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Ch. For that I am prepard, and full resolv'd,
Foul-spoken coward, that thund 'rest with thy tongue,
And with thy weapon nothing dar'st perform.
AARON. Away, I say!
Now, by the gods that warlike Goths adore,
This petty brabble will undo us all !
Why, lords, and think you not how dangerous
It is to jet upon a prince's right?
What, is Lavinia then become so loose,
Or Bassianus so degenerate,
That for her love such quarrels may be broach'd,
Without controlment, justice, or revenge?
Young lords, beware; and should the empress know
This discord's ground, the music would not please.
Chi. I care not, I, knew she, and all the world,
I love Lavinia more than all the world.
DEMET. Youngling, learn thou to make some meaner choice :
Lavinia is thine elder brother's hope.
Aaron. Why, are ye mad? or know ye not, in Rome,
How furious and impatient they be,
And cannot brook competitors in love?
I tell you, lords, you do but plot your deaths
By this device.
CHI: Aaron, a thousand deaths would I propose,
To achieve her whom I do love.
To achieve her, how?
DEMET. Why mak'st thou it so strange ?
She is a woman,
She is a woman, therefore may be won;
She is Lavinia, therefore must be lov'd.
What, man! more water glideth by the mill
Than wots the miller of; and easy it is
Of a cut loaf to steal a shive, we know :
Though Bassianus be the emperor's brother,
Better than he have worn Vulcan's badge.
AARON. Ay, and as good as Saturninus may.
DEMET. Then why should he despair that knows to court it
With words, fair looks, and liberality ?
What, hast not thou full often struck a doe,
And borne her cleanly by the keeper's nose?
AARON. Why, then, it seems, some certain snatch or so
Would serve your turns.
Ay, so the turn were serv'd.
DEMET. Aaron, thou hast hit it.
Would you had hit it too,
Then should not we be tir'd with this ado.
Why, hark ye, hark ye, and are you such fools
for this ? would it offend
That both should speeda ?
Chi. Faith, not me.
Nor me, so I were one.
AARON. For shame, be friends, and join for that you jar.
'T is policy and stratagem must do
That you affect, and so must you resolve
That what you cannot as you would achieve
You must perforce accomplish as you may:
Take this of me, Lucrece was not more chaste
Than this Lavinia, Bassianus' love.
A speedier course than ling'ring languishment
Must we pursue, and I have found the path.
My lords, a solemn hunting is in hand;
There will the lovely Roman ladies troop:
The forest walks are wide and spacious,
And many unfrequented plots there are,
Fitted by kind for rape and villainy:
Single you thither then this dainty doe,
And strike her home by force, if not by words:
This way, or not at all, stand you in hope.
Come, come, our empress, with her sacred wit,
To villainy and vengeance consecrate,
Will we acquaint with all that we intend;
And she shall file our engines with advice,
That will not suffer you to square yourselves,
But to your wishes' height advance you both.
The emperor's court is like the house of fame,
The palace full of tongues, of eyes, of ears:
The woods are ruthless, dreadful, deaf, and dull :
There speak, and strike, brave boys, and take your turns.
There serve your lust, shadow'd from heaven's eye,
And revel in Lavinia's treasury.
Chi. Thy counsel, lad, smells of no cowardice,
DEMET. Sit fas aut nefas, till I find the stream
To cool this heat, a charm to calm these fits,
Per Styga, per manes vehor.
a This line is omitted in the folio: the sense is incomplete without it. • Than—in the original copies, this.
Sacred in the Latin sense, accursed.
Enter Titus ANDRONICUS, his three Sons, and Marcus, making a noise with
hounds and horns. Tit. The hunt is up: the morn is bright and gray,
The fields are fragrant, and the woods are green;
Uncouple here, and let us make a bay,
And wake the emperor and his lovely bride,
And rouse the prince, and ring a hunter's peal,
That all the court may echo with the noise.
Sons, let it be your charge, as it is ours,
To attend the emperor's person carefully:
I have been troubled in my sleep this night,
But dawning day new comfort hath inspir'd.
Here a cry of hounds, and wind horns in a peal; then enter SATURNINUS, TAMORA,
BASSIANUS, LAVINIA, CHIRON, DEMETRIUS, and their Attendants. Tit. Many good morrows to your majesty;
Madam, to you as many and as good.
I promised your grace a hunter's peal.
St. And you have rung it lustily, my lords ;
Somewhat too early for new-married ladies.
