Gary Taylor, John Jowett, Terri Bourus, and Gabriel Egan (eds), The New Oxford Shakespeare: Modern Critical Edition
Enter Aaron alone [with gold]1
aaron the moor He that had wit would think that I had none,
Editor’s Note2To bury so much gold under a tree
Editor’s Note3And never after to inherit it.
4Let him that thinks of me so àbjectly
5Know that this gold must coin a stratagem
6Which (cunningly effected) will beget
7A very excellent piece of villainy.
8And so repose sweet gold for their unrest
Editor’s Note9That have their alms out of the Empress' chest.Enter Tamora alone to the Moorpg 205 10
tamora My lovely Aaron, wherefore look'st thou sad
Editor’s Note11When everything doth make a gleeful boast?
12The birds chant melody on every bush,
13The snakes lies rollèd in the cheerful sun,
14The green leaves quiver with the cooling wind
15And make a chequered shadow on the ground.
16Under their sweet shade, Aaron, let us sit,
17And whilst the babbling echo mocks the hounds,
18Replying shrilly to the well-tuned horns,
19As if a double hunt were heard at once,
20Let us sit down and mark their yelping noise;
Editor’s Note21And after conflict such as was supposed
Editor’s Note22The wand'ring prince and Dido once enjoyed
Editor’s Note23When with a happy storm they were surprised,
Editor’s Note24And curtained with a counsel-keeping cave,
25We may—each wreathèd in the other's arms,
26Our pastimes done—possess a golden slumber
27Whiles hounds and horns and sweet melodious birds
28Be unto us as is a nurse's song
29Of lullaby, to bring her babe asleep.Editor’s Note Link 30
aaron the moor Madam, though Venus govern your desires,
31Saturn is dominator over mine.
Editor’s Note32What signifies my deadly-standing eye,
33My silence, and my cloudy melancholy,
34My fleece of woolly hair that now uncurls
35Even as an adder when she doth unroll
36To do some fatal executïon?
Editor’s Note37No, madam, these are no venereal signs.
38Vengeance is in my heart, death in my hand,
39Blood and revenge are hammering in my head.
40Hark, Tamora, the empress of my soul,
41Which never hopes more heaven than rests in thee:
42This is the day of doom for Bassianus.
Editor’s Note43His Philomel must lose her tongue today,
44Thy sons make pillage of her chastity
45And wash their hands in Bassianus' blood.
46Seest thou this letter? Take it up, I pray thee,
Editor’s Note47And give the King this fatal-plotted scroll.[She takes the letter]
Editor’s Note48Now question me no more. We are espied.
Editor’s Note49Here comes a parcel of our hopeful booty,
50Which dreads not yet their lives' destructïon.Enter Bassianus and Lavinia52
aaron the moor [aside to Tamora] No more, great Empress; Bassianus comes.
Editor’s Note53Be cross with him, and I'll go fetch thy sons
54To back thy quarrels, whatso'er they be.[Exit]55
bassianus Who have we here? Rome's royal emperess
Editor’s Note56Unfurnished of her well-beseeming troop?
Editor’s Note57Or is it Dian habited like her
58Who hath abandonèd her holy groves
59To see the general hunting in this forest?Editor’s Note60
tamora Saucy controller of my private steps,
61Had I the power that some say Dian had,
62Thy temples should be planted presently
64Should dine upon thy new-transformèd limbs,
65Unmannerly intruder as thou art.66
lavinia Under your patience, gentle Empëress,
Editor’s Note67'Tis thought you have a goodly gift in horning,
Editor’s Note68And to be doubted that your Moor and you
Editor’s Note69Are singled forth to try experiments.
70Jove shield your husband from his hounds today—
Editor’s Note71'Tis pity they should take him for a stag.Editor’s Note72
bassianus Believe me, Queen, your swart Cimmerian
73Doth make your honour of his body's hue,
Editor’s Note74Spotted, detested, and abominable.
