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About the Author William Shakespeare was born in April 1564 in the town of Stratford-upon-Avon, on England’s Avon River. When he was eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway. The couple had three children—an older daughter Susanna and twins, Judith and Hamnet. Hamnet, Shakespeare’s only son, died in childhood. The bulk of Shakespeare’s working life was spent in the theater world of London, where he established himself professionally by the early 1590s. He enjoyed success not only as a playwright and poet, but also as an actor and shareholder in an acting company. Although some think that sometime between 1610 and 1613 Shakespeare retired from the theater and returned home to Stratford, where he died in 1616, others believe that he may have continued to work in London until close to his death. Read more Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. TITUS ANDRONICUS: ACT 1 Scene 1 Flourish. l Enter the Tribunes (including Marcus Andronicus) and Senators aloft. And then enter, Saturninus and his followers at one door, and Bassianus and his followers with Drums, and Trumpets.Saturninus Noble patricians, patrons of my right,Defend the justice of my cause with arms.And countrymen, my loving followers,Plead my successive title with your swords.I am his firstborn son that was the last That wore the imperial diadem of Rome.Then let my father's honors live in me,Nor wrong mine age with this indignity.Bassianus Romans, friends, followers, favorers of my right,If ever Bassianus, Caesar's son, Were gracious in the eyes of royal Rome,Keep, then, this passage to the Capitol,And suffer not dishonor to approachThe imperial seat, to virtue consecrate,To justice, continence, and nobility; But let desert in pure election shine,And, Romans, fight for freedom in your choice.Marcus, (stepping forward and holding up the crown)Princes that strive by factions and by friendsAmbitiously for rule and empery,Know that the people of Rome, for whom we stand A special party, have by common voice,In election for the Roman empery,Chosen Andronicus, surnamèd PiusFor many good and great deserts to Rome.A nobler man, a braver warrior,Lives not this day within the city walls.He by the Senate is accited homeFrom weary wars against the barbarous Goths,That with his sons, a terror to our foes,Hath yoked a nation strong, trained up in arms.Ten years are spent since first he undertookThis cause of Rome, and chastisèd with armsOur enemies' pride. Five times he hath returnedBleeding to Rome, bearing his valiant sonsIn coffins from the field. And now at last, laden with honor's spoils,Returns the good Andronicus to Rome,Renownèd Titus flourishing in arms.Let us entreat, by honor of his nameWhom worthily you would have now succeed,And in the Capitol and Senate's right,Whom you pretend to honor and adore,That you withdraw you and abate your strength,Dismiss your followers and, as suitors should,Plead your deserts in peace and humbleness.Saturninus How fair the tribune speaks to calm my thoughts!Bassianus Marcus Andronicus, so I do affyIn thy uprightness and integrity,And so I love and honor thee and thine,Thy noble brother Titus and his sons,And her to whom my thoughts are humbled all,Gracious Lavinia, Rome's rich ornament,That I will here dismiss my loving friends,And to my fortunes and the people's favorCommit my cause in balance to be weighed.Bassianus' Soldiers exit.Saturninus Friends that have been thus forward in my right,I thank you all and here dismiss you all,And to the love and favor of my countryCommit myself, my person, and the cause.Saturninus' Soldiers exit.Rome, be as just and gracious unto meAs I am confident and kind to thee.Open the gates and let me in.Bassianus Tribunes, and me, a poor competitor.Flourish.l They go up into the Senate House. The Tribunes and Senators exit from the upper stage.Enter a Captain.Captain Romans, make way! The good Andronicus,Patron of virtue, Rome's best champion,Successful in the battles that he fights,With honor and with fortune ièd with his swordAnd brought to yoke the enemies of Rome.Sound drums and trumpets, and then enter two of Titus' sons () and then two men bearing a coffin covered with black, then two other sons (), then Titus Andronicus, and then Tamora the Queen of Goths and her sons Chiron and Demetrius, with Aaron the Moor, and others as many as can be, then set down the coffin, and