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And suffer not dishonour to approach
Th’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.
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 :
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 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 !
Bass. 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
Commit my cause in balance to be weigh'd.
[Exeunt Followers of BASSTANUS. Sat. Friends, that have been thus forward in my right,
I thank you all, and here dismiss
And to the love and favour of my country
Commit myself, my person, and the cause.
[Exeunt 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.
Bass. Tribunes, and me, a poor competitor.
[Flourish. They go up into the Senate-house.
Enter a Captain, and others.
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.
[Sound drums and trumpets, and then enter two of Titus' Sons. After them two
Men bearing a coffin covered with black: then two other Sons. After them Titus ANDRONICUS; and then Tamora, the queen of Goths, and her two Sons, CHIRON and DEMETRIUS, with Aaron the Moor, and others, as many as can
be. They set down the coffin, and Titus speaks. Tit. Hail, Rome, victorious in thy mourning weeds !
Lo, as the bark that hath discharg'd her 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 sheath my
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 of mine hast thou in store,
That thou wilt never render to me more !
Loc. 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 a prison of their bones ;
That so the shadows be not unappeas'd,
Nor we disturb’d with prodigies on earth.
Tit. I give him you, the noblest that survives,
The eldest son of this b distressed queen
Tam. Stay, Roman brethren, gracious conqueror,
Victorius 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 thed 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.
Luo. Away with him, and make a fire straight;
a Earthy, in both quartos. The folio, earthly.
This, in the folio. The quarto, his. Patient-as a verb.
The, in the folio. The quarto, their.
And with our swords, upon a pile of wood,
Let 's hew his limbs till they be clean consum'd.
[Exeunt Titus' Sons with ALARBUS.
Tam. O cruel, irreligious piety!
CH. Was ever Scythia half so barbarous ?
Demet. Oppose not a Scythia to ambitious Rome.
Alarbus goes to rest, and we survive
To tremble under Titus' threat'ning look.
Then, madam, stand resolv'd; but hope withal,
The self-same gods that arm'd the queen of Troy
With opportunity of sharp revenge
Upon the Thracian tyrant in his tent,
May favour 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.
Luc. See, lord and father, how we have perform'd
Our Roman rites: Alarbus' limbs are lopp'd,
And entrails feed the sacrificing fire,
Whose smoke, like incense, doth perfume the sky.
Remaineth nought, but to inter our brethren,
And with loud 'larums welcome them to Rome.
Tit. Let it be so, and let Andronicus
Make this his latest farewell to their souls.
[Flourish. Sound trumpets, and they lay the coffin in the tomb. In peace
and honour 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 damned grudges; here are no storms,
No noise, but silence and eternal sleep.
In peace and honour rest you here, my sons.
Lav. In peace and honour 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 the earth for thy return to Rome.
O bless me here with thy victorious hand,
Whose fortunes Rome's best citizens applaud.
Tit. Kind Rome, thou hast thus lovingly reserv'd
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, SATURNINUS, BASSIANUS, and others. Marc. Long live lord Titus, my
Gracious triumpher in the eyes of Rome!
Trt. Thanks, gentle tribune, noble brother Marcus.
Marc. And welcome, nephews, from successful wars,
You that survive, and you that sleep in fame :
Fair lords, your fortunes are alike in alla,
That in your country's service drew your swords.
But safer triumph is this funeral pomp,
That bath aspir'd to Solon's happiness,
And triumphs over chance in honour's bed.
Titus Andronicus, the people of Rome,
Whose friend in justice thou hast ever been,
Send thee by me, their tribune and their trust,
This palliament of white and spotless hue,
And name thee in election for the empire,
With these our late deceased emperor's sons:
Be candidatus then, and put it on,
And help to set a head on headless Rome.
TIT. A better head her glorious body fits,
Than his that shakes for age and feebleness.
What! should I don this robe, and trouble you?
Be chosen with proclamations to-day,
To-morrow yield up rule, resign my life,
And set abroad new business for
Rome, I have been thy soldier forty years,
And led my country's strength successfully,
And buried one-and-twenty valiant sons;
Knighted in field, slain manfully in arms,
In right and service of their noble country;
Give me a staff of honour for mine age,
But not a sceptre to control the world!
Upright he held it, lords, that held it last.
MARC. Titus, thou shalt obtain and ask the empery.
Sat. Proud and ambitious tribune, canst thou tell?
Tit. Patience, prince Saturninus.
Romans, do me right.
Patricians, draw your swords, and sheath them not
Till Saturninus be Rome's emperor:
. The folio has," all alike in all."