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(WRITTEN ABOUT 1588-90.)


The great majority of English critics either reject this play altogether, upon the ground that in style and subject it is unlike any other work of Shakespeare, or accept as true the tradition of Ravenscroft, who altered the play in 1687, that "it was not his [Shakespeare's]," but that he only gave some master-touches to one or two of the principal parts or characters." Says one critic Shakespeare's tragedy is never bloodily sensual;. this play is a perfect slaughter-house, and the blood makes appeal to all the senses. It reeks blood, it smells of blood, we almost feel


that we have handled blood-it is so gross.' Besides the tradition of Ravenscroft, the external evidence with reference to the authorship of Titus is the following: (1) It is mentioned by Meres (1598) among other undoubted plays of Shakespeare. (2) It is printed in the First Folio. A play called Titus and Vespasian was acted in 1592, and though itself lost, a translation into German, acted early in the 17th century by English comedians in Germany, remains in existence. It is not the play attributed to Shakespeare. Henslowe also mentions a Titus and Andronicus as a new play, acted January 23, 1594: it is doubtful whether this was the Shakespearean play. If it be, and it was then written, the tragedy is certainly not by Shakespeare. It is impossible to believe that in 1394, when Shakespeare had written his Venus and Adonis and his Lucrece, he could have dealt so coarsely with details of cutrage and unnatural cruelty as does the author of this tragedy. Jonson, in the introduction to Bartholomew Fair (1614), speaks of Titus Andronicus, with Jeronimo, as belonging to "twenty-five or thirty years" previously: this would carry back the date of the play (if it be of this Titus Andronicus that Jonson speaks) to 1589, or earlier. That it was a play of that period, and was re-touched by Shakespeare, we may accept as the opinion best supported by internal evidence and by the weight of critical authority. The importance of the tragedy lies in the fact that, if Shakespeare wrote it, we find him as a young man carried away by the influence of a storm and stress" movement similar to that which urged Schiller to write his Robbers. Titus Andronicus belongs essentially to the pre-Shakespearean group of bloody tragedies, of which Kyd's Spanish Tragedy is the most conspicuous example. If it is of Shakespearean authorship, it may be regarded as representing the years of crude and violent youth before he had found his true self; his second tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, as representing the years of transition; and Hamlet, the period of maturity and adult power.

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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 drum and colors.

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 the imperial diadem of Rome; Then let my father's honors live in me, Nor wrong mine age with this indignity. Bas. Romans, friends, followers, favorers 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 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.

Enter MARCUS ANDRONICUS, aloft, with the

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Ten years are spent since first he undertook
This cause of Rome and chastised with arms
Our enemies' pride: five times he hath re-

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,
Renowned 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


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 honor thee and thine,
Thy noble brother Titus and his sons,
And her to whom my thoughts are humbled

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 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 favor 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. 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 honor 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 thy mourning


70 Lo, as the bark, that hath discharged her fraught,

Returns with precious lading to the bay
From whence at first she weigh'd her anchor-

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, 80
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,90 And sleep in peace,slain in your country's wars!

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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

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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, To appease their groaning shadows that are gone. [straight;

Luc. Away with him! and make a fire And with our swords, upon a pile of wood, Let's hew his limbs till they be clean consumed. [Exeunt Lucius, Quintus, Martius, and Mutius, with Alarbus.


Tam. O cruel, irreligious piety!
Chi. Was ever Scythia half so barbarous?
Dem. Oppose not Scythia to ambitious

Alarbus goes to rest; and we survive
To tremble under Titus' threatening looks.
Then, madam, stand resolved, but hope withal
The self-same gods that arm'd the Queen of

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

To quit the bloody wrongs upon her foes. Renter LucIUS, QUINTUS, MARTIUS, and MUTIUS, with their swords bloody.

Laic. See, lord and father, how we have perform'd

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No noise, but silence and eternal sleep :
In peace and honor rest you here, my sons!

Lav. 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 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, that hast thus lovingly

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, below, MARCUS ANDRONICUS and Tribunes; re-enter SATURNINUS and BASSIANUS attended.

Marc. Long live Lord Titus, my beloved brother,

Gracious triumpher in the eyes of Rome! 170 Tit. Thanks, gentle tribune, noble brother Marcus.