Titus speaks.Titus Hail Rome, victorious in thy mourning weeds! Lo, as the bark that hath discharged his fraughtReturns with precious lading to the bayFrom whence at first she weighed her anchorage,Cometh Andronicus, bound with laurel boughs,To resalute his country with his tears, Tears of true joy for his return to Rome.Thou great defender of this Capitol,Stand gracious to the rites that we intend.Romans, of five-and-twenty valiant sons,Half of the number that King Priam had,Behold the poor remains alive and dead.These that survive let Rome reward with love;These that I bring unto their latest home,With burial amongst their ancestors.Here Goths have given me leave to sheathe my sword.Titus, unkind and careless of thine own,Why suffer'st thou thy sons unburied yetTo hover on the dreadful shore of Styx?Make way to lay them by their brethren.They open the tomb.There greet in silence, as the dead are wont,And sleep in peace, slain in your country's wars.O sacred receptacle of my joys,Sweet cell of virtue and nobility,How many sons hast thou of mine in storeThat thou wilt never render to me more?Lucius Give us the proudest prisoner of the Goths,That we may hew his limbs and on a pile,Ad manes fratrum, sacrifice his fleshBefore this earthy prison of their bones,That so the shadows be not unappeasedNor we disturbed with prodigies on earth.Titus I give him you, the noblest that survives,The eldest son of this distressèd queen.Tamora Stay, Roman brethren! -- Gracious conqueror,Victorious Titus, rue the tears I shed,A mother's tears in passion for her son.And if thy sons were ever dear to thee,O think my son to be as dear to me.Sufficeth not that we are brought to RomeTo beautify thy triumphs and returnCaptive to thee and to thy Roman yoke,But must my sons be slaughtered in the streetsFor valiant doings in their country's cause?O, if to fight for king and commonwealWere piety in thine, it is in these!She kneels.Andronicus, stain not thy tomb with blood.Wilt thou draw near the nature of the gods?Draw near them then in being merciful.Sweet mercy is nobility's true badge.Thrice-noble Titus, spare my first-born son.Titus Patient yourself, madam, and pardon me.These are their brethren whom your Goths beheldAlive and dead, and for their brethren slainReligiously they ask a sacrifice.To this your son is marked, and die he must,T' appease their groaning shadows that are gone.Lucius Away with him, and make a fire straight,And with our swords upon a pile of woodLet's hew his limbs till they be clean consumed.Exit Titus' sons with Alarbus.Tamora, rising and speaking aside to her sonsO cruel, irreligious piety!Chiron, aside to Tamora and DemetriusBR>Was never Scythia half so barbarous!Demetrius, aside to Tamora and ChironOppose not Scythia to ambitious Rome!Alarbus goes to rest and we surviveTo tremble under Titus' threat'ning look.Then, madam, stand resolved, but hope withalThe selfsame gods that armed the Queen of TroyWith opportunity of sharp revengeUpon the Thracian tyrant in his tentMay favor Tamora the Queen of Goths(When Goths were Goths, and Tamora was queen)To quit the bloody wrongs upon her foes.Enter the sons of Andronicus again Lucius See, lord and father, how we have performedOur Roman rites. Alarbus' limbs are lopped,And entrails feed the sacrificing fire,Whose smoke like incense doth perfume the sky.Remaineth naught but to inter our brethren,And with loud larums welcome them to Rome.Titus Let it be so. And let AndronicusMake this his latest farewell to their souls.Sound trumpets, and lay the coffin in the tomb.In peace and honor rest you here, my sons,Rome's readiest champions, repose you here in rest,Secure from worldly chances and mishaps.Here lurks no treason, here no envy swells,Here grow no damnèd drugs; here are no storms,No noise, but silence and eternal sleep.In peace and honor rest you here, my sons.Enter Lavinia.Lavinia In peace and honor live Lord Titus long;My noble lord and father, live in fame.She kneels.Lo, at this tomb my tributary tearsI render for my brethren's obsequies, And at thy feet I kneel, with tears of joyShed on this earth for thy return to Rome.O bless me here with thy victorious hand,Whose fortunes Rome's best citizens applaud.Titus Kind Rome, that hast thus lovingly reservedThe cordial of mine age to glad my heart! --Lavinia, live, outlive thy father's daysAnd fame's eternal date, for virtue's praise.Lavinia rises.Enter Marcus Andronicus, carrying