Bas. Lavinia, how say you ?
I have been broad awake two hours and more.
Sat. Come on, then; horse and chariots let us have,
And to our sport: madam, now shall ye see
Our Roman hunting. MARC.
I have dogs, my lord,
Will rouse the proudest panther in the chase,
And climb the highest promontory top.
Tit. And I have horse will follow where the game
Makes way, and run like swallows o'er the plain.
DEMET. Chiron, we hunt not, we, with horse nor hound;
But hope to pluck a dainty doe to ground.
AARON. He that had wit would think that I had none,
To bury so much gold under a tree,
And never after to inherit it.
Let him that thinks of me so abjectly
Know that this gold must coin a stratagem,
Which, cunningly effected, will beget
A very excellent piece of villainy:
And so repose, sweet gold, for their unrest,
That have their alms out of the empress' chest.
TAM. My lovely Aaron, wherefore look'st thou sad,
When everything doth make a gleeful boast?
The birds chant melody on every bush;
The snake lies rolled in the cheerful sun;
The green leaves quiver with the cooling wind,
And make a checker'd shadow on the ground:
Under their sweet shade, Aaron, let us sit,
And, whilst the babbling echo mocks the hounds,
Replying shrilly to the well-tun'd horns,
As if a double hunt were heard at once,
Let us sit down and mark their yelpinga noise :
And, after conflict such as was suppos'd
The wand'ring prince and Dido once enjoy'd
When with a happy storm they were surpris'd,
And curtain'd with a counsel-keeping cave,
We may, each wreathed in the other's arms,
Our pastimes done, possess a golden slumber,
While hounds, and horns, and sweet melodious birds,
Be unto us as is a nurse's song
Of lullaby, to bring her babe asleep.
AARON. Madam, though Venus govern your desires,
Saturn is dominator over mine:
What signifies my deadly standing eye,
My silence, and my cloudy melancholy,
My fleece of woolly hair, that now uncurls
Even as an adder when she doth unroll
To do some fatal execution ?
No, madam, these are no venereal signs;
Vengeance is in my heart, death in my hand,
Blood and revenge are hammering in my head.
Hark, Tamora, the empress of my soul,
Which never hopes more heaven than rests in thee,
This is the day of doom for Bassianus;
His Philomel must lose her tongue to-day;
Thy sops make pillage of her chastity,
And wash their hands in Bassianus' blood.
Seest thou this letter? take it
And give the king this fatal-plotted scroll.
Now question me no more; we are espied :
& Yelping. So the folio—commonly, yelling.
Here comes a parcel of our hopeful booty,
Which dreads not yet their lives' destruction.
Enter BASSIANUS and LAVINIA.
Tam. Ah, my sweet Moor, sweeter to me than life!
Aaron. No more, great empress, Bassianus comes.
Be cross with him; and I 'll go fetch thy sons
To back thy quarrels, whatsoe'er they be.
Bass. Who have we bere ? Rome's royal empress,
Unfurnish'd of our well-beseeming troop?
Or is it Dian, habited like her,
Who bath abandoned her holy groves,
To see the general hunting in this forest?
Tam. Saucy controller of our private steps,
Had I the power that some say Dian had,
Thy temples should be planted presently
With horns as was Actæon's, and the hounds
Should drive upon thy new-transformed limbs,
Unmannerly intruder as thou art !
Lav. Under your patience, gentle empress,
'T is thought you have a goodly gift in horning,
And to be doubted that your Moor and you
Are singled forth to try experiments:
Jove shield your husband from his hounds to-day;
’T is pity they should take him for a stag. Bass. Believe me, queen, your swarth Cimmerian Doth make
your honour of his body's hue,
Spotted, detested, and abominable.
Why are you sequestered from all your train ?
Dismounted from your snow-white goodly steed,
And wander'd hither to an obscure plot,
Accompanied but a with a barbarous Moor,
If foul desire had not conducted you?
Lav. And, being intercepted in your sport,
Great reason that my noble lord be rated
For sauciness; I pray you, let us hence,
And let her 'joy her raven-colour'd love;
This valley fits the purpose passing well.
Bass. The king, my brother, shall have notice of this.
Lav. Ay, for these slips have made him noted long;
Good king, to be so mightily abused!
Tam. Why have I patience to endure all this?
a But. The edition of 1600 has this word.
Have I. The original copies, I have.