Act V, Scene 1
Plains near Rome.
- Flourish. Enter Lucius with an army of Goths, with Drums and
Lucius1 - 8
- Approved warriors, and my faithful friends,
- I have received letters from great Rome
- Which signifies what hate they bear their emperor,
- And how desirous of our sight they are.
- Therefore, great lords, be as your titles witness,
- Imperious, and impatient of your wrongs,
- And wherein Rome hath done you any scath,
- Let him make treble satisfaction.
First Goth9 - 16
- Brave slip, sprung from the great Andronicus,
- Whose name was once our terror, now our comfort,
- Whose high exploits and honorable deeds
- Ingrateful Rome requites with foul contempt,
- Be bold in us, we’ll follow where thou lead’st,
- Like stinging bees in hottest summer’s day,
- Led by their master to the flow’red fields,
- And be adveng’d on cursed Tamora.
- And as he saith, so say we all with him.
Lucius18 - 19
- I humbly thank him, and I thank you all.
- But who comes here, led by a lusty Goth?
- Enter a Goth leading of Aaron with his child in his arms.
Second Goth20 - 39
- Renowmed Lucius, from our troops I stray’d
- To gaze upon a ruinous monastery,
- And as I earnestly did fix mine eye
- Upon the wasted building, suddenly
- I heard a child cry underneath a wall.
- I made unto the noise, when soon I heard
- The crying babe controll’d with this discourse:
- “Peace, tawny slave, half me and half thy dame.
- Did not thy hue bewray whose brat thou art,
- Had nature lent thee but thy mother’s look,
- Villain, thou mightst have been an emperor.
- But where the bull and cow are both milk-white,
- They never do beget a coal-black calf.
- Peace, villain, peace!”—even thus he rates the babe—
- “For I must bear thee to a trusty Goth,
- Who, when he knows thou art the Empress’ babe,
- Will hold thee dearly for thy mother’s sake.”
- With this, my weapon drawn, I rush’d upon him,
- Surpris’d him suddenly, and brought him hither
- To use as you think needful of the man.
Lucius40 - 48
- O worthy Goth, this is the incarnate devil
- That robb’d Andronicus of his good hand;
- This is the pearl that pleas’d your empress’ eye,
- And here’s the base fruit of her burning lust.
- Say, wall-ey’d slave, whither wouldst thou convey
- This growing image of thy fiend-like face?
- Why dost not speak? What, deaf? Not a word?
- A halter, soldiers! Hang him on this tree,
- And by his side his fruit of bastardy.
- Touch not the boy, he is of royal blood.
Lucius50 - 53
- Too like the sire forever being good.
- First hang the child, that he may see it sprawl—
- A sight to vex the father’s soul withal.
- Get me a ladder.
- A ladder brought, which Aaron is made to ascend.
Aaron54 - 59
- Lucius, save the child
- And bear it from me to the Emperess.
- If thou do this, I’ll show thee wondrous things,
- That highly may advantage thee to hear.
- If thou wilt not, befall what may befall,
- I’ll speak no more but “Vengeance rot you all!”
Lucius60 - 61
- Say on, and if it please me which thou speak’st,
- Thy child shall live, and I will see it nourish’d.
Aaron62 - 69
- And if it please thee? Why, assure thee, Lucius,
- ’Twill vex thy soul to hear what I shall speak:
- For I must talk of murders, rapes, and massacres,
- Acts of black night, abominable deeds,
- Complots of mischief, treason, villainies,
- Ruthful to hear, yet piteously perform’d.
- And this shall all be buried in my death,
- Unless thou swear to me my child shall live.
- Tell on thy mind, I say thy child shall live.
- Swear that he shall, and then I will begin.
Lucius72 - 73
- Who should I swear by? Thou believest no god:
- That granted, how canst thou believe an oath?