a white robe.Enter aloft Saturninus, Bassianus, Tribunes, Senators, and Guards.Marcus Long live Lord Titus, my belovèd brother,Gracious triumpher in the eyes of Rome.Titus Thanks, gentle tribune, noble brother Marcus.Marcus And welcome, nephews, from successful wars --You that survive, and you that sleep in fame.Fair lords, your fortunes are alike in all,That in your country's service drew your swords;But safer triumph is this funeral pomp,That hath aspired to Solon's happiness,And triumphs over chance in honor's bed. --Titus Andronicus, the people of Rome,Whose friend in justice thou hast ever been,Send thee by me, their tribune and their trust,This palliament of white and spotless hue,And name thee in election for the empireWith these our late deceasèd emperor's sons.Be candidatus, then, and put it onAnd help to set a head on headless Rome.Titus A better head her glorious body fitsThan his that shakes for age and feebleness.To Tribunes and Senators aloft. What, should I don this robe and trouble you?Be chosen with proclamations today,Tomorrow yield up rule, resign my life,And set abroad new business for you all?Rome, I have been thy soldier forty years,And led my country's strength successfully,And buried one and twenty valiant sons,Knighted in field, slain manfully in arms,In right and service of their noble country.Give me a staff of honor for mine age,But not a scepter to control the world.Upright he held it, lords, that held it last.Marcus Titus, thou shalt obtain and ask the empery.Saturninus Proud and ambitious tribune, canst thou tell?Titus Patience, Prince Saturninus.Saturninus Romans, do me right.Patricians, draw your swords and sheathe them notTill Saturninus be Rome's emperor. --Andronicus, would thou were shipped to hellRather than rob me of the people's hearts.Lucius Proud Saturnine, interrupter of the goodThat noble-minded Titus means to thee.Titus Content thee, prince. I will restore to theeThe people's hearts and wean them from themselves.Bassianus Andronicus, I do not flatter thee,But honor thee, and will do till I die.My faction if thou strengthen with thy friends,I will most thankful be, and thanks, to menOf noble minds, is honorable meed.Titus People of Rome, and people's tribunes here,I ask your voices and your suffrages.Will you bestow them friendly on Andronicus?Tribunes To gratify the good AndronicusAnd gratulate his safe return to Rome,The people will accept whom he admits.Titus Tribunes, I thank you, and this suit I make:That you create our emperor's eldest son,Lord Saturnine, whose virtues will, I hope,Reflect on Rome as rays on earthAnd ripen justice in this commonweal.Then, if you will elect by my advice,Crown him and say Long live our emperor.Marcus With voices and applause of every sort,Patricians and plebeians, we createLord Saturninus Rome's great emperor,And say Long live our Emperor Saturnine.A long flourish till and Guards> come down.Saturninus Titus Andronicus, for thy favors doneTo us in our election this day,I give thee thanks in part of thy deserts,And will with deeds requite thy gentleness.And for an onset, Titus, to advanceThy name and honorable family,Lavinia will I make my empress,Rome's royal mistress, mistress of my heart,And in the sacred her espouse.Tell me, Andronicus, doth this motion please thee?Titus It doth, my worthy lord, and in this matchI hold me highly honored of your Grace;And here in sight of Rome to Saturnine,King and commander of our commonweal,The wide world's emperor, do I consecrateMy sword, my chariot, and my prisoners,Presents well worthy Rome's imperious lord.Receive them, then, the tribute that I owe,Mine honor's ensigns humbled at thy feet.Saturninus Thanks, noble Titus, father of my life.How proud I am of thee and of thy giftsRome shall record. -- And when I do forgetThe least of these unspeakable deserts,Romans, forget your fealty to me.Titus, to TamoraNow, madam, are you prisoner to an emperor,To him that for your honor and your stateWill use you nobly, and your followers.Saturninus, asideA goodly lady, trust me, of the hueThat I would choose, were I to choose anew. --Clear up, fair queen, that cloudy countenance. Though chance of war hath wrought this change of cheer,Thou com'st not to be made a scorn in Rome.Princely shall be thy usage every way.Rest on my word, and let not discontentDaunt all your hopes. Madam, he comforts you Can make you greater than the Queen of Goths. --Lavinia, you are