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I'll grace thee with that robbery, thy stol’n name
Hear'st thou, Mars ?
Ha! Auf. No more.
Cor. Measureless har, thou hast made my heart Too great for what contains it. Boy! O slave! Pardon me, lords, 't is the first time that ever I was forc'd to scold. Your judgments, my grave lords, Must give this cur the lie: and his own notion (Who wears my stripes impress’d upon him, that Must bear my beating to his grave) shall join To thrust the lie unto him. 1 Lord.
Peace both, and hear me speak.
Why, noble lords,
All Con. Let him die for it.
2 Lord. Peace, ho !—no outrage :-peace !
O! that I had him,
Insolent villain ! All Con. Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill him ! [AUFIDIUS and the Conspirators draw, and kill Co
RIOLANUS, who falls : AUFIDIUS stands on him. Lords.
Hold, hold, hold, hold ! Auf. My noble masters, hear me speak. 1 Lord.
O Tullus ! 2 Lord. Thou hast done a deed whereat valour will
weep. 3 Lord. *Tread not upon him.-Masters all, be
quiet.Put up your swords.
Auf. My lords, when you shall know (as in this rage,
Bear from hence his body,
His own impatience
My rage is gone,
A dead March”, while they pass round the Stage.
1 The rest of this stage direction is not in f. e.
The most lamentable Romaine Tragedie of Titus Andronicus. As it hath sundry times beene playde by the Right Honourable the Earle of Pembrooke, the Earle of Darbie, the Earle of Sussex, and the Lorde Chamberlaine theyr Sernants. At London, Printed by I. R. for Edward White, and are to bee solde a: his shoppe, at the little North doore of Paules, at the signe
the Gun. 1600. 4to. 40 leaves. The most lamentable Tragedie of Titus Andronicus. As it hath sundry times becne plaide by the Kings Maiesties Seruants. London, Printed for Eedward White, and are to be solde at his shoppe, nere the little North dore of Pauls, at the signe of the Gun. 1611. 4to. 40 leaves.
In the folio of 1623, “ The Lamentable Tragedy of Titus Andronicus” occupies twenty-two pages, in the division of “ Tragedies," viz. from p. 31 to p. 52 inclusive. The three later folios, of course, insert it in the same part of the volume.
WE feel no hesitation in assigning “Titus Andronicus” to Shakespeare. Whether he may lay claim to it as the author of the entire tragedy, or only in a qualified sense, as having made additions to, and improvements in it, is a different and a more difficult question.
We find it given to him by his contemporary, Francis Meres, in his Palludis Tamia, 1598, where he mentions “ Titus Andronicus” in immediate connection with “Richard II.,'' “Richard III.," “Henry IV.," " King John,” and “Romeo and Juliet." It was also inserted in the folio of 1623 by Shakespeare's fellow-actors, Heminge and Condell, and they place it between “ Coriolanus” and “Romeo and Juliet." Had it not been by our great dramatist, Meres, who was well acquainted with the literature of his time, would not have attributed it to him; and the player-editors, who had been Shakespeare's “ fellows and friends," and were men of character and experience, would not have included it in their volume. These two facts are, in our view, sufficienta.
It was, undoubtedly, one of his earliest, if not his very earliest dramatic production. We are not to suppose that at the time he first joined a theatrical company in London, when he might not be more than twenty-two or twenty-three years old, his style was as formed and as matured as it afterwards became : all are aware that there is a most marked distinction between his mode of composition early and late in life; as exhibited, for instance, in “Love's Labour's Lost,” and in “The Winter's Tale ;” and we apprehend that “ Titus Andronicus" belongs to a period even anterior to the former. Supposing • Titus Andronicus” to have been written about 1588, we are to recollect that our dramatic poets were then only beginning to throw off the shackles of rhyme, and their versification partook of the weight and monotony which were the usual accompaniments of couplets. “Titus Andronicus” is to be read under this impression, and many passages will then be found in it which, we think, are remarkable indications of skill and
1 We consider Ravenscroft's testimony, in his alteration of " Titus Andronicus," (acted about 1073, and printed nine years afterwards) of
very little value : in his suppressed Prologue he asserted it to be the unquestionable work of Shakespeare, while in his preface to the printed copy in 1687, he mentions it as a stage-tradition, that Shakespeare only, gavę some master-touches to one or two of the principal characters."