75Why are you sequesterèd from all your train,
76Dismounted from your snow-white goodly steed,
77And wandered hither to an obscure plot,
78Accompanied but with a barbarous Moor,
79If foul desire had not conducted you?80
lavinia And being intercepted in your sport,
Editor’s Note81Great reason that my noble lord be rated
82For sauciness. [To Bassianus] I pray you, let us hence,
Editor’s Note83And let her joy her raven-coloured love.
Editor’s Note84This valley fits the purpose passing well.85
bassianus The King my brother shall have note of this.Editor’s Note86
lavinia Ay, for these slips have made him noted long.
Editor’s Note87Good King, to be so mightily abused!88
tamora Why have I patience to endure all this?Enter Chiron and Demetrius89
demetrius How now, dear sovereign and our gracious mother,
90Why doth your highness look so pale and wan?pg 207 91
tamora Have I not reason, think you, to look pale?
Editor’s Note92These two have 'ticed me hither to this place.
93A barren detested vale, you see it is;
94The trees, though summer, yet forlorn and lean,
Editor’s Note95O'ercome with moss and baleful mistletoe.
96Here never shines the sun, here nothing breeds
Editor’s Note98And when they showed me this abhorrèd pit
99They told me here at dead time of the night
100A thousand fiends, a thousand hissing snakes,
Editor’s Note101Ten thousand swelling toads, as many urchins
102Would make such fearful and confusèd cries
103As any mortal body hearing it
104Should straight fall mad or else die suddenly.
105No sooner had they told this hellish tale
106But straight they told me they would bind me here
Editor’s Note107Unto the body of a dismal yew
108And leave me to this miserable death.
109And then they called me foul adulteress,
Editor’s Note110Lascivious Goth, and all the bitterest terms
111That ever ear did hear to such effect.
112And had you not by wondrous fortune come,
113This vengeance on me had they executed.
114Revenge it as you love your mother's life,
115Or be ye not henceforward called my children.116
demetrius This is a witness that I am thy son.He stabs Bassianus117
chiron And this for me, struck home to show my strength.[He also stabs Bassianus, who dies]Editor’s Note118
lavinia Ay, come Semiramis—nay, barbarous Tamora,
119For no name fits thy nature but thy own.Editor’s Note120
tamora [to Chiron] Give me the poniard. You shall know, my boys,
121Your mother's hand shall right your mother's wrong.Editor’s Note122
demetrius Stay, madam, here is more belongs to her.
123First thresh the corn, then after burn the straw.
Editor’s Note124This minion stood upon her chastity,
125Upon her nuptial vow, her loyalty,
Editor’s Note126And with that quaint hope braves your mightiness.
127And shall she carry this unto her grave?128
chiron An if she do, I would I were an eunuch.
129Drag hence her husband to some secret hole,
130And make his dead trunk pillow to our lust.131
tamora But when ye have the honey ye desire,pg 208 Editor’s Note133
chiron I warrant you, madam, we will make that sure.
134Come, mistress, now perforce we will enjoy
Editor’s Note135That nice-preservèd honesty of yours.136
lavinia O Tamora, thou bear'st a woman's face—137
tamora I will not hear her speak. Away with her!138
lavinia Sweet lords, entreat her hear me but a word.139
demetrius [to Tamora] Listen, fair madam! Let it be your glory
140To see her tears, but be your heart to them
141As unrelenting flint to drops of rain.142
lavinia When did the tiger's young ones teach the dam?
Editor’s Note143O, do not learn her wrath! She taught it thee.
Editor’s Note144The milk thou suck'st from her did turn to marble;
Editor’s Note145Even at thy teat thou hadst thy tyranny.
146Yet every mother breeds not sons alike.[To Chiron]
147Do thou entreat her show a woman's pity.148
chiron What, wouldst thou have me prove myself a bastard?149
lavinia 'Tis true, the raven doth not hatch a lark.
Editor’s Note150Yet have I heard—O, could I find it now!—
151The lion, moved with pity, did endure
152To have his princely paws pared all away.
Editor’s Note153Some say that ravens foster fòrlorn children
154The whilst their own birds famish in their nests.
