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For that they will not intercept my tale :
When I do weep, they humbly at my feet
Receive my tears, and seem to weep with me;
And, were they but attirèd in grave weeds,
Rome could afford no tribune like to these.
A stone is soft as wax,-tribunes more hard than stones ;
A stone is silent, and offendeth not,
And tribunes with their tongues doom men to death.— [Riscs.
But wherefore stand'st thou with thy weapon drawn?
Luc. To rescue my two brothers from their death :
For which attempt the judges have pronounc'd
My everlasting doom of banishment.
Tit. O happy man! they have befriended thee.
Why, foolish Lucius, dost thou not perceive
That Rome is but a wilderness of tigers ?
Tigers must prey; and Rome affords no prey
But me and mine: how happy art thou, then,
From these devourers to be banished !-
But who comes with our brother Marcus here?
Enter MARCUS and LAVINIA.
Marc. Titus, prepare thy aged eyes to weep;
Or, if not so, thy noble heart to break:
I bring consuming sorrow to thine age.
Tit. Will it consume me? let me see it, then.
Marc. This was thy daughter.
Why, Marcus, so she is.
Luc. Ay me, this object kills me !
Tit. Faint-hearted boy, arise, and look upon her.-
Speak, Lavinia, (43) what accursèd hand
Hath made thee handless in thy father's sight?
What fool hath added water to the sea,
Or brought a faggot to bright-burning Troy?
My grief was at the height before thou cam'st;
And now, like Nilus, it disdaineth bounds.-
Give me a sword, I'll chop off my hands too;
For they have fought for Rome, and all in vain ;
And they have nurs'd this woe, in feeding life;
In bootless prayer have they been held up,
And they have serv'd me to effectless use :
Now all the service I require of them
Is, that the one will help to cut the other.-
'Tis well, Lavinia, that thou hast no hands;
For hands, to do Rome service, are but vain.
Luc. Speak, gentle sister, who hath martyr'd thee?
Marc. O, that delightful engine of her thoughts,
That blabb’d them with such pleasing eloquence,
Is torn from forth that pretty hollow cage,
Where, like a sweet melodious bird, it sung
Sweet varied notes, enchanting every ear!
Luc. O, say thou for her, who hath done this deed ?
Marc. O, thus I found her, straying in the park,
Seeking to hide herself, as doth the deer
That hath receiv'd some unrecuring wound.
Tit. It was my deer; and he that wounded her
Hath hurt me more than had he kill'd me dead:
For now I stand as one upon a rock,
Environ'd with a wilderness of sea;
Who marks the waxing tide grow wave by wave,
Expecting ever when some envious surge
Will in his brinish bowels swallow him.
This way to death my wretched sons are gone;
Here stands my other son, a banish'd man;
And here my brother, weeping at my woes :
But that which gives my soul the greatest spurn,
Is dear Lavinia, dearer than my soul.-
Had I but seen thy picture in this plight,
It would have madded me: what shall I do
Now I behold thy lively body so ?
Thou hast no hands, to wipe away thy tears;
Nor tongue, to tell me who hath martyr'd thee:
Thy husband he is dead; and for his death
Thy brothers are condemn'd, and dead by this.-
Look, Marcus! ah, son Lucius, look on her!
When I did name her brothers, then fresh tears
Stood on her cheeks, as doth the honey-dew
Upon a gather'd lily almost wither'd.
Marc. Perchance she weeps because they kill'd her husband;
Perchance because she knows them innocent.
Tit. If they did kill thy husband, then be joyful,
Because the law hath ta'en revenge on them.-
No, no, they would not do so foul a deed;
Witness the sorrow that their sister makes.-
Gentle Lavinia, let me kiss thy lips;
Or make some sign how I may do thee ease :
Shall thy good uncle, and thy brother Lucius,
And thou, and I, sit round about some fountain,
Looking all downwards, to behold our cheeks
How they are stain'd, as (44) meadows, yet not dry,
With miry slime left on them by a flood ?
And in the fountain shall we gaze so long
Till the fresh taste be taken from that clearness,
And made a brine-pit with our bitter tears?
Or shall we cut away our hands, like thine ?
Or shall we bite our tongues, and in dumb shows
Pass the remainder of our hateful days?
