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Whose circling shadows kings have sought to sleep in;
And might not gain so great a happiness,
As half thy love? Why dost not speak to me?-
Alas, a crimson river of warm blood,
Like to a bubbling fountain stirr'd with wind,
Doth rise and fall between thy rosed lips,
Coming and going with thy honey breath.
But, sure, some Tereus hath defloured thee;
And, lest thou should'st detect him, cut thy tongue.
Ah, now thou turn’st away thy face for shame!
And, notwithstanding all this loss of blood,-
As from a conduit with three issuing spouts,
Yet do thy cheeks look red as Titan's face,
Blushing to be encounter'd with a cloud.
Shall I speak for thee? shall I say, 'tis so?
O, that I knew thy heart; and knew the beast,
That I might rail at him to ease my mind!
Sorrow concealed, like an oven stopp’d,
Doth burn the heart to cinders where it is.
Fair Philomela, she but lost her tongue,
And in a tedious sampler sew'd her mind :
But, lovely niece, that mean is cut from thee;
A craftier Tereus hast thou met withal +,
And he hath cut those pretty fingers off,
That could have better sew'd than Philomel.
O, had the monster seen those lily hands
Tremble, like aspen leaves, upon a lute,
And make the silken strings delight to kiss them ;
He would not then have touch'd them for his life:
Or, had he heard the heavenly harmony,
Which that sweet tongue hath made,
He would have dropp'd his knife, and fell asleep,
As Cerberus at the Thracian poet's feet.
Come, let us go, and make thy father blind:
For such a sight will blind a father's eye:
One hour's storm will drown the fragrant meads;
What will whole months of tears thy father's eyes?
Do not draw back, for we will mourn with thee;
0, could our mourning ease thy misery! (Exeunt.
Enter Senators, Tribunes, and Officers of justice, with
Martius and Quintus, bound, passing on to the place of Execution; Titus going before, pleading.
Tit. Hear me, grave fathers ! noble tribunes, stay!
For pity of mine age, whose youth was spent
In dangerous wars, whilst you securely slept ;
For all my blood in Rome's great quarrel shed;
For all the frosty nights that I have watch’d;
And for these bitter tears, which now you see
Filling the aged wrinkles in my cheeks;
Be pitiful to my condemned sons,
Whose souls are not corrupted as 'tis thought!
For two and twenty sons I never wept,
Because they died in honour's lofty bed.
For these, these, tribunes t, in the dust I write
[Throwing himself on the ground.
My heart's deep languor, and my soul's sad tears.
Let my tears stanch the earth's dry appetite;
My sons' sweet blood will make it shame and blush.
[Exeunt Senators, Tribunes, &c. with the
O earth, I will befriend thee more with rain,
That shall distil from these two ancient urns,
Than youthful April shall with all his showers :
+ "good tribunes,”—Malone.
In summer's drought, I'll drop upon thee still ;
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 sons' blood.
Enter Lucius, with his Sword drawn.
O 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. O, 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 entreat of you.
Luc. My gracious lord, no tribune hears you speak.
T'it. Why, 'tis no matter, man: if they did heart, They would not mark me; or, if they did mark, All bootless to them, they'd not pity me. Therefore I tell my sorrows to the stones ; Who, though 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 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. 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.
Why, 'tis no matter, man : or if they did mark,
They would not pity me, yet plead I must,
All bootless unto them.”
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.
Mar. Titus, prepare thy noble † 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.
Mar. This was thy daughter.
Tit. Why, Marcus, so she is.
Luc. Ah me! this object kills me!
Tit. Faint-hearted boy, arise, and look upon her :-
Speak, my Lavinia, what accursed 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?
Mar. O, that delightful engine of her thoughts,
That blab’d them with such pleasing eloquence,
Is torn from forth that pretty hollow cage ;
t'"aged "- Malone, in his last edition.
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 ?
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 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.
Mar. Perchance, she weeps because they kill'd her
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;