not displeased with this?Lavinia Not I, my lord, sith true nobilityWarrants these words in princely courtesy.Saturninus Thanks, sweet Lavinia. -- Romans, let us go.Ransomless here we set our prisoners free.Proclaim our honors, lords, with trump and drum.Flourish. Saturninus and his Guards exit, with Drums and Trumpets. Tribunes and Senators exit aloft.Bassianus Lord Titus, by your leave, this maid is mine.Titus How, sir? Are you in earnest then, my lord?Bassianus Ay, noble Titus, and resolved withal To do myself this reason and this right.Bassianus takes Lavinia by the arm.Marcus Suum cuique is our Roman justice.This prince in justice seizeth but his own.Lucius And that he will and shall, if Lucius live!Titus Traitors, avaunt! Where is the Emperor's guard?Enter Saturninus and his Guards.Treason, my lord. Lavinia is surprised.Saturninus Surprised? By whom?Bassianus By him that justly mayBear his betrothed from all the world away.Mutius Brothers, help to convey her hence away, And with my sword I'll keep this door safe.Bassianus, Lavinia, Marcus, Lucius, Quintus, and Martius exit.Titus, to SaturninusFollow, my lord, and I'll soon bring her back.Saturninus, Tamora, Demetrius, Chiron,Aaron, and Guards exit.Mutius My lord, you pass not here.Titus What, villain boy,Barr'st me my way in Rome?He stabs Mutius.Mutius Help, Lucius, help!Mutius dies.Enter Lucius.Lucius My lord, you are unjust, and more than so!In wrongful quarrel you have slain your son.Titus Nor thou nor he are any sons of mine.My sons would never so dishonor me.Traitor, restore Lavinia to the Emperor.Enter aloft the Emperor Saturninus with Tamoraand her two sons and Aaron the Moor.Lucius Dead if you will, but not to be his wifeThat is another's lawful promised love. He exits.Saturninus No, Titus, no, the Emperor needs her not,Nor her, nor thee, nor any of thy stock.I'll trust by leisure him that mocks me once,Thee never, nor thy traitorous haughty sons,Confederates all thus to dishonor me.Was none in Rome to make a staleBut Saturnine? Full well, Andronicus,Agree these deeds with that proud brag of thineThat said'st I begged the empire at thy hands.Titus O monstrous! What reproachful words are these?Saturninus But go thy ways. Go give that changing pieceTo him that flourished for her with his sword.A valiant son-in-law thou shalt enjoy,One fit to bandy with thy lawless sons,To ruffle in the commonwealth of Rome.Titus These words are razors to my wounded heart.Saturninus And therefore, lovely Tamora, Queen of Goths,That like the stately Phoebe 'mongst her nymphsDost overshine the gallant'st dames of Rome,If thou be pleased with this my sudden choice,Behold, I choose thee, Tamora, for my bride,And will create thee Emperess of Rome.Speak, Queen of Goths, dost thou applaud my choice?And here I swear by all the Roman gods,Sith priest and holy water are so near,And tapers burn so bright, and everythingIn readiness for Hymenaeus stand,I will not resalute the streets of RomeOr climb my palace till from forth this placeI lead espoused my bride along with me.Tamora And here in sight of heaven to Rome I swear,If Saturnine advance the Queen of Goths,She will a handmaid be to his desires,A loving nurse, a mother to his youth.Saturninus Ascend, fair queen, -- Lords, accompanyYour noble emperor and his lovely bride,Sent by the heavens for Prince Saturnine,Whose wisdom hath her fortune conquerèd.There shall we consummate our spousal rites.All but Titus exit.Titus I am not bid to wait upon this bride.Titus, when wert thou wont to walk alone,Dishonored thus and challengèd of wrongs?Enter Marcus and Titus' sons Lucius, Martius, and Quintus.Marcus O Titus, see! O, see what thou hast done!In a bad quarrel slain a virtuous son.Titus No, foolish tribune, no; no son of mine,Nor thou, nor these confederates in the deedThat hath dishonored all our family.Unworthy brother and unworthy sons!Lucius But let us give him burial as becomes,Give Mutius burial with our brethren.Titus Traitors, away! He rests not in this tomb.This monument five hundred years hath stood,Which I have sumptuously reedified.Here none but soldiers and Rome's servitorsRepose in fame, none basely slain in brawls.Bury him where you can. He comes not here.Marcus My lord, this is impiety in you. My nephew Mutius' deeds do plead for him.He must be buried with his brethren.Martius And shall, or him we will accompany.Titus And shall? What villain was it spake that word?Martius He