What shall we do? let us, that have our tongues,
Plot some device of further misery,
To make us wonder'd at in time to come.
Luc. Sweet father, cease your tears; for, at your grief, See how my wretched sister sobs and weeps.
Marc. Patience, dear niece.-Good Titus, dry thine eyes.
Tit. Ah, Marcus, Marcus! brother, well I wot
Thy napkin cannot drink a tear of mine,
For thou, poor man, hast drown'd it with thine own.
Luc. Ah, my Lavinia, I will wipe thy cheeks.
Tit. Mark, Marcus, mark! I understand her signs:
Had she a tongue to speak, now would she say
That to her brother which I said to thee:
His napkin, with his (45) true tears all bewet,
Can do no service on her sorrowful cheeks.
O, what a sympathy of woe is this,-
As far from help as Limbo is from bliss !
Aar. Titus Andronicus, my lord the emperor
Sends thee this word,—that, if thou love thy sons,
Let Marcus, Lucius, or thyself, old Titus,
Or any one of you, chop off your hand,
And send it to the king: he for the same
Will send thee hither both thy sons alive;
And that shall be the ransom for their fault.
Tit. O gracious emperor! O gentle Aaron!
Did ever raven sing so like a lark,
That gives sweet tidings of the sun's uprise ?
With all my heart, I'll send the emperor
My hand :
Good Aaron, wilt thou help to chop it off?
Luc. Stay, father! for that noble hand of thine,
That hath thrown down so many enemies,
Shall not be sent: my hand will serve the turn :
My youth can better spare my blood than you;
And therefore mine shall save my brothers' lives.
Marc. Which of your hands hath not defended Rome,
And rear'd aloft the bloody battle-axe,
Writing destruction on the enemy's castle ? (16)
O, none of both but are of high desert :
My hand hath been but idle; let it serve
To ransom my two nephews from their death;
Then have I kept it to a worthy end.
Aar. Nay, come, agree whose hand shall go along,
For fear they die before their pardon come.
Marc. My hand shall go.
By heaven, it shall not go!
Tit. Sirs, strive no more : such wither'd herbs as these
Are meet for plucking up, and therefore mine.
Luc. Sweet father, if I shall be thought thy son, Let me redeem my brothers both from death.
Marc. And, for our father's sake and mother's care,
Now let me show a brother's love to thee.
Tit. Agree between you; I will spare my hand.
Luc. Then I'll go fetch an axe.
Marc. But I will use the axe.
[Exeunt Lucius and Marcus. Tit. Come hither, Aaron; I'll deceive them both : Lend me thy hand, and I will give thee mine.
Aar. If that be call'd deceit, I will be honest,
And never, whilst I live, deceive men so:-
But I'll deceive you in another sort,
And that you'll say, ere half an hour pass.
[Cuts off Titus's hand. Re-enter Lucius and MARCUS. Tit. Now stay your strife : what shall be is dispatch'd.Good Aaron, give his majesty my hand : Tell him it was a hand that warded him From thousand dangers; bid him bury it; More hath it merited,—that let it have. As for my sons, say I account of them As jewels purchas'd at an easy price; And yet dear too, because I bought mine own.
Aar. I go, Andronicus: and for thy hand Look by and by to have thy sons with thee:Their heads, I mean. O, how this villany
[ Aside. Doth fat me with the very thoughts of it! Let fools do good, and fair men call for grace, Aaron will have his soul black like his face.
[Exit. Tit. O, here I lift this one hand up to heaven, And bow this feeble ruin to the earth : If any power pities wretched tears, To that I call !—What, wilt thou kneel with me? [To Lav. Do, then, dear heart; for heaven shall hear our prayers; Or with our sighs we'll breathe the welkin dim, And stain the sun with fog, as sometime clouds When they do hug him in their melting bosoms.
Marc. O brother, speak with possibilities, And do not break into these deep extremes.
Tit. Is not my sorrow deep, having no bottom ? Then be my passions bottomless with them.
Marc. But yet let reason govern thy lament.
Tit. If there were reason for these miseries,
Then into limits could I bind my woes :
When heaven doth weep, doth not the earth o'erflow?
If the winds rage, doth not the sea wax mad,
Threatening the welkin with his big-swoln face?