Marc. And welcome, nephews, from suc

cessful wars,

You that survive, and you that sleep in fame!
Fair lords, your fortunes are alike in all,
That in your country's service drew your

swords :


But safer triumph is this funeral pomp,
That hath aspired to Solon's happiness
And triumphs over chance in honor's bed.
Titas 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 teebleness: What should I don this robe, and trouble you? Be chosen with proclamations to-day, 190 To-morrow yield up rule, resign my life,

And set abroad new business for you all?
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 honor for mine age,
But not a sceptre to control the world:
Upright he held it, lords, that held it last. 200
Mare. Titus, thou shalt obtain and ask the

Sat. Proud and ambitious tribune, canst. thou tell?

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Till Saturninus be Rome's emperor. Andronicus, would thou wert shipp'd to hell, Rather than rob me of the people's hearts! Luc. Proud Saturnine, interrupter of the good

That noble-minded Titus means to thee !

Tit. Content thee, prince; I will restore to thee 210

The people's hearts, and wean them from themselves.

Bas. Androniens, I do not flatter thee, But honor thee, and will do till I die:

My faction if thou strengthen with thy friends, I will most thankful be; and thanks to men Of noble minds is honorable meed.

Tit. People of Rome, and people's tribunes here,

I ask your voices and your suffrages:
Will you bestow them friendly on Andronicus?
Tribunes. To gratify the good Andronicus,
And gratulate his safe return to Rome,
The people will accept whom he admits.


Tit. Tribunes, I thank you: and this suit I make,

That you create your emperor's eldest son,
Lord Saturnine; whose virtues will, I hope,
Reflect on Rome as Titan's rays on earth,
And ripen justice in this commonweal:
Then, if you will elect by my advice,
Crown him, and say Long live our emperor !'
Marc. With voices and applause of every


Patricians and plebeians, we create
Lord Saturninus Rome's great emperor,
And say 'Long live our Emperor Saturnine!'

[A long flourish till they come down. Sat. Titus Andronicus, for thy favors done To us in our election this day,

I give thee thanks in part of thy deserts,
And will with deeds requite thy gentleness:
And, for an onset, Titus, to advance
Thy name and honorable family,
Lavinia will I make my empress,
Rome's royal mistress, mistress of my heart,
And in the sacred Pantheon her espouse:
Tell me, Andronicus, doth this motion please


Tit. It doth, my worthy lord; and in this match

I hold me highly honor'd of your grace:
And here in sight of Rome to Saturnine,
King and commander of our commonweal,
The wide world's emperor, do I consecrate
My sword, my chariot and my prisoners;
Presents well worthy Rome's imperial lord:
Receive them then, the tribute that I owe, 251
Mine honor's ensigns humbled at thy feet.

Sat. Thanks, noble Titus, father of my life!
How proud I am of thee and of thy gifts
Rome shall record, and when I do forget
The least of these unspeakable deserts,
Romans, forget your fealty to me.

Tit. [To Tamora] Now, madam, are you prisoner to an emperor ;


To him that, for your honor and your state,
Will use you nobly and your followers.
Sat. A goodly lady, trust me; of the hue
That I would choose, were I to choose anew.
Clear up, fair queen, that cloudy countenance:
Though chance of war hath wrought this

change of cheer,

Thou comest not to be made a scorn in Rome:
Princely shall be thy usage every way.
Rest on my word, and let not discontent
Daunt all your hopes: madam, he comforts you
Can make you greater than the Queen of Goths.
Lavinia, you are not displeased with this? 270
Lav. Not I, my lord; sith true nobility
Warrants these words in princely courtesy.
Sat. Thanks, sweet Lavinia. Romans, let
us go;

Ransomless here we set our prisoners free: Proclaim our honors, lords, with trump and drum.

[Flourish. Saturninus courts Tamora in dumb show. Bas. Lord Titus, by your leave, this maid is mine. [Seizing Lavinia. Tit. How, sir! are you in earnest then, my lord ?

Bas. Ay, noble Titus; and resolved withal To do myself this reason and this right,

Marc. Suum cuique' is our Roman jus280


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