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Gary Taylor, John Jowett, Terri Bourus, and Gabriel Egan (eds), The New Oxford Shakespeare: Modern Critical Edition

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Shakespeare4.1Sc. 6

Enter Lucius' son, and Lavinia running after him, and the boy flies from Editor’s Noteher with his books under his arm. Enter Titus and Marcus [with a staff].
Editor’s Note1

puer Help, grandsire, help! My aunt Lavinia

2Follows me everywhere, I know not why.

3Good uncle Marcus, see how swift she comes.

Editor’s Note4Alas, sweet aunt, I know not what you mean.


marcus Stand by me, Lucius. Do not fear thine aunt.


titus She loves thee, boy, too well to do thee harm.


puer Ay, when my father was in Rome she did.


marcus What means my niece Lavinia by these signs?


titus Fear her not, Lucius, somewhat doth she mean.

Link 10

[marcus] See, Lucius, see, how much she makes of thee:

11Somewhither would she have thee go with her.

Editor’s Note12Ah, boy, Cornelia never with more care

Editor’s Note13Read to her sons than she hath read to thee

Editor’s Note14Sweet poetry and Tully's Orator.

Editor’s Note15Canst thou not guess wherefore she plies thee thus?

pg 223 16

puer My lord, I know not, I, nor can I guess,

17Unless some fit or frenzy do possess her;

18For I have heard my grandsire say full oft

19Extremity of griefs would make men mad,

Editor’s Note20And I have read that Hecuba of Troy

21Ran mad for sorrow. That made me to fear,

22Although, my lord, I know my noble aunt

23Loves me as dear as e'er my mother did,

Editor’s Note24And would not but in fury fright my youth,

25Which made me down to throw my books and fly,

26Causeless, perhaps. But pardon me, sweet aunt,

Editor’s Note27And, madam, if my uncle Marcus go,

28I will most willingly attend your ladyship.


marcus Lucius, I will.

[Lavinia turns over the books with her stumps]

titus How now, Lavinia? Marcus, what means this?

31Some book there is that she desires to see.

32Which is it, girl, of these? Open them, boy.

[To Lavinia]

Editor’s Note33But thou art deeper read and better skilled.

34Come and take choice of all my library,

35And so beguile thy sorrow till the heavens

36Reveal the damned contriver of this deed.

Editor’s NoteWhat book?—

37Why lifts she up her arms in sequence thus?


marcus I think she means that there were more than one

Editor’s Note39Confederate in the fact. Ay, more there was,

40Or else to heaven she heaves them for revenge.


titus Lucius, what book is that she tosseth so?

Editor’s Note42

puer Grandsire, 'tis Ovid's Metamorphoses.

43My mother gave it me.

marcus For love of her that's gone,

Link 44Perhaps she culled it from among the rest.


titus Soft, so busily she turns the leaves.

46Help her. What would she find? Lavinia, shall I read?

Editor’s Note47This is the tragic tale of Philomel,

48And treats of Tereus' treason and his rape,

Editor’s Note49And rape, I fear, was root of thy annoy.

Editor’s Note50

marcus See, brother, see. Note how she quotes the leaves.

[Titus reads]
Editor’s Note51

titus Lavinia, wert thou thus surprised, sweet girl?

52Ravished and wronged as Philomela was?

Editor’s Note53Forced in the ruthless, vast, and gloomy woods?

Editor’s Note54See, see! Ay, such a place there is where we did hunt—

55O, had we never, never hunted there!—

Editor’s Note56Patterned by that the poet here describes,

57By nature made for murders and for rapes.

pg 224 58

marcus O, why should nature build so foul a den,

59Unless the gods delight in tragedies?


titus Give signs, sweet girl, for here are none but friends,

61What Roman lord it was durst do the deed?

Editor’s Note62Or slunk not Saturnine, as Tarquin erst,

63That left the camp to sin in Lucrece' bed?


marcus Sit down, sweet niece. Brother, sit down by me.

Editor’s NoteThey sit.

