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ACT I.....SCENE I.
Rome. Before the Capitol.
The Tomb of the Andronici appearing; the Tribunes and Senators aloft, as in the Senate. Enter, below, SATURNIUS and his Followers, on one side; and BASSIANUS and his Followers, on the other; with Drum and Colours.
Sat. Noble patricians, patrons of my right,
Bas. Romans, friends, followers, favourers of my right,
If ever Bassianus, Cæsar's son,
Were gracious in the eyes of royal Rome,
And, Romans, fight for freedom in your choice.
Enter MARCUS ANDRONICUS, aloft, with the Crown. Mar. Princes, that strive by factions, and by friends, Ambitiously for rule and empery,
my successive title-] i. e. my title to the succession. Malone. Thus also Raleigh: "The empire being elective, and not successive, the emperors, in being, made profit of their own times.”
Know, that the people of Rome, for whom we stand
For many good and great deserts to Rome;
Lives not this day within the city walls:
From weary wars against the barbarous Goths;
And now at last, laden with honour's spoils,
Whom you pretend to honour and adore,—
Sat. How fair the tribune speaks to calm my thoughts!
In thy uprightness and integrity,
And so I love and honour thee and thine,
And her, to whom my thoughts are humbled all,
[Exeunt the followers of BAs.
[Exeunt the followers of SAT
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.
[SAT. and BAS. go into the Capitol, and exeunt with Senators, MAR. &c.
Enter a Captain, and Others.
Cap. Romans, make way; The good Andronicus,
Flourish of Trumpets, &c. enter MUTIUS and MARTIUS: after them, two Men bearing a Coffin covered with black; then QUINTUS and LUCIUS. After them, TITUS ANDRONICUS; and then TAMORA, with ALARBUS, CHIRON, DEMETRIUS, 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 weeds !2 Lo, as the bark, that hath discharg'd her fraught,3 Returns with precious lading to the bay,
From whence at first she weigh'd her anchorage,
2 Hail, Rome, victorious in thy mourning weeds!] I 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. Warburton.
Thy is as well as my. We may suppose the Romans in a grateful ceremony, meeting the dead sons of Andronicus with mourn. ful habits. Johnson.
Or that they were in mourning for their emperor who was just dead. Steevens.
her fraught,] Old copies-his fraught. Corrected in the fourth folio. Malone.
his fraught,] As in the other old copies noted by Mr. Malone. It will be proper here to observe, that the edition of 1600 is not paged. Todd.
Cometh Andronicus, bound with laurel boughs,
Stand gracious to the rights that we intend!-
These, that survive, let Rome reward with love;
With burial amongst their ancestors:
Here Goths have given me leave to sheathe my sword.
[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 hast thou in store,
Luc. Give us the proudest prisoner of the Goths,
Tit. I give him you; the noblest that survives,
4 Thou great defender of this Capitol,] Jupiter, to whom the Capitol was sacred. Johnson.
5 To hover on the dreadful shore of Styx ?] Here we have one of the numerous classical notions that are scattered with a pedantick profusion through this piece. Malone.
6 earthly prison] Edit. 1600:-"earthy prison."
Nor we disturb'd with prodigies on earth.] It was supposed by the ancients, that the ghosts of unburied people appeared to their friends and relations, to solicit the rites of funeral.
Tam. Stay, Roman brethren;-Gracious conqueror, Victorious Titus, rue the tears I shed,
A mother's tears in passion for her son:
Andronicus, stain not thy tomb with blood:
Thrice-noble Titus, spare my first-born son.
Tit. Patient yourself," madam, and pardon me.
To this your son is mark'd; and die he must,
[Exeunt Luc. QUIN. MAR. and MUT. with ALAR.
8 Wilt thou draw near the nature of the gods?
Draw near them then in being merciful:] "Homines enim ad deos nulla re propius accedunt, quam salutem hominibus dando." Cicero pro Ligario.
Mr. Whalley infers the learning of Shakspeare from this passage: but our present author, whoever he was, might have found a translation of it in several places, provided he was not acquainted with the original. Steevens.
The same sentiment is in Edward III, 1596:
kings approach the nearest unto God,
By giving life and safety unto men."
?Patient yourself, &c.] This verb is used by other dramatick writers. So, in Arden of Feversham, 1592:
"Patient yourself, we cannot help it now."
Again, in King Edward I, 1599:
"Patient your highness, 'tis but mother's love," Steevens.