Enter AARON, with a bag of goldAARON
He that had wit would think that I had none,TAMORA
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 villany:
And so repose, sweet gold, for their unrest
Hides the goldThat have their alms out of the empress′ chest.
My lovely Aaron, wherefore look′st thou sad,AARON
When every thing 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 chequer′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-tuned horns,
As if a double hunt were heard at once,
Let us sit down and mark their yelping noise;
And, after conflict such as was supposed
The wandering prince and Dido once enjoy′d,
When with a happy storm they were surprised
And curtain′d with a counsel-keeping cave,
We may, each wreathed in the other′s arms,
Our pastimes done, possess a golden slumber;
Whiles hounds and horns and sweet melodious birds
Be unto us as is a nurse′s song
Of lullaby to bring her babe asleep.
Madam, though Venus govern your desires,TAMORA
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 sons make pillage of her chastity
And wash their hands in Bassianus′ blood.
Seest thou this letter? take it up, I pray thee,
And give the king this fatal plotted scroll.
Now question me no more; we are espied;
Here comes a parcel of our hopeful booty,
Which dreads not yet their lives′ destruction.
Ah, my sweet Moor, sweeter to me than life!AARON
No more, great empress; Bassianus comes:BASSIANUS
Be cross with him; and I′ll go fetch thy sons
To back thy quarrels, whatsoe′er they be.
Enter BASSIANUS and LAVINIA
Who have we here? Rome′s royal empress,TAMORA
Unfurnish′d of her well-beseeming troop?
Or is it Dian, habited like her,
Who hath abandoned her holy groves
To see the general hunting in this forest?
Saucy controller of our private steps!LAVINIA
Had I the power that some say Dian had,
Thy temples should be planted presently
With horns, as was Actaeon′s; and the hounds
Should drive upon thy new-transformed limbs,
Unmannerly intruder as thou art!
Under your patience, gentle empress,BASSIANUS
′Tis 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!
′Tis pity they should take him for a stag.
Believe me, queen, your swarth CimmerianLAVINIA
Doth make your honour of his body′s hue,
Spotted, detested, and abominable.
Why are you sequester′d from all your train,
Dismounted from your snow-white goodly steed.
And wander′d hither to an obscure plot,
Accompanied but with a barbarous Moor,
If foul desire had not conducted you?
And, being intercepted in your sport,BASSIANUS
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.
The king my brother shall have note of this.LAVINIA
Ay, for these slips have made him noted long:TAMORA
Good king, to be so mightily abused!
Why have I patience to endure all this?DEMETRIUS
Enter DEMETRIUS and CHIRON
How now, dear sovereign, and our gracious mother!TAMORA
Why doth your highness look so pale and wan?
Have I not reason, think you, to look pale?DEMETRIUS
These two have ′ticed me hither to this place:
A barren detested vale, you see it is;
The trees, though summer, yet forlorn and lean,
O′ercome with moss and baleful mistletoe:
Here never shines the sun; here nothing breeds,
Unless the nightly owl or fatal raven:
And when they show′d me this abhorred pit,
They told me, here, at dead time of the night,
A thousand fiends, a thousand hissing snakes,
Ten thousand swelling toads, as many urchins,
Would make such fearful and confused cries
As any mortal body hearing it
Should straight fall mad, or else die suddenly.
No sooner had they told this hellish tale,
But straight they told me they would bind me here
Unto the body of a dismal yew,
And leave me to this miserable death:
And then they call′d me foul adulteress,
Lascivious Goth, and all the bitterest terms
That ever ear did hear to such effect:
And, had you not by wondrous fortune come,
This vengeance on me had they executed.
Revenge it, as you love your mother′s life,
Or be ye not henceforth call′d my children.
This is a witness that I am thy son.CHIRON
And this for me, struck home to show my strength.LAVINIA
Also stabs BASSIANUS, who dies
Ay, come, Semiramis, nay, barbarous Tamora,TAMORA
For no name fits thy nature but thy own!
Give me thy poniard; you shall know, my boysDEMETRIUS
Your mother′s hand shall right your mother′s wrong.
Stay, madam; here is more belongs to her;CHIRON
First thrash the corn, then after burn the straw:
This minion stood upon her chastity,
Upon her nuptial vow, her loyalty,
And with that painted hope braves your mightiness:
And shall she carry this unto her grave?
