TITUS ANDRONICUS: ACT 1Scene 1Flourish. l Enter the Tribunes (including Marcus Andronicus) and Senators aloft. And then enter, Saturninus and his followers at one door, and Bassianus and his followers with Drums, and Trumpets.Saturninus
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 firstborn son that was the last
That wore the imperial diadem of Rome.
Then let my father's honors live in me,
Nor wrong mine age with this indignity.Bassianus
Romans, friends, followers, favorers of my right,
If ever Bassianus, Caesar's son,
Were gracious in the eyes of royal Rome,
Keep, then, this passage to the Capitol,
And suffer not dishonor to approach
The imperial seat, to virtue consecrate,
To justice, continence, and nobility;
But let desert in pure election shine,
And, Romans, fight for freedom in your choice.Marcus, (stepping forward and holding up the crown)
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, surnamèd Pius
For many good and great deserts to Rome.
A 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,
Hath yoked a nation strong, trained up in arms.
Ten years are spent since first he undertook
This cause of Rome, and chastisèd with arms
Our enemies' pride. Five times he hath returned
Bleeding to Rome, bearing his valiant sons
In coffins from the field.
And now at last, laden with honor's spoils,
Returns the good Andronicus to Rome,
Renownèd Titus flourishing in arms.
Let us entreat, by honor of his name
Whom worthily you would have now succeed,
And in the Capitol and Senate's right,
Whom you pretend to honor and adore,
That you withdraw you and abate your strength,
Dismiss your followers and, as suitors should,
Plead your deserts in peace and humbleness.Saturninus
How fair the tribune speaks to calm my thoughts!Bassianus
Marcus Andronicus, so I do affy
In thy uprightness and integrity,
And so I love and honor 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 favor
Commit my cause in balance to be weighed.Bassianus' Soldiers exit.Saturninus
Friends that have been thus forward in my right,
I thank you all and here dismiss you all,
And to the love and favor of my country
Commit myself, my person, and the cause.Saturninus' Soldiers exit.
Rome, be as just and gracious unto me
As I am confident and kind to thee.
Open the gates and let me in.Bassianus
Tribunes, and me, a poor competitor.Flourish.l They go up into the Senate House. The Tribunes and Senators exit from the upper stage.Enter a Captain.Captain
Romans, make way! The good Andronicus,
Patron of virtue, Rome's best champion,
Successful in the battles that he fights,
With honor and with fortune ièd with his sword
And brought to yoke the enemies of Rome.Sound drums and trumpets, and then enter two of Titus' sons () and then two men bearing a coffin covered with black, then two other sons (), then Titus Andronicus, and then Tamora the Queen of Goths and her sons Chiron and Demetrius, with Aaron the Moor, and others as many as can be, then set down the coffin, and Titus speaks.Titus
Hail Rome, victorious in thy mourning weeds!
Lo, as the bark that hath discharged his fraught
Returns with precious lading to the bay
From whence at first she weighed her anchorage,
Cometh Andronicus, bound with laurel boughs,
To resalute 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.They open the tomb.
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 hast thou of mine in store
That thou wilt never render to me more?Lucius
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 earthy prison of their bones,
That so the shadows be not unappeased
Nor we disturbed with prodigies on earth.Titus
I give him you, the noblest that survives,
The eldest son of this distressèd queen.Tamora
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 slaughtered 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!She kneels.
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.Titus
Patient yourself, madam, and pardon me.
These are their brethren whom your Goths beheld
Alive and dead, and for their brethren slain
Religiously they ask a sacrifice.
To this your son is marked, and die he must,
T' appease their groaning shadows that are gone.Lucius
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 consumed.Exit Titus' sons with Alarbus.Tamora, rising and speaking aside to her sons
O cruel, irreligious piety!Chiron, aside to Tamora and Demetrius<
Was never Scythia half so barbarous!Demetrius, aside to Tamora and Chiron
Oppose not Scythia to ambitious Rome!
Alarbus goes to rest and we survive
To tremble under Titus' threat'ning look.
Then, madam, stand resolved, but hope withal
The selfsame gods that armed the Queen of Troy
With opportunity of sharp revenge
Upon the Thracian tyrant in his tent
May favor Tamora the Queen of Goths
(When Goths were Goths, and Tamora was queen)
To quit the bloody wrongs upon her foes.Enter the sons of Andronicus again
See, lord and father, how we have performed
Our Roman rites. Alarbus' limbs are lopped,
And entrails feed the sacrificing fire,
Whose smoke like incense doth perfume the sky.
Remaineth naught but to inter our brethren,
And with loud larums welcome them to Rome.
Let it be so. And let Andronicus
Make this his latest farewell to their souls.
Sound trumpets, and lay the coffin in the tomb.
In peace and honor rest you here, my sons,
Rome's readiest champions, repose you here in rest,
Secure from worldly chances and mishaps.
Here lurks no treason, here no envy swells,
Here grow no damnèd drugs; here are no storms,
No noise, but silence and eternal sleep.
In peace and honor rest you here, my sons.
In peace and honor live Lord Titus long;
My noble lord and father, live in fame.
Lo, at this tomb my tributary tears
I render for my brethren's obsequies,
And at thy feet I kneel, with tears of joy
Shed on this earth for thy return to Rome.
O bless me here with thy victorious hand,
Whose fortunes Rome's best citizens applaud.
Kind Rome, that hast thus lovingly reserved
The cordial of mine age to glad my heart! --
Lavinia, live, outlive thy father's days
And fame's eternal date, for virtue's praise.
Enter Marcus Andronicus, carrying a white robe.
Enter aloft Saturninus, Bassianus, Tribunes, Senators, and Guards.
Long live Lord Titus, my belovèd brother,
Gracious triumpher in the eyes of ...