Act IV, Scene 2
Rome. A room in the palace.
- Enter Aaron, Chiron, and Demetrius at one door; and at the
- other door Young Lucius and another with a bundle of
- weapons, and verses writ upon them.
Chiron1 - 2
- Demetrius, here’s the son of Lucius,
- He hath some message to deliver us.
- Ay, some mad message from his mad grandfather.
Young Lucius4 - 6
- My lords, with all the humbleness I may,
- I greet your honors from Andronicus—
- And pray the Roman gods confound you both!
- Gramercy, lovely Lucius. What’s the news?
Young Lucius8 - 18
- That you are both decipher’d, that’s the news,
- For villains mark’d with rape.—May it please you,
- My grandsire, well advis’d, hath sent by me
- The goodliest weapons of his armory
- To gratify your honorable youth,
- The hope of Rome, for so he bid me say;
- And so I do, and with his gifts present
- Your lordships, that, when ever you have need,
- You may be armed and appointed well:
- And so I leave you both—
- like bloody villains.
- Exit with Attendant.
Demetrius19 - 22
- What’s here? A scroll, and written round about.
- Let’s see:
- “Integer vitae, scelerisque purus,
- Non eget Mauri jaculis, nec arcu.”
Chiron23 - 24
- O, ’tis a verse in Horace, I know it well,
- I read it in the grammar long ago.
Aaron25 - 37
- Ay, just—a verse in Horace, right, you have it.
- Now, what a thing it is to be an ass!
- Here’s no sound jest! The old man hath found their guilt,
- And sends them weapons wrapp’d about with lines
- That wound beyond their feeling to the quick.
- But were our witty Empress well afoot,
- She would applaud Andronicus’ conceit,
- But let her rest in her unrest a while.—
- And now, young lords, was’t not a happy star
- Led us to Rome, strangers, and more than so,
- Captives, to be advanced to this height?
- It did me good, before the palace gate
- To brave the tribune in his brother’s hearing.
Demetrius38 - 39
- But me more good to see so great a lord
- Basely insinuate and send us gifts.
Aaron40 - 41
- Had he not reason, Lord Demetrius?
- Did you not use his daughter very friendly?
Demetrius42 - 43
- I would we had a thousand Roman dames
- At such a bay, by turn to serve our lust.
- A charitable wish, and full of love.
- Here lacks but your mother for to say amen.
- And that would she for twenty thousand more.
Demetrius47 - 48
- Come let us go and pray to all the gods
- For our beloved mother in her pains.
- Pray to the devils, the gods have given us over.
- Trumpets sound within.
- Why do the Emperor’s trumpets flourish thus?
- Belike for joy the Emperor hath a son.
- Soft, who comes here?
- Enter Nurse with a blackamoor child.
Nurse53 - 54
- Good morrow, lords.
- O, tell me, did you see Aaron the Moor?
Aaron55 - 56
- Well, more or less, or ne’er a whit at all,
- Here Aaron is, and what with Aaron now?
Nurse57 - 58
- O gentle Aaron, we are all undone!
- Now help, or woe betide thee evermore!
Aaron59 - 60
- Why, what a caterwauling dost thou keep!
- What dost thou wrap and fumble in thy arms?
Nurse61 - 63
- O, that which I would hide from heaven’s eye,
- Our Empress’ shame, and stately Rome’s disgrace!
- She is delivered, lords, she is delivered.
- To whom?
- I mean she is brought a-bed.
- Well, God give her good rest! What hath he sent her?
- A devil.
- Why, then she is the devil’s dam: a joyful issue.
Nurse69 - 73
- A joyless, dismal, black, and sorrowful issue!
- Here is the babe, as loathsome as a toad
- Amongst the fair-fac’d breeders of our clime.
- The Empress sends it thee, thy stamp, thy seal,
- And bids thee christen it with thy dagger’s point.
Aaron74 - 75
- ’Zounds, ye whore, is black so base a hue?
- Sweet blowse, you are a beauteous blossom sure.
- Villain, what hast thou done?
- That which thou canst not undo.
- Thou hast undone our mother.
- Villain, I have done thy mother.
Demetrius80 - 82
- And therein, hellish dog, thou hast undone her.
- Woe to her chance, and damn’d her loathed choice!
- Accurs’d the offspring of so foul a fiend!
- It shall not live.
- It shall not die.
- Aaron, it must, the mother wills it so.
Aaron86 - 87
- What, must it, nurse? Then let no man but I
- Do execution on my flesh and blood.
Demetrius88 - 89
- I’ll broach the tadpole on my rapier’s point.
- Nurse, give it me, my sword shall soon dispatch it.