An if she do, I would I were an eunuch.TAMORA
Drag hence her husband to some secret hole,
And make his dead trunk pillow to our lust.
But when ye have the honey ye desire,CHIRON
Let not this wasp outlive, us both to sting.
I warrant you, madam, we wil l make that sure.LAVINIA
Come, mistress, now perforce we will enjoy
That nice-preserved honesty of yours.
O Tamora! thou bear′st a woman′s face,—TAMORA
I will not hear her speak; away with her!LAVINIA
Sweet lords, entreat her hear me but a word.DEMETRIUS
Listen, fair madam: let it be your gloryLAVINIA
To see her tears; but be your heart to them
As unrelenting flint to drops of rain.
When did the tiger′s young ones teach the dam?CHIRON
O, do not learn her wrath; she taught it thee;
The milk thou suck′dst from her did turn to marble;
Even at thy teat thou hadst thy tyranny.
Yet every mother breeds not sons alike:
To CHIRONDo thou entreat her show a woman pity.
What, wouldst thou have me prove myself a bastard?LAVINIA
′Tis true; the raven doth not hatch a lark:TAMORA
Yet have I heard,—O, could I find it now!—
The lion moved with pity did endure
To have his princely paws pared all away:
Some say that ravens foster forlorn children,
The whilst their own birds famish in their nests:
O, be to me, though thy hard heart say no,
Nothing so kind, but something pitiful!
I know not what it means; away with her!LAVINIA
O, let me teach thee! for my father′s sake,TAMORA
That gave thee life, when well he might have
Be not obdurate, open thy deaf ears.
Hadst thou in person ne′er offended me,LAVINIA
Even for his sake am I pitiless.
Remember, boys, I pour′d forth tears in vain,
To save your brother from the sacrifice;
But fierce Andronicus would not relent;
Therefore, away with her, and use her as you will,
The worse to her, the better loved of me.
O Tamora, be call′d a gentle queen,TAMORA
And with thine own hands kill me in this place!
For ′tis not life that I have begg′d so long;
Poor I was slain when Bassianus died.
What begg′st thou, then? fond woman, let me go.LAVINIA
′Tis present death I beg; and one thing moreTAMORA
That womanhood denies my tongue to tell:
O, keep me from their worse than killing lust,
And tumble me into some loathsome pit,
Where never man′s eye may behold my body:
Do this, and be a charitable murderer.
So should I rob my sweet sons of their fee:DEMETRIUS
No, let them satisfy their lust on thee.
Away! for thou hast stay′d us here too long.LAVINIA
No grace? no womanhood? Ah, beastly creature!CHIRON
The blot and enemy to our general name!
Nay, then I′ll stop your mouth. Bring thou her husband:TAMORA
This is the hole where Aaron bid us hide him.
DEMETRIUS throws the body of BASSIANUS into the pit; then exeunt DEMETRIUS and CHIRON, dragging off LAVINIA
Farewell, my sons: see that you make her sure.AARON
Ne′er let my heart know merry cheer indeed,
Till all the Andronici be made away.
Now will I hence to seek my lovely Moor,
And let my spleenful sons this trull deflow′r.
Re-enter AARON, with QUINTUS and MARTIUS
Come on, my lords, the better foot before:QUINTUS
Straight will I bring you to the loathsome pit
Where I espied the panther fast asleep.
My sight is very dull, whate′er it bodes.MARTIUS
And mine, I promise you; were′t not for shame,QUINTUS
Well could I leave our sport to sleep awhile.
Falls into the pit
What art thou fall′n? What subtle hole is this,MARTIUS
Whose mouth is cover′d with rude-growing briers,
Upon whose leaves are drops of new-shed blood
As fresh as morning dew distill′d on flowers?
A very fatal place it seems to me.
Speak, brother, hast thou hurt thee with the fall?
O brother, with the dismall′st object hurtAARON
That ever eye with sight made heart lament!
[Aside] Now will I fetch the king to find them here,MARTIUS
That he thereby may give a likely guess
How these were they that made away his brother.
Why dost not comfort me, and help me outQUINTUS
From this unhallowed and blood-stained hole?
I am surprised with an uncouth fear;MARTIUS
A chilling sweat o′er-runs my trembling joints:
My heart suspects more than mine eye can see.
To prove thou hast a true-divining heart,QUINTUS
Aaron and thou look down into this den,
And see a fearful sight of blood and death.
