow’r,
- To be reveng’d on Rome and Saturnine.
- Exit Lucius.