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TITUS ANDRONICUS

ACT I.

SCENE I. Rome. Before the Capitol.

The Tomb of the ANDRONICI appearing ; the Tribunes and Senators

aloft. Enter, below, from one side, SATURNINUS and his Followers; and, from the other side, BASSIANUS and his Followers; with drums and colours. Sat. Noble patricians, patrons of my right, Defend the justice of my cause with arms; And, countrymen, my loving followers, Plead my successive title with your swords : I am his first-born son, that was the last That wore th' imperial diadem of Rome; Then let my father's honours live in me, Nor wrong mine age with this indignity.

Bas. Romans,—friends, followers, favourers of my right,If ever Bassianus, Cæsar's son, Were gracious in the eyes of royal Rome, Keep, then, this passage to the Capitol ; And suffer not dishonour to approach Th’ imperial seat, to virtue consecrate, To justice, continence, () and nobility :

1 But let desert in pure election shine ; And, Romans, fight for freedom in your choice.

() continence,] i.e., according to Mr. Staunton, “temperance.”—Mr. Collier's Ms. Corrector substitutes “conscience."

Enter MARCUS ANDRONICUS, aloft, with the crown.

Marc. Princes,—that strive by factions and by friends
Ambitiously for rule and empery,-
Know that the people of Rome, for whom we stand
A special party, have, by common voice,
In election for the Roman empery,
Chosen Andronicus, surnamed Pius
For many good and great deserts to Rome:
I nobler man, a braver warrior,
Lives not this day within the city walls:
He by the senate is accited home
From weary wars against the barbarous Goths;
That, with his sons, a terror to our foes,
llath yok'd a nation strong, train'd up in arms,
Ten years are spent since first he undertook
This cause of Rome, and chastised with arms
Our enemies' pride : five times he hath return'd
Bleeding to Rome, bearing his valiant sons
In coffins from the field;
And now at last, laden with honour's spoils,
Returns the good Andronicus to Rome,
Renowned Titus, flourishing in arms.
Let us entreat, by honour of his name,
Whom worthily you would have now succeed,
And in the Capitol and senate's right,
Whom you pretend to honour and adore,-
That you withdraw you, and abate your strength;
Dismiss your followers, and, as suitors should,
Plead your deserts in peace and humbleness.

Sat. How fair the tribune speaks to calm my thoughts !

Bas. Marcus Andronicus, so I do affy
In thy uprightness and integrity,
And so I love and honour thee and thine,
Thy noble brother Titus and his sons,
And her to whom my thoughts are humbled all,
Gracious Lavinia, Rome's rich ornament,
That I will here dismiss my loving friends ;
And to my fortunes and the people's favour

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Commit my cause in balance to be weigh’d.

[Exeunt the Followers of Bassianus. Sat. Friends, that have been thus forward in my right, I thank you all, and here dismiss you all; And to the love and favour of my country Commit myself, my person, and the cause.

[Exeunt the Followers of Saturninus. Rome, be as just and gracious unto me As I am confident and kind to thee. Open the gates, and let me in.(2) Bas. Tribunes, and me, a poor competitor.

[Flourish. Saturninus and Bassianus go up into

the Capitol.

Enter a Captain.
Cap. Romans, make way: the good Andronicus,
Patron of virtue, Rome's best champion,
Successful in the battles that he fights,
With honour and with fortune is return'd
From where he circumscribed with his sword,
And brought to yoke, the enemies of Rome.

Drums and trumpets sounded. Enter Martius and Mutius; after

them, two Men bearing a coffin covered with black; then LUCIUS and Quintus. After them, Titus ANDRONICUS; and then TAMORA, with ALARBUS, DEMETRIUS, CHIRON, Aaron, and other Goths, prisoners ; Soldiers and People following.

The Bearers set down the coffin, and Titus speaks. Tit. Hail, Rome, victorious in my (3) mourning weeds !

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(2) Open the gates, and let me in.

Bas. Tribunes, and me, a poor competitor. Mr. Collier's Ms. Corrector substitutes “Open the brazen gates," &c.; Mr. Collier observing that“ the epithet was, doubtless, accidentally omitted.” But, if any thing has dropped out, it was much more likely (on account of the next speech) to have been what Capell inserts,—“ Open the gates, tribunes, and let me in."

