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That Mall distil from these two antient ruins,
Than youthful April shall with all his showers; (15)
In summer's drought I'll drop upon thee ftill;
In winter, with warm tears I'll melt the snow;
And keep eternal spring-time on thy face,
So thou refuse to drink my dear fons blood,
Enter Lucius with his frword drawn.
Oh, reverend tribunes! gentle aged men!
Unbind my sons, reverse the doom of death:
And let me say, (that never wept before)
My tears are now prevailing orators.
Luc. Oh, noble father, you lament in vain; The tribunes hear you not, no man is by; And you recount your sorrows to a stone.
Tit. Ah, Lucius, for thy brothers let me plead; Grave tribunes, once more I intreat of you
Luc. My gracious Lord, no tribune hears you speak,
Tit. Why, 'tis no matter, man; if they did hear, They would not mark, me; or if they did mark, They would not pity me.--Therefore I tell my forrows to the stones, Who, tho’ they cannot answer my distress, Yet in some sort they're better than the tribunes, 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 attired in grave weeds; Rome could afford no tribune like to there, A stone is soft as wax, tribunes more hard than stones: A stone is filent, and offendeth not, And tribunes with their tongues doom men to death. But wherefore stand'st thou with thy weapon drawn?
(15) Than youthful April shall with all her sow'rs;] This is the reading of our poetical editors only; the older copies have it rightly ---witb all his show'rs. If they had not remember'd Ovid in his Fajti, lib. IV. ver. 89. (Aprilem memorant ab aperto tempore dictum:
Quem Venus injecta vindicat alma manu.) They might, at least, have remembred the first rule in their propria quæ maribus, that all months and winds are masculines,
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, doft thou not perceive,
That Rome is, but a wilderness of Tygers ;
'Tygers 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,
Mar. Titus, prepare thy noble eyes to weep,
Or if not sn, thy noble heart to break :
I bring consuming forrow to thine age.
Tit. Will it consume me? let me see it then,
Mar. This was thy daughter.
Tit. Why, Marcus, so the is.
Luc. Ab me! this object kills me.
Tit. Faint-hearted boy, arife and look upon her :
Speak, my Lavinia, what accursed hand
Hath made thee handless, in thy father's spight? (16)
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'ft,
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 wre.
Now all the service I require of them,
what accursed hand Hath made thee handless in thy father's sight?] But tho? Lavinia apşear'd handless in her father's presence, the was not made fo in his light. And if that be the true reading, it can at best bear but this poor meaning, what curs’d hand hath robb’d thee of thy hands, for thy father to see thee in that condition? the fight alteration, I have given, adds a much more reasonable complaint, and aggravates the sentiment. What cursed band hath robb’d thee of thy hands, only in despight to thy father, only to encrease his torments ?
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 fifter, who hath martyr'd thee?
Mar. O, that delightful engine of her thoughts,
That blab’d them with such pleasing eloquence,
Is torn from forth that
cage, Where, like a sweet melodious bird, it fung Sweet various notes, inchanting every ear!
Luc. Oh, say thou for her, who hath done this deed?
Mar, 0, 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 fea,
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 fons 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 foul.
Had I but feen thy picture in this plight,
It would have madded me, What fhall I do,
Now I behold thy lively body fo?
Thou haft 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, fon Lucius, look on her:
When I did name her brothers, then freth tears
Stood on her cheeks; as doth the honey-dew
Upon a gather'd lilly almoft wither'd.
Mar. Perchance, the 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 fifter makes.
Gentle Lavinia, let me kiss thy lips,
Or make some signs how I may do thee ease :
Shall thy good ancle, and thy brother Lucius,
And thou, and I, fit round about fome fountain,
Looking all downwards to behold our cheeks,
How they are stain'd like meadows yet not dry
With miry. flime left on them by a flood ?
And in the fountain Mall we gaze so long,
'Till the fresh taste be taken from that clearners,
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 fome device of further misery,
To make us wondred at in time to come.
Luc. Sweet father, cease your tears; for, at your grief,
See, how my wretched filter sobs and weeps.
Mar. 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, haft drown'd it with thine own.
Luc. Ah, my Lavinia, I will wipe thy cheeks.
Tit. Mark, Marcus, mark; I understand her signs;
Had the a tongue to speak, now would she say
That to her brother which I said to thee.
His napkin, with his true tears all bewet,
Can do no service on her forrowful cheeks.
Oh, 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,
Lec 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 fons alive,
And that shall be the ransom for their fault.
Tit. Oh, gracious Emperor! oh, gentle Aaron!
Did ever raven fing 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.
Mar. Which of your hands hath not defended Rome,
And rear'd aloft the bloody battle-ax,
Writing deftruction on the enemies casque? (17)
Oh, 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.
Mar. My hand shall go.
Luc. By heav'n, it shall not go.
Tit. Sirs, ftrive no more, such wither'd herbs as these
(17) Which of your bands hath not defended Rome,
And rear'd aloft the bloody battle-axe,
Writing destruction on the enemies caftle?] This is a paflage, which shows a most wonderful fagacity in our editors. They could not, fure, intend an improvement of the Art Military, by teaching us that it was ever a custom to hew down caftles with the battle-axe. Or could they have a design to tell us, that they wore casles formerly on their heads for defensive armour? There is, indeed, a passage in Troilus and Craffida, which such commentators might alledge in fupport of such a wise opinion.
Stand fast, and wear a cafile on thy head, &c.
I ventur'd, some time ago, to correct the passage thus;
Writing destruction on the enemies 'cafk,
i. e. an helmet; from the French word, une casque. A broken k in
the manuscript might easily be mistaken for tl, and thus a castle was
built at once. But as I think it is much more feisible to split an
belmet with a bat:le-axe, than to cnt down a castle with it, I shall
continue to stand by my emendation.