Aaron90 - 108
- Sooner this sword shall plough thy bowels up.
- Takes the child from the Nurse, and draws.
- Stay, murderous villains, will you kill your brother?
- Now, by the burning tapers of the sky,
- That shone so brightly when this boy was got,
- He dies upon my scimitar’s sharp point,
- That touches this my first-born son and heir!
- I tell you, younglings, not Enceladus,
- With all his threat’ning band of Typhon’s brood,
- Nor great Alcides, nor the god of war,
- Shall seize this prey out of his father’s hands.
- What, what, ye sanguine, shallow-hearted boys!
- Ye white-lim’d walls! Ye alehouse painted signs!
- Coal-black is better than another hue,
- In that it scorns to bear another hue;
- For all the water in the ocean
- Can never turn the swan’s black legs to white,
- Although she lave them hourly in the flood.
- Tell the Empress from me, I am of age
- To keep mine own, excuse it how she can.
- Wilt thou betray thy noble mistress thus?
Aaron110 - 114
- My mistress is my mistress, this myself,
- The vigor and the picture of my youth:
- This before all the world do I prefer,
- This maugre all the world will I keep safe,
- Or some of you shall smoke for it in Rome.
- By this our mother is forever sham’d.
- Rome will despise her for this foul escape.
- The Emperor in his rage will doom her death.
- I blush to think upon this ignomy.
Aaron119 - 130
- Why, there’s the privilege your beauty bears.
- Fie, treacherous hue, that will betray with blushing
- The close enacts and counsels of thy heart!
- Here’s a young lad fram’d of another leer:
- Look how the black slave smiles upon the father,
- As who should say, “Old lad, I am thine own.”
- He is your brother, lords, sensibly fed
- Of that self blood that first gave life to you,
- And from your womb where you imprisoned were
- He is enfranchised and come to light.
- Nay, he is your brother by the surer side,
- Although my seal be stamped in his face.
- Aaron, what shall I say unto the Empress?
Demetrius132 - 134
- Advise thee, Aaron, what is to be done,
- And we will all subscribe to thy advice:
- Save thou the child, so we may all be safe.
Aaron135 - 137
- Then sit we down and let us all consult.
- My son and I will have the wind of you;
- Keep there. Now talk at pleasure of your safety.
- They sit.
- How many women saw this child of his?
Aaron139 - 143
- Why, so, brave lords, when we join in league
- I am a lamb, but if you brave the Moor,
- The chafed boar, the mountain lioness,
- The ocean swells not so as Aaron storms.
- But say again, how many saw the child?
Nurse144 - 145
- Cornelia the midwife, and myself,
- And no one else but the delivered Empress.
Aaron146 - 149
- The Emperess, the midwife, and yourself.
- Two may keep counsel when the third’s away.
- Go to the Empress, tell her this I said.
- He kills her.
- Weeke, weeke!—so cries a pig prepared to the spit.
- What mean’st thou, Aaron? Wherefore didst thou this?
Aaron151 - 171
- O Lord, sir, ’tis a deed of policy.
- Shall she live to betray this guilt of ours,
- A long-tongu’d babbling gossip? No, lords, no.
- And now be it known to you my full intent.
- Not far, one Muliteus my countryman
- His wife but yesternight was brought to bed;
- His child is like to her, fair as you are.
- Go pack with him, and give the mother gold,
- And tell them both the circumstance of all,
- And how by this their child shall be advanc’d,
- And be received for the Emperor’s heir,
- And substituted in the place of mine,
- To calm this tempest whirling in the court;
- And let the Emperor dandle him for his own.
- Hark ye, lords, you see I have given her physic,
- Pointing to the Nurse.
- And you must needs bestow her funeral;
- The fields are near, and you are gallant grooms.
- This done, see that you take no longer days,
- But send the midwife presently to me.
- The midwife and the nurse well made away,
- Then let the ladies tattle what they please.
Chiron172 - 173
- Aaron, I see thou wilt not trust the air
- With secrets.
Demetrius174 - 175
- For this care of Tamora,
- Herself and hers are highly bound to thee.
- Exeunt Demetrius and Chiron, bearing off the Nurse’s body.
Aaron176 - 184
- Now to the Goths, as swift as swallow flies,
- There to dispose this treasure in mine arms,
- And secretly to greet the Empress’ friends.
- Come on, you thick-lipp’d slave, I’ll bear you hence,
- For it is you that puts us to our shifts.
- I’ll make you feed on berries and on roots,
- And feed on curds and whey, and suck the goat,
- And cabin in a cave, and bring you up
- To be a warrior and command a camp.