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Feb. 6, 1593 : and again entered to Tho. Pavyer, April 19, 1602. The reader will find it in Dr. Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, vol. i. Painter, in his Palace of Pleasure, tom. ii. speaks of the story of Titus as well known, and particularly mentions the cruelty of Tamora. And there is an allusion to it in A Knack to Know a Knave, 1594.
• I have given the reader a specimen (in the notes) of the changes made in this play by Ravenscroft; and may add, that when the Empress stabs her child, he has supplied the Moor with the following lines :
“ She has outdone me, ev'n in mine own art,
Give it me, I'll eat it.” It rarely happens that a dramatic piece is altered with the same spirit that it was written; but Titns Andronicus has undoubtedly fallen into the hands of one whose feelings and imagination were congenial with those of the author.
• It was evidently the work of one who was acquainted with Greek and Roman literature. It is likewise deficient in such internal marks as distinguish the tragedies of Shakspeare from those of other writers; I mean that it presents no struggles to introduce the vein of humour so constantly interwoven with the business of his serious dramas. It can neither boast of his striking excellencies, nor of his acknowledged defects; for it offers not a single interesting situation, a natural character, or a string of quibbles, from first to last. That Shakspeare should have written without commanding our attention, moving our passions, or sporting with words, appears to me as improbable as that he should have studiously avoided dissyllable and trisyllable terminations in this play and in no other.
· Let it be likewise remembered that this piece was not published with the name of Shakspeare till after his death. The quartos (of 1600] and 1611 are anonymous.
• Could the use of particular terms, employed in no other of his pieces, be admitted as an argument that he was not its author, more than one of these might be found; among which is palliament for robe, a Latinism, which I have not met with elsewhere in any English writer, whether ancient or modern;
though it must have originated from the mint of a scholar. I may add, that Titus Andronicus will be found on examination to contain a greater number of classical allusions, &c. than are scattered over all the rest of the performances on which the seal of Shakspeare is indubitably fixed.—Not to write any more about and about this suspected thing, let me observe that the glitter of a few passages in it has, perhaps, misled the judgment of those who ought to have known that both sentiment and description are more easily produced than the interesting fabrick of a tragedy. Without these advantages many plays have succeeded; and many have failed, in which they have been dealt about with lavish profusion. It does not follow that he who can carve a frieze with minuteness, elegance, and ease, has a conception equal to the extent, propriety, and grandeur of a temple.
Whatever were the motives of Heming and Condell for admitting this tragedy among those of Shakspeare, all it has gained by their favour is, to be delivered down to posterity with repeated remarks of contempt—a Thersites babbling among heroes, and introduced only to be derided.'-STEEVENS.
SATURNINUS, Son to the late Emperor of Rome, and after.
wards declared Emperor himself. 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
Sons to Titus Andronicus.
TAMORA, Queen of the Goths.
Kinsmen of Titus, Senators, Tribunes, Officers, Soldiers,
SCENE–Rome; and the Country near it.
SCENE I. Rome. Before the Capitol. The Tomb of the Andronici appearing; the Tri
bunes and Senators aloft, as in the Senate. Enter, below, SATURNINUS and his Followers, on one side ; and BASSIANUS and his Followers on the other; with Drum and Colours.
1 i.e. my title to the succession. The empire being elective and not successive, the emperors in being made profit of their own times.'-Raleigh,
? Staturninus means his seniority in point of age. In a subsequent passage Tamorą speaks of him as a very young man.
And suffer not dishononr to approach
weary wars against the barbarous Goths;