Aaron is gone; and my compassionate heartMARTIUS
Will not permit mine eyes once to behold
The thing whereat it trembles by surmise;
O, tell me how it is; for ne′er till now
Was I a child to fear I know not what.
Lord Bassianus lies embrewed here,QUINTUS
All on a heap, like to a slaughter′d lamb,
In this detested, dark, blood-drinking pit.
If it be dark, how dost thou know ′tis he?MARTIUS
Upon his bloody finger he doth wearQUINTUS
A precious ring, that lightens all the hole,
Which, like a taper in some monument,
Doth shine upon the dead man′s earthy cheeks,
And shows the ragged entrails of the pit:
So pale did shine the moon on Pyramus
When he by night lay bathed in maiden blood.
O brother, help me with thy fainting hand—
If fear hath made thee faint, as me it hath—
Out of this fell devouring receptacle,
As hateful as Cocytus′ misty mouth.
Reach me thy hand, that I may help thee out;MARTIUS
Or, wanting strength to do thee so much good,
I may be pluck′d into the swallowing womb
Of this deep pit, poor Bassianus′ grave.
I have no strength to pluck thee to the brink.
Nor I no strength to climb without thy help.QUINTUS
Thy hand once more; I will not loose again,SATURNINUS
Till thou art here aloft, or I below:
Thou canst not come to me: I come to thee.
Enter SATURNINUS with AARON
Along with me: I′ll see what hole is here,MARTIUS
And what he is that now is leap′d into it.
Say who art thou that lately didst descend
Into this gaping hollow of the earth?
The unhappy son of old Andronicus:SATURNINUS
Brought hither in a most unlucky hour,
To find thy brother Bassianus dead.
My brother dead! I know thou dost but jest:MARTIUS
He and his lady both are at the lodge
Upon the north side of this pleasant chase;
′Tis not an hour since I left him there.
We know not where you left him all alive;TAMORA
But, out, alas! here have we found him dead.
Re-enter TAMORA, with Attendants; TITUS ANDRONICUS, and Lucius
Where is my lord the king?SATURNINUS
Here, Tamora, though grieved with killing grief.TAMORA
Where is thy brother Bassianus?SATURNINUS
Now to the bottom dost thou search my wound:TAMORA
Poor Bassianus here lies murdered.
Then all too late I bring this fatal writ,SATURNINUS
The complot of this timeless tragedy;
And wonder greatly that man′s face can fold
In pleasing smiles such murderous tyranny.
She giveth SATURNINUS a letter
[Reads] ′An if we miss to meet him handsomely—AARON
Sweet huntsman, Bassianus ′tis we mean—
Do thou so much as dig the grave for him:
Thou know′st our meaning. Look for thy reward
Among the nettles at the elder-tree
Which overshades the mouth of that same pit
Where we decreed to bury Bassianus.
Do this, and purchase us thy lasting friends.′
O Tamora! was ever heard the like?
This is the pit, and this the elder-tree.
Look, sirs, if you can find the huntsman out
That should have murdered Bassianus here.
My gracious lord, here is the bag of gold.SATURNINUS
[To TITUS] Two of thy whelps, fell curs ofTAMORA
Have here bereft my brother of his life.
Sirs, drag them from the pit unto the prison:
There let them bide until we have devised
Some never-heard-of torturing pain for them.
What, are they in this pit? O wondrous thing!TITUS ANDRONICUS
How easily murder is discovered!
High emperor, upon my feeble kneeSATURNINUS
I beg this boon, with tears not lightly shed,
That this fell fault of my accursed sons,
Accursed if the fault be proved in them,—
If it be proved! you see it is apparent.TAMORA
Who found this letter? Tamora, was it you?
Andronicus himself did take it up.TITUS ANDRONICUS
I did, my lord: yet let me be their bail;SATURNINUS
For, by my father′s reverend tomb, I vow
They shall be ready at your highness′ will
To answer their suspicion with their lives.
Thou shalt not bail them: see thou follow me.TAMORA
Some bring the murder′d body, some the murderers:
Let them not speak a word; the guilt is plain;
For, by my soul, were there worse end than death,
That end upon them should be executed.
Andronicus, I will entreat the king;TITUS ANDRONICUS
Fear not thy sons; they shall do well enough.
Come, Lucius, come; stay not to talk with them.
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