155O, be to me, though thy hard heart say no,
Editor’s Note156Nothing so kind, but something pitiful.157
tamora I know not what it means. Away with her!158
lavinia O, let me teach thee for my father's sake,
159That gave thee life when well he might have slain thee.
160Be not obdùrate, open thy deaf ears.161
tamora Hadst thou in person ne'er offended me,
162Even for his sake am I pitiless.
163Remember, boys, I poured forth tears in vain
164To save your brother from the sacrifice,
165But fierce Andronicus would not relent.
166Therefore away with her, and use her as you will—
Link 167The worse to her, the better loved of me.Editor’s Note168
lavinia O Tamora, be called a gentle queen,
169And with thine own hands kill me in this place,
170For 'tis not life that I have begged so long;
171Poor I was slain when Bassianus died.Editor’s Note172
tamora What, begg'st thou then, fond woman? Let me go.Editor’s Note173
lavinia 'Tis present death I beg, and one thing more
174That womanhood denies my tongue to tell.
175O keep me from their worse-than-killing lust,
176And tumble me into some loathsome pit
177Where never man's eye may behold my body,
178Do this, and be a charitable murderer.Editor’s Note179
tamora So should I rob my sweet sons of their fee?
180No, let them satisfy their lust on thee.182
lavinia No grace, no womanhood—ah, beastly creature,
Editor’s Note183The blot and enemy to our general name,
Editor’s Note184Confusion fall—Editor’s Note185
chiron Nay then, I'll stop your mouth.[To Demetrius]
Bring thou her husband.
186This is the hole where Aaron bid us hide him.Editor’s Note[Demetrius throws the body of Bassianus into the pit]Editor’s Note187
tamora Farewell, my sons. See that you make her sure.Editor’s Note[Chiron and Demetrius exeunt, forcing Lavinia along with them]
188Ne'er let my heart know merry cheer indeed
Editor’s Note189Till all the Andronici be made away.
190Now will I hence to seek my lovely Moor,
Editor’s Note191And let my spleenful sons this trull deflower.Exit Enter Aaron, with [Quintus and Martius,] two of Titus' sons192
aaron the moor Come on, my lords, the better foot before.
193Straight will I bring you to the loathsome pit
194Where I espied the panther fast asleep.Editor’s Note195
quintus My sight is very dull, whate'er it bodes.196
martius And mine, I promise you. Were it not for shame,
197Well could I leave our sport to sleep awhile.[He falls into the pit]Editor’s Note198
quintus What, art thou fallen? What subtle hole is this,
199Whose mouth is covered with rude-growing briers
Link 200Upon whose leaves are drops of new-shed blood
201As fresh as morning dew distilled on flowers?
Editor’s Note202A very fatal place it seems to me.
203Speak, brother. Hast thou hurt thee with the fall?204
martius [from below] O, brother, with the dismall'st object hurt
205That ever eye with sight made heart lament.206
aaron the moor [aside] Now will I fetch the King to find them here,
207That he thereby may have a likely guess
208How these were they that made away his brother.Exit209
martius [from below] Why dost not comfort me and help me out
210From this unhallowed and bloodstainèd hole?Editor’s Note211
quintus I am surprisèd with an uncouth fear.
212A chilling sweat o'eruns my trembling joints.
213My heart suspects more than mine eye can see.214
martius [from below] To prove thou hast a true-divining heart,
215Aaron and thou look down into this den
216And see a fearful sight of blood and death.217
quintus Aaron is gone, and my compassionate heart
218Will not permit mine eyes once to behold
Editor’s Note219The thing whereat it trembles by surmise.
220O, tell me who it is, for ne'er till now
221Was I a child to fear I know not what.pg 210 Editor’s Note222
martius [from below] Lord Bassianus lies berayed in blood
Editor’s Note223All on a heap, like to a slaughtered lamb,
224In this detested dark, blood-drinking pit.225
quintus If it be dark, how dost thou know 'tis he?226
martius [from below] Upon his bloody finger he doth wear
Editor’s Note227A precious ring that lightens all this hole,
Editor’s Note228Which like a taper in some monument
229Doth shine upon the dead man's earthy cheeks,
Editor’s Note230And shows the ragged entrails of this pit.