Aaron74 - 86
- What if I do not? As indeed I do not,
- Yet for I know thou art religious,
- And hast a thing within thee called conscience,
- With twenty popish tricks and ceremonies,
- Which I have seen thee careful to observe,
- Therefore I urge thy oath; for that I know
- An idiot holds his bauble for a god,
- And keeps the oath which by that god he swears,
- To that I’ll urge him: therefore thou shalt vow
- By that same god, what god soe’er it be
- That thou adorest and hast in reverence,
- To save my boy, to nourish and bring him up,
- Or else I will discover nought to thee.
- Even by my God I swear to thee I will.
- First know thou, I begot him on the Empress.
- O most insatiate and luxurious woman!
Aaron90 - 94
- Tut, Lucius, this was but a deed of charity
- To that which thou shalt hear of me anon.
- ’Twas her two sons that murdered Bassianus;
- They cut thy sister’s tongue, and ravish’d her,
- And cut her hands, and trimm’d her as thou sawest.
- O detestable villain, call’st thou that trimming?
Aaron96 - 97
- Why, she was wash’d, and cut, and trimm’d, and ’twas
- Trim sport for them which had the doing of it.
- O barbarous, beastly villains like thyself!
Aaron99 - 121
- Indeed I was their tutor to instruct them.
- That codding spirit had they from their mother,
- As sure a card as ever won the set;
- That bloody mind I think they learn’d of me,
- As true a dog as ever fought at head.
- Well, let my deeds be witness of my worth:
- I train’d thy brethren to that guileful hole,
- Where the dead corpse of Bassianus lay;
- I wrote the letter that thy father found,
- And hid the gold within that letter mentioned,
- Confederate with the Queen and her two sons;
- And what not done, that thou hast cause to rue,
- Wherein I had no stroke of mischief in it?
- I play’d the cheater for thy father’s hand,
- And when I had it, drew myself apart,
- And almost broke my heart with extreme laughter.
- I pried me through the crevice of a wall,
- When, for his hand, he had his two sons’ heads,
- Beheld his tears, and laugh’d so heartily
- That both mine eyes were rainy like to his;
- And when I told the Empress of this sport,
- She sounded almost at my pleasing tale,
- And for my tidings gave me twenty kisses.
- What, canst thou say all this and never blush?
- Ay, like a black dog, as the saying is.
- Are thou not sorry for these heinous deeds?
Aaron125 - 145
- Ay, that I had not done a thousand more.
- Even now I curse the day—and yet I think
- Few come within the compass of my curse—
- Wherein I did not some notorious ill:
- As kill a man, or else devise his death,
- Ravish a maid, or plot the way to do it,
- Accuse some innocent, and forswear myself,
- Set deadly enmity between two friends,
- Make poor men’s cattle break their necks,
- Set fire on barns and haystalks in the night,
- And bid the owners quench them with their tears.
- Oft have I digg’d up dead men from their graves,
- And set them upright at their dear friends’ door,
- Even when their sorrows almost was forgot,
- And on their skins, as on the bark of trees,
- Have with my knife carved in Roman letters,
- “Let not your sorrow die, though I am dead.”
- But I have done a thousand dreadful things,
- As willingly as one would kill a fly,
- And nothing grieves me heartily indeed,
- But that I cannot do ten thousand more.
Lucius146 - 147
- Bring down the devil, for he must not die
- So sweet a death as hanging presently.
Aaron148 - 151
- If there be devils, would I were a devil,
- To live and burn in everlasting fire,
- So I might have your company in hell,
- But to torment you with my bitter tongue!
- Sirs, stop his mouth, and let him speak no more.
- Enter Aemilius.
Third Goth153 - 154
- My lord, there is a messenger from Rome
- Desires to be admitted to your presence.
Lucius155 - 156
- Let him come near.
- Welcome, Aemilius, what’s the news from Rome?
Aemilius157 - 162
- Lord Lucius, and you princes of the Goths,
- The Roman Emperor greets you all by me,
- And for he understands you are in arms,
- He craves a parley at your father’s house,
- Willing you to demand your hostages,
- And they shall be immediately delivered.
- What says our general?
Lucius164 - 166
- Aemilius, let the Emperor give his pledges
- Unto my father and my uncle Marcus,
- And we will come. March away.
- Flourish. Exeunt.