Oldalképek
PDF
ePub
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

Chi. 0, 'tis a verse in Horace; I know it well:
I read it in the grammar long ago.
Aar. Ay, just!-a verse in Horace:-right, you

have it.
Now, what a thing it is to be an ass !
Here's no sound jest?! the old man hath

found their guilt; And sends the weapons wrapp'd about with lines,

Aside.
That wound, beyond their feeling, to the

quick.
But were our witty empress well a-foot,
She would applaud Andronicus' conceit.
But let her rest in her unrest awhile.-
And now, young lords, was't not a happy star
Led us to Rome, strangers, and more than so',
Captives, to be advanced to this height?
It did me good, before the palace gate
To brave the tribune in his brother's hearing.

Dem. But me more good, to see so great a lord
Basely insinuate, and send us gifts.

Aar. Had he not reason, Lord Demetrius ? Did you not use his daughter very friendly ?

Dem. I would, we had a thousand Roman dames
At such a bay, by turn to serve our lust.

Chi. A charitable wish, and full of love.
Aar. Here lacks but your mother for to say amen.
Chi. And that would she fortwenty thousand more.

Dem. Come, let us go: and pray to all the gods
For our beloved mother in her pains.
Aar. Pray to the devils; the gods have given us

[Aside. Flourish. Dem. Why do the emperor's trumpets flourish

thus?

deli

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

o'er.

[merged small][ocr errors]

? This mode of expression was common formerly. So in King Henry IV. Part 1.:- Here's no fine villany!'

[blocks in formation]

Chi. Belike, for joy the emperor hath a son.

Dem. Soft; who comes here? Enter a Nurse, with a Black-a-moor Child in her

Arms. Nur..

Good morrow,

lords: 0, tell me, did you see Aaron the Moor?

Aar. Well, more, or less, or ne'er a whit at all, Here Aaron is: and what with Aaron now?

Nur. O gentle Aaron, we are all undone! Now help, or woe betide thee evermore!

Aar. Why, what a caterwauling dost thou keep? What dost thou wrap and fumble in thine arms ?

Nur. O, that which I would hide from heaven's eye, Our empress’ shame, and stately Rome's disgrace;She is deliver'd, lords, she is deliver'd.

Aar. To whom?
Nur. I mean, she's brought to bed.
Aar.

Well, God
Give her good rest! What hath he sent her?
Nur.

A devil. Aar. Why, then she's the devil's dam; a joyful

issue. Nur. A joyless, dismal, black, and sorrowful issue: Here is the babe, as loathsome as a toad Amongst the fairest breeders of our clime. The empress

sends it thee, thy stamp, thy seal, And bids thee christen it with thy dagger's point,

Aar. Out, out, you whore! is black so base a hue? Sweet blowse, you are a beauteous blossom, sure.

Dem. Villain, what hast thou done?
Aar.

Done! that which thou
Canst not undo.
Chi.

Thou hast undone our mother.. Aar. Villain, I have done thy mother. Dem. And therein, hellish dog, thou hast undone. VOL. IX.

'U

Woe to her chance, and damnd her loathed choice!
Accurs'd the offspring of so foul a fiend !

Chi. It shall not live.
Aar.

It shall not die.
Nur. Aaron, it must: the mother wills it so.

Aar. What, must it, nurse ? then let no man but I, Do execution on my flesh and blood.

Dem. I'll broach 3 the tadpole on my rapier's point; Nurse, give it me; my sword shall soon despatch it. Aar. Sooner this sword shall plough thy bowels up,

[Takes the Child from the Nurse, and draws. Stay, murderous villains ! will you kill your brother? Now, by the burning tapers of the sky, That shone so brightly when this boy was got, He dies upon my scimitar's sharp point, That touches this my first-born son and heir ! I tell you, younglings, not Enceladus“, With all his threat’ning band of Typhon's brood, Nor great Alcides, nor the god of war, Shall seize this prey out of his father's hands. What, what; ye sanguine, shallow-hearted boys! Ye white-lim'd walls! ye alehouse painted signs! Coal black is better than another hue, In that it scorns to bear another hue: For all the water in the ocean Can never turn a swan's black legs to white, Although she lave them hourly in the flood.

[ocr errors]

3 In Lust's Dominion, by Marlowe, a play in its style bearing a near resemblance to Titus Andronicus, Eleazar, the Moor, a character of unmingled ferocity, like Aaron, and, like him, the paramour of a royal mistress, exclaims:

Run, and with a voice
Erected high as mine, say thus, thus threaten
To Roderigo and the Cardinal,
Seek no queens here; I'll broach them, if they do,

Upon my falcbion's point.'
4 A giant, the son of Titan and Terra.

Tell the emperess from me, I am of age
To keep mine own; excuse it how she can.

Dem. Wilt thou betray thy noble mistress thus ?.

Aar. My mistress is my mistress; this, myself; The vigour, and the picture of my youth : This, before all the world, do I prefer; This, maugre all the world, will I keep safe, Or some of you

shall smoke for it in Rome. Dem. By this our mother is for ever sham’d. Chi. Rome will despise her for this foul escape 5. Nur. The emperor, in his rage, will doom her

death. Chi. I blush to think upon this ignomy.

Aar. Why, there's the privilege your beauty bears : Fye, treacherous hue! that will betray with blushing The close enacts and counsels of the heart?! Here's a young

lad fram'd of another leer 8: Look, how the black slave smiles upon the father; As who should say, Old lad, I am thine own. He is your brother, lords; sensibly fed Of that self-blood that first

gave And, from that womb, where you imprison'd were, He is enfranchised and come to light: Nay, he's your brother by the surer side, Although my seal be stamped in his face.

Nur. Aaron, what shall I say unto the empress ?

Dem. Advise thee, Aaron, what is to be done, And we will all subscribe to thy advice; Save thou the child, so we may all be safe.

Aar. Then sit we down, and let us all consult.

life to you;

5 i. e. this foul illegitimate child. So in King John:

• No scape of Nature.' 6 i. e. ignominy. 7 Thus also in Othello :-

They are close denotements working from the heart.' 8 Complexion. See vol. iii. p. 184, pote 6.

My son and I will have the wind of

you: Keep there: Now talk at pleasure of your safety.

[They sit on the Ground. Dem. How many women saw this child of his? Aar. Why, so, brave lords; When we all join in

league,
I am a lamb: but if you brave the Moor,
The chafed boar, the mountain lioness,
The ocean swells not so as Aaron storms.-
But, say again, how many saw the child ?

Nur. Cornelia the midwife, and myself,
And no one else, but the deliver'd empress.

Aar. The emperess, the midwife, and yourself: Two may keep counsel, when the third's away9; Go to the empress; tell her, this I said:

[Stabbing her. Weke, weke!—so cries a pig, prepar'd to the spit. Dem. What mean’st thou, Aaron? Wherefore

didst thou this?
Aar. 0, lord, sir, 'tis a deed of policy:
Shall she live to betray this guilt of ours?
A long-tongu'd babbling gossip? no, lords, no.
And now be it known to you my full intent.
Not far, one Muliteus lives 10, my countryman,
His wife but yesternight was brought to bed;
His child is like to her, fair as you are :
Go pack 11 with him, and give the mother gold,
And tell them both the circumstance of all;
And how by this their child shall be advanc'd
And be received for the emperor's heir,

9 This proverb is introduced in Romeo and Juliet, Act ii.

10 The word lives, which is wanting in the old copies was supplied by Rowe. Steevens thinks Muliteus a corruption for Muly lives. 11 To pack is to contrive insidiously. So in King Lear:

• Snuffs and packings of the duke's.'

« ElőzőTovább »