THE TRAGEDY OF TITUS ANDRONICUS
THE TRAGEDY OF TITUS ANDRONICUS
by William Shakespeare
SATURNINUS Son to the late Emperor of Rome afterwards declared
BASSIANUS Brother to Saturninus in love with Lavinia.
TITUS ANDRONICUS a noble Roman General against the Goths.
MARCUS ANDRONICUS Tribune of the People and Brother to Titus.
LUCIUS Son to Titus Andronicus.
QUINTUS Son to Titus Andronicus.
MARTIUS Son to Titus Andronicus.
MUTIUS Son to Titus Andronicus.
YOUNG LUCIUS a Boy Son to Lucius.
PUBLIUS Son to Marcus the Tribune.
AEMILIUS a noble Roman.
ALARBUS Son to Tamora.
DEMETRIUS Son to Tamora.
CHIRON Son to Tamora.
AARON a Moor beloved by Tamora
A Captain Tribune Messengerand Clown--Romans
Goths and Romans.
TAMORA Queen of the Goths
LAVINIA Daughter to Titus Andronicus
A NURSE and a black CHILD.
Kinsmen to Titus Senators Tribunes Officers Soldiers and
SCENE: Rome and the Country near it.
SCENE I. Rome. Before the Capitol.
[The Tomb of Andronic appearing; the Tribunes and Senators aloft.
Enter below SATURNINUS and his Followers on one side and
BASSIANUS and his Followers at the other with drums and
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 honours live in me
Nor wrong mine age with this indignity.
Romans--friends followers favourers of my right--
If ever Bassianus Caesar's son
Were gracious in the eyes of royal Rome
Keep then this passage to the Capitol;
And suffer not dishonour 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 crown.]
Princes--that strive by factions and by friends
Ambitiously for rule and empery--
Know that the people of Rome for whom we stand
A special party have by common voice
In election for the Roman empery
Chosen Andronicus surnamed Pius
For many good and great deserts to Rome:
A nobler man a braver warrior
Lives not this day within the city walls.:
He by the senate is accited home
From weary wars against the barbarous Goths;
That with his sons a terror to our foes
Hath yok'd a nation strong train'd up in arms.
Ten years are spent since first he undertook
This cause of Rome and chastised with arms
Our enemies' pride: five times he hath return'd
Bleeding to Rome bearing his valiant sons
In coffins from the field;
And now at last laden with honour's spoils
Returns the good Andronicus to Rome
Renowned Titus flourishing in arms.
Let us entreat--by honour of his name
Whom worthily you would have now succeed
And in the Capitol and senate's right
Whom you pretend to honour and adore--
That you withdraw you and abate your strength;
Dismiss your followers and as suitors should
Plead your deserts in peace and humbleness.
How fair the tribune speaks to calm my thoughts!
Marcus Andronicus so I do affy
In thy uprightness and integrity
And so I love and honour thee and thine
Thy noble brother Titus and his sons
And her to whom my thoughts are humbled all
Gracious Lavinia Rome's rich ornament
That I will here dismiss my loving friends;
And to my fortunes and the people's favour
Commit my cause in balance to be weigh'd.
[Exeunt the Followers of BASSIANUS.]
Friends that have been thus forward in my right
I thank you all and here dismiss you all;
And to the love and favour 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 tribunes and let me in.
Tribunes and me a poor competitor.
[Flourish. Exeunt; SATURNINUS and BASSIANUS go up into the
[Enter a Captain.]
Romans make way. The good Andronicus
Patron of virtue Rome's best champion
Successful in the battles that he fights
With honour and with fortune is return'd
From where he circumscribed with his sword
And brought to yoke the enemies of Rome.
[Flourish of trumpets &c. 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.]
Hail Rome victorious in thy mourning weeds!
Lo as the bark that hath discharg'd her fraught
Returns with precious lading to the bay
From whence at first she weigh'd her anchorage
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
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
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
That thou wilt never render to me more!
Give us the proudest prisoner of the Goths
That we may hew his limbs and on a pile
Ad manes fratrum sacrifice his flesh
Before this earthy prison of their bones;
That so the shadows be not unappeas'd
Nor we disturb'd with prodigies on earth.
I give him you--the noblest that survives
The eldest son of this distressed queen.
Stay Roman brethen!--Gracious conqueror
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