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Or make some sign how I may do thee ease:
Shall thy good uncle, and thy brother Lucius,
And thou, and I, sit round about some fountain ;
Looking all downwards, to behold our cheeks
How they are stain'd ; like meadows, yet not dry
With miry slime left on them by a flood ?
And in the fountain shall we gaze so long,
Till the fresh taste be taken from that clearness,
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 some device of further misery,
To make us wonder'd at in time to come.
Luc. Sweet father, cease your tears; for, at your grief,
See, how my wretched sister sobs and weeps.
Mar. Patience, dear niece :-good Titus, dry thine
Tit. Ah, Marcus, Marcus ! brother, well I wot,
Thy napkin cannot drink a tear of mine,
For thou, poor man, hast drown'd it with thine own.
Luc. Ah, my Lavinia, I will wipe thy cheeks.
Tit. Mark, Marcus, mark! I understand her signs:
Had she 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 sorrowful cheeks.
0, what a sympathy of woe is this !
As far from help as limbo is from bliss?!
+ “ her true tears ”-Malone.
- as limbo is from bliss !] The Limbus patrum, as it was called, is a place that the schoolmen supposed to be in the neighbourhood of hell, where the souls of the patriarchs were detained, and those good men who died before our Saviour's resurrection. Milton gives the name of Limbo to his Paradise of Fools.
Aar. Titus Andronicus, my lord the emperor
Sends thee this word,- That, if thou love thy sons,
Let 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 sons alive ;
And that shall be the ransome for their fault.
Tit. O, gracious emperor! O, gentle Aaron !
Did ever raven sing so like a lark,
That gives sweet tidings of the sun's uprise ?
With all my heart, I'll send the emperor
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-axe,
Writing destruction on the enemy's castle ?
0, none of both but are of high desert :
My hand hath been but idle ; let it serve
To ransome 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.
By heaven, it shall not go. Tit. Sirs, strive no more; such wither'd herbs as these Are meet for plucking up, and therefore mine.
Luc. Sweet father, if I shall be thought thy son, Let me redeem my
brothers both from death. Mar. And, for our father's sake, and mother's care, Now let me show a brother's love to thee.
Tit. Agree between you; I will
Luc. Then I'll go fetch an axe.
But I will use the axe.
[Exeunt Lucius and MARCUS. Tit. Come hither, Aaron ; I'll deceive them both; Lend me thy hand, and I will give thee mine.
Aar. If that be call'd deceit, I will be honest, And never, whilst I live, deceive men so :But I'll deceive you in another sort, And that you'll say, ere half an hour can pass. [Aside.
. [He cuts off Titus's Hand.
Tit. Now, stay your strife ; what shall be, is de
Good Aaron, give his majesty my hand :
Tell him, it was a hand that warded him
From thousand dangers; bid him bury it;
More hath it merited, that let it have.
As for my sons, say, I account of them
As jewels purchas'd at an easy price ;
And yet dear too, because I bought mine own.
Aar. I go, Andronicus: and for thy hand,
Look by and by to have thy sons with thee:-
Their heads, I mean.—0, how this villainy
Doth fat me with the very thoughts of it!
Let fools do good, and fair men call for grace,
Aaron will have his soul black like his face. Exit
Tit. O, here I lift this one hand up to heaven,
And bow this feeble ruin to the earth :
If any power pities wretched tears,
To that I call :—What, wilt thou kneel with me ?
Do then, dear heart; for heaven shall hear our prayers :
Or, with our sighs we'll breathe the welkin dim,
And stain the sun with fog, as sometime clouds,
When they do hug him in their melting bosoms
Mar. 0! brother, speak with possibilities, And do not break into these deep extremes.
Tit. Is not my sorrow deep, having no bottom ? Then be my passions bottomless with them.
Mar. But yet let reason govern thy lament.
Tit. If there were reason for these miseries, Then into limits could I bind my woes : When heaven doth weep, doth not the earth o'erflow? If the winds
doth not the sea wax mad,
Threat'ning the welkin with his big-swoln face?
And wilt thou have a reason for this coil ?
I am the sea; hark, how her sighs do blow!
She is the weeping welkin, I the earth:
Then must my sea be moved with her sighs;
Then must my earth with her continual tears
Become a deluge, overflow'd and drown'd:
For why? my bowels cannot hide her woes,
But like a drunkard must I vomit them.
Then give me leave; for losers will have leave
To ease their stomachs with their bitter tongues.
Enter a Messenger, with Two Heads and a Hand.
Mess. Worthy Andronicus, ill art thou repaid
For that good hand thou sent'st the emperor.
Here are the heads of thy two noble sons ;
And here's thy hand, in scorn to thee sent back;
Thy griefs their sports, thy resolution mock’d:
That woe is me to think upon thy woes,
More than remembrance of my father's death. [Exit.
Mar. Now let hot Ætna cool in Sicily, And be my heart an ever-burning hell! These miseries are more than may be borne ! To weep with them that weep doth ease some deal, But sorrow flouted at is double death. Luc. Ah, that this sight should make so deep a
wound, And yet detested life not shrink thereat!
That ever death should let life bear his name,
Where life hath no more interest but to breathe!
[LAVINIA kisses him. Mar. Alas, poor heart, that kiss is comfortless, As frozen water to a starved snake.
Tit. When will this fearful slumber have an end?
Mar. Now, farewell, flattery: Die, Andronicus;
Thou dost not slumber: see, thy two sons' heads;
Thy warlike hand; thy mangled daughter here;
Thy other banish'd son, with this dear sight
Struck pale and bloodless; and thy brother, I,
Even like a stony image, cold and numb.
Ah! now no more will I control thy griefs :
Rent off thy silver hair, thy other hand
Gnawing with thy teeth ; and be this dismal sight
The closing up of our most wretched eyes !
Now is a time to storm ; why art thou still ?
Tit. Ha, ha, ha!
Mar. Why dost thou laugh ? it fits not with this hour.
Tit. Why, I have not another tear to shed :
Besides, this sorrow is an enemy,
And would usurp upon my wat'ry eyes,
And make them blind with tributary tears ;
Then which way shall I find revenge's cave?
For these two heads do seem to speak to me;
And threat me, I shall never come to bliss,
Till all these mischiefs be return'd again,
Even in their throats that have committed them.
Come, let me see what task I have to do.
You heavy people, circle me about;
That I may turn me to each one of you,
And swear unto my soul to right your wrongs.
The vow is made.-Come, brother, take a head ;
And in this hand the other will I bear:
Lavinia, thou shalt be employed in these things;
Bear thou my hand, sweet wench, between thy teeth.
As for thee, boy, go, get thee from my sight;