(3) my] The old eds. have “thy.”—“Mr. Warburton and I concurred to suspect that the poet wrote in my mourning weeds,' i.e. Titus would say, 'Thou, Rome, art victorious, though I am a mourner for those sons which I have lost in obtaining that victory.'” THEOBALD.—“Read my with Warburton. This seems warranted by the whole tenor of the

Lo, as the bark that hath discharg'd her(4) fraught
Returns with precious lading to the bay
From whence at first she weigh'd her anchorage,
Cometh Andronicus, bound with laurel-boughs,
To re-salute his country with his tears,—
Tears of true joy for his return to Rome.-
Thou great defender of this Capitol,
Stand gracious to the rites that we intend !
Romans, of five-and-twenty valiant sons,
Half of the number that King Priam had,
Behold the poor remains, alive and dead !
These that survive let Rome reward with love;
These that I bring unto their latest home,
With burial amongst their ancestors :
Here Goths have given me leave to sheathe my sword.
Titus, unkind, and careless of thine own,
Why suffer’st thou thy sons, unburied yet,
To hover on the dreadful shore of Styx ?-
Make way to lay them by their brethren. -

[The tomb is opened.
There greet in silence, as the dead are wont,
And sleep in peace, slain in your country's wars !
O sacred receptacle of my joys,
Sweet cell of virtue and nobility,
How many sons of mine last thou in store,
That thou wilt never render to me more !

Luc. Give us the proudest prisoner of the Goths,
That we may hew his limbs, and on a pile
Ad manes fratrum sacrifice his flesh,
Before this earthly prison of their bones;
That so the shadows be not unappeas’u, (5)

speech.” W. N. LETTSOM,—with whom I quite agree, though Johnson says, “we inay suppose the Romans, in a grateful ceremony, meeting the dead sons of Andronicus with mournful habits ;” and Steevens,

or that they were in mourning for their emperor, who was just dead (which note Steevens has partly borrowed from Capell's strange defence of “thy,” viz. that “. Rome was in mourning reeds' at this time, FIGURATIVELY SPEAKING, for an emperor whom she had just bury'd”).

(1) her] So the fourth folio.—The earlier eds. have “his."

© That so the shadows be not unappeas'd] “Not the shadows of the slaiu Andronici, but the shadows in a general sense, umbra, Manes, ad

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Nor we disturb'd with prodigies on earth.

Tit. I give him you,—the noblest that survives,
The eldest son of this distressed queen.

Tam. Stay, Roman brethren Gracious conqueror,
Victorious Titus, rue the tears I shed,
A mother's tears in passion for her son:
And if thy sons were ever dear to thee,
O, think my son to be as dear to me!
Sufficeth not, that we are brought to Rome,
To beautify thy triumphs and return,
Captive to thee and to thy Roman yoke;
But must my sons be slaughter'd in the streets,
For valiant doings in their country's cause?
O, if to fight for king and commonweal
Were piety in thine, it is in these.
Andronicus, stain not thy tomb with blood :
Wilt thou draw near the nature of the gods?
Draw near them, then, in being merciful :
Sweet mercy is nobility's true badge:
Thrice-noble Titus, spare my first-born son.

Tit. Patient yourself, madam, and pardon me.
These are their brethren, whom you Goths beheld
Alive and dead; and for their brethren slain
Religiously they ask a sacrifice:
To this your son is mark'd; and die he must,
T appease their groaning shadows that are gone.

Luc. Away with him! and make a fire straight;
And with our swords, upon a pile of wood,
Let's hew his limbs till they be clean consum'd.

[Exeunt Lucius, Quintus, Martius, and Mutius,

with Alarbus. Tam. O cruel, irreligious piety! Chi. Was ever Scythia half so barbarous ?

xátw, the powers beneath.” Walker's Crit. Exam., &c., vol. iii. p. 215.Here Walker writes rather hastily: “the shadows” of the dead Andronici are certainly meant; and most probably Mr. Collier's Ms. Corrector is right in reading “ their shadows :"--compare, in the third speech after this,

“T' appease their groaning shadows that are gone."

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