Editor’s Note231So pale did shine the moon on Pyramus
Editor’s Note232When he by night lay bathed in maiden blood.
233O brother, help me with thy fainting hand—
234If fear hath made thee faint, as me it hath—
Editor’s Note236As hateful as Cocytus' misty mouth.237
quintus [reaching into the pit] Reach me thy hand, that I may help thee out,
238Or, wanting strength to do thee so much good,
239I may be plucked into the swallowing womb
240Of this deep pit, poor Bassianus' grave.
241I have no strength to pluck thee to the brink.242
martius [from below] Nor I no strength to climb without thy help.243
quintus Thy hand once more, I will not loose again
244Till thou art here aloft or I below.
245Thou canst not come to me; I come to thee.[He falls into the pit] Editor’s NoteEnter the Emperor Saturninus [with attendants] and Aaron the Moor246
saturninus Along with me! I'll see what hole is here,
247And what he is that now is leapt into it.[He speaks into the pit]
248Say, who art thou that lately didst descend
249Into this gaping hollow of the earth?250
martius The unhappy sons of old Andronicus,
251Brought hither in a most unlucky hour
252To find thy brother Bassianus dead.253
saturninus My brother dead! I know thou dost but jest.
254He and his lady both are at the lodge
Editor’s Note255Upon the north side of this pleasant chase.
256'Tis not an hour since I left them there.257
martius [from below] We know not where you left them all alive,
Editor’s Note258But, out alas, here have we found him dead!Enter Tamora, Titus Andronicus, and Lucius259
tamora Where is my lord the King?261
tamora Where is thy brother Bassianus?Editor’s Note262
saturninus Now to the bottom dost thou search my wound.
Link 263Poor Bassianus here lies murderèd.Editor’s Note264
tamora Then all too late I bring this fatal writ,
Editor’s Note265The complot of this timeless tragedy,
266And wonder greatly that man's face can fold
267In pleasing smiles such murderous tyranny.She giveth Saturnine a letterEditor’s Note268
Saturninus [reads the letter] 'An if we miss to meet him handsomely,
269Sweet huntsman—Bassianus 'tis we mean—
270Do thou so much as dig the grave for him.
271Thou know'st our meaning. Look for thy reward
272Among the nettles at the elder tree
273Which overshades the mouth of that same pit
274Where we decreed to bury Bassianus.
275Do this and purchase us thy lasting friends.'
276O Tamora, was ever heard the like?
277This is the pit, and this the elder tree.
278Look, sirs, if you can find the huntsman out
Editor’s Note279That should have murdered Bassianus here.280
aaron the moor My gracious lord, here is the bag of gold.Editor’s Note281
saturninus [to Titus] Two of thy whelps, fell curs of bloody kind,
282Have here bereft my brother of his life.
Editor’s Note283Sirs, drag them from the pit unto the prison.
284There let them bide until we have devised
285Some never-heard-of torturing pain for them.286
tamora What, are they in this pit? O wondrous thing!
Editor’s Note287How easily murder is discoverèd!288
titus [kneeling] High Emperor, upon my feeble knee
289I beg this boon, with tears not lightly shed:
290That this fell fault of my accursèd sons—
291Accursèd, if the fault be proved in them—292
saturninus If it be proved? You see it is apparent.
Link 293Who found this letter? Tamora, was it you?294
tamora Andronicus himself did take it up.295
titus I did, my lord, yet let me be their bail,
Editor’s Note296For by my father's reverend tomb I vow
297They shall be ready at your highness' will
Editor’s Note298To answer their suspicion with their lives.299
saturninus Thou shalt not bail them. See thou follow me.
300Some bring the murdered body, some the murderers.
301Let them not speak a word—the guilt is plain;
302For by my soul, were there worse end than death
Editor’s Note303That end upon them should be executed.[Exit]pg 212 304
tamora Andronicus, I will entreat the King.
Editor’s Note305Fear not thy sons, they shall do well enough.