65Apollo, Pallas, Jove, or Mercury

Editor’s Note66Inspire me that I may this treason find.

67My lord, look here. Look here, Lavinia.

Editor’s NoteHe writes his name with his staff and guides it with feet and mouth

Editor’s Note68This sandy plot is plain. Guide, if thou canst,

69This after me. I here haue writ my name

70Without the help of any hand at all.

Editor’s Note71Cursed be that heart that forced us to this shift!

72Write thou, good niece, and here display at last

Editor’s Note73What God will have discovered for revenge.

74Heaven guide thy pen to print thy sorrows plain,

Link 75That we may know the traitors and the truth.

She takes the staff in her mouth, and guides it with her stumps, and writes

Editor’s Note76O, do ye read, my lord, what she hath writ?

Editor’s Note77

titus 'Stuprum—Chiron—Demetrius.'


marcus What, what!—The lustful sons of Tamora

79Performers of this heinous bloody deed?

Editor’s Note80

titus Magni Dominator poli,

81Tam lentus audis scelera, tam lentus vides?


marcus O, calm thee, gentle lord, although I know

83There is enough written upon this earth

84To stir a mutiny in the mildest thoughts,

Editor’s Note85And arm the minds of infants to exclaims.

86My lord, kneel down with me; Lavinia, kneel;

Editor’s Note87And kneel, sweet boy, the Roman Hector's hope,

All kneel

Editor’s Note88And swear with me—, as with the woeful fere

89And father of that chaste dishonoured dame

Editor’s Note90Lord Junius Brutus swore for Lucrece' rape—

Editor’s Note91That we will prosecute by good advice

92Mortal revenge upon these traitorous Goths,

Editor’s Note93And see their blood or die with this reproach.

They rise

titus 'Tis sure enough, an you knew how,

95But if you hunt these bear-whelps, then beware.

pg 225Editor’s Note96The dam will wake, and if she wind ye once

97She's with the lion deeply still in league,

98And lulls him whilst she playeth on her back,

Editor’s Note99And when he sleeps will she do what she list.

Editor’s Note100You are a young huntsman, Marcus. Let alone,

Editor’s Note101And come, I will go get a leaf of brass

Editor’s Note102And with a gad of steel will write these words,

103And lay it by. The angry northern wind

Editor’s Note104Will blow these sands like Sibyl's leaves abroad,

105And where's our lesson then? Boy, what say you?

Editor’s Note106

puer I say, my lord, that if I were a man

Link 107Their mother's bed-chamber should not be safe

Editor’s Note108For these base bondmen to the yoke of Rome.


marcus Ay, that's my boy! Thy father hath full oft

110For his ungrateful country done the like.


puer And, uncle, so will I, an if I live.


titus Come, go with me into mine armoury.

Editor’s Note113Lucius, I'll fit thee; and withal, my boy

114Shall carry from me to the Empress' sons

115Presents that I intend to send them both.

116Come, come, thou'lt do my message, wilt thou not?


puer Ay, with my dagger in their bosoms, grandsire.


titus No, boy, not so, I'll teach thee another course.

Editor’s Note119Lavinia, come. Marcus, look to my house.

Editor’s Note120Lucius and I'll go brave it at the court,

121Ay, marry, will we, sir, and we'll be waited on.

Exeunt [all but Marcus]

marcus O heavens, can you hear a good man groan

Editor’s Note123And not relent, or not compassion him?

Editor’s Note124Marcus, attend him in his ecstasy,

125That hath more scars of sorrow in his heart

126Than foemen's marks upon his battered shield,

127But yet so just that he will not revenge.

Editor’s Note128Revenge the heavens for old Andronicus!


Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
6.0.2 Enter Titus and Marcus (probably from a different direction from Lavinia and Lucius)
Editor’s Note
6.1 Help, grandsire Lucius may drop his books here or at any time in the next four lines.
Editor’s Note
6.4 I know not what you mean Lavinia and the other characters may be very frustrated during this scene by the difficulties of communication.
Editor’s Note
6.12 Cornelia mother of the Gracchi, who devoted herself to their education and was regarded as the ideal Roman mother
Editor’s Note
6.13 Read to taught
Editor’s Note
6.14 Tully's Orator Cicero's De Oratore
Editor’s Note
6.15 plies importunes
Editor’s Note
6.20 Hecuba See 1.139.
Editor’s Note
6.24 but in fury except in a fit of madness
Editor’s Note
6.27 go i.e. will accompany us
Editor’s Note
6.33 deeper read i.e. than to read school books
Editor’s Note
6.36.1 What book? This question offers many performance opportunities, including solicitude or growing frustration.
Editor’s Note
6.39 fact crime
Editor’s Note
6.42 Ovid's Metamorphoses The classic Latin collection of tales was a staple of an Elizabethan literary education.
Editor’s Note
6.47 Philomel See 3.43.
Editor’s Note
6.49 annoy mental anguish
Editor’s Note
6.50 quotes examines
Editor’s Note
6.51 sweet girl? Lavinia signs agreement, emphatically and often emotionally, and may do so in response to each detail in his questions.
Editor’s Note
6.53 Forced raped
Editor’s Note
6.53 ruthless unpitying
Editor’s Note
6.53 vast desolate
Editor’s Note
6.54 See, see! Often printed in modern editions, and performed, as a separate line; it can be addressed to any of the individuals on stage, or all of them, or to himself)
Editor’s Note
6.56 Patterned by on the pattern of
Editor’s Note
6.62 Tarquin See 5.297.
Editor’s Note
6.62 erst formerly
Editor’s Note
6.64.1 They sit Here and in the next few lines, Marcus directs the other characters.
Editor’s Note
6.66 find discover the truth about
Editor’s Note
6.67.1 He writes his name Here, or after 'This after me', a line and a half below. Many productions do not show Marcus' written name (nor what Lavinia writes). To do so would require dirt or sand on stage.
Editor’s Note
6.68 plain flat
Editor’s Note
6.71 shift expedient
Editor’s Note
6.73 will have discovered wishes to be revealed
Editor’s Note
6.76–7 O … Demetrius Both of these lines are spoken by Titus in the 1623 edition.
Editor’s Note
6.77 Stuprum rape (Latin)
Editor’s Note
6.80–1 Magni … vides 'Ruler of the great heavens, art thou so slow to hear, so slow to see, crimes?' (adapted from Seneca's play Phaedra)
Editor’s Note
6.85 exclaims exclamations, protests
Editor’s Note
6.87 Roman Hector i.e. Lucius, champion of Rome as Hector was of Troy
Editor’s Note
6.88 fere husband
Editor’s Note
6.88 swear with me Oaths are often sworn on a sword.
Editor’s Note
6.90 Junius Brutus leader of those who drove the Tarquins from Rome; see Lucrece 1807–end.
Editor’s Note
6.91 good advice careful consideration
Editor’s Note
6.93 reproach dishonour
Editor’s Note
6.96 wind get wind of, scent
Editor’s Note
6.99 list pleases
Editor’s Note
6.100 young inexperienced
Editor’s Note
6.100 Let alone let it alone
Editor’s Note
6.101 leaf of brass sheet of brass: proverbially, 'Injuries are written in brass' (Dent, I71)
Editor’s Note
6.102 gad spike
Editor’s Note
6.104 Sibyl's leaves leaves on which the mystical Sybil of Cumae wrote prophecies, which sometimes blew away before they could be read
Editor’s Note
6.106 if I were a man This phrase is often played as a pivotal moment in a boy's evolution into violent manhood.
Editor’s Note
6.108 bondmen slaves
Editor’s Note
6.113 fit equip
Editor’s Note
6.119 look to look after, take care of
Editor’s Note
6.120 brave it cut a fine figure
Editor’s Note
6.123 compassion pity
Editor’s Note
6.124 ecstasy madness
Editor’s Note
6.128 Revenge the heavens may the heavens take revenge
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