that would vouch it in any place but here.Titus What, would you bury him in my despite?Marcus No, noble Titus, but entreat of theeTo pardon Mutius and to bury him.Titus Marcus, even thou hast struck upon my crest,And with these boys mine honor thou hast wounded.My foes I do repute you every one.So trouble me no more, but get you gone.Quintus He is not with himself; let us withdraw.Martius Not I, till Mutius' bones be buried.The brother (Marcus) and the sons(Lucius, Martius, and Quintus) kneel.Marcus Brother, for in that name doth nature plead --Martius Father, and in that name doth nature speak --Titus Speak thou no more, if all the rest will speed.Marcus Renownèd Titus, more than half my soul --Lucius Dear father, soul and substance of us all --MarcusSuffer thy brother Marcus to interHis noble nephew here in virtue's nest,That died in honor and Lavinia's cause.Thou art a Roman; be not barbarous.The Greeks upon advice did bury Ajax,That slew himself, and wise Laertes' sonDid graciously plead for his funerals.Let not young Mutius, then, that was thy joy,Be barred his entrance here.Titus Rise, Marcus, rise.They rise.The dismall'st day is this that e'er I saw,To be dishonored by my sons in Rome.Well, bury him, and bury me the next.They put Mutius in the tomb.Lucius There lie thy bones, sweet Mutius, with thy friends',Till we with trophies do adorn thy tomb.They all except Titus kneel and say:No man shed tears for noble Mutius.He lives in fame, that died in virtue's cause.All but Marcus and Titus exit.Marcus My lord, to step out of these dreary dumps,How comes it that the subtle Queen of GothsIs of a sudden thus advanced in Rome?Titus I know not, Marcus, but I know it is.Whether by device or no, the heavens can tell.Is she not then beholding to the manThat brought her for this high good turn so far?Yes, and will nobly him remunerate.Flourish. Enter the Emperor Saturninus, Tamora and her two sons, with Aaron the Moor, Drums and Trumpets, at one door. Enter at the other door Bassianus and Lavinia, with Lucius, Martius, and Quintus, and others.Saturninus So, Bassianus, you have played your prize.God give you joy, sir, of your gallant bride.Bassianus And you of yours, my lord. I say no more,Nor wish no less, and so I take my leave.Saturninus Traitor, if Rome have law or we have power,Thou and thy faction shall repent this rape.Bassianus Rape call you it, my lord, to seize my own,My true betrothèd love and now my wife?But let the laws of Rome determine all.Meanwhile am I possessed of that is mine.Saturninus 'Tis good, sir, you are very short with us.But if we live, we'll be as sharp with you.Bassianus My lord, what I have done, as best I may,Answer I must, and shall do with my life.Only thus much I give your Grace to know:By all the duties that I owe to Rome,This noble gentleman, Lord Titus here,Is in opinion and in honor wronged,That in the rescue of LaviniaWith his own hand did slay his youngest son,In zeal to you, and highly moved to wrathTo be controlled in that he frankly gave.Receive him then to favor, Saturnine,That hath expressed himself in all his deedsA father and a friend to thee and Rome.Titus Prince Bassianus, leave to plead my deeds.'Tis thou, and those, that have dishonored me.Rome and the righteous heavens be my judgeHow I have loved and honored Saturnine. He kneels.Tamora, to SaturninusMy worthy lord, if ever TamoraWere gracious in those princely eyes of thine,Then hear me speak indifferently for all,And at my suit, sweet, pardon what is past.Saturninus What, madam, be dishonored openly,And basely put it up without revenge?Tamora Not so, my lord; the gods of Rome forfendI should be author to dishonor you.But on mine honor dare I undertakeFor good Lord Titus' innocence in all,Whose fury not dissembled speaks his griefs.Then at my suit look graciously on him.Lose not so noble a friend on vain suppose,Nor with sour looks afflict his gentle heart.Aside to Saturninus. My lord, be ruled by me; bewon at last.rDissemble all your griefs and discontents.You are but newly planted in your throne.Lest, then, the people, and patricians too,Upon a just survey take Titus' partAnd so supplant you for ingratitude,Which Rome reputes to be a heinous sin.Yield at entreats, and then let me alone.I'll find a day to massacre them allAnd raze their faction and their family,The cruel father and his traitorous sons,To whom I sued for my dear son's life,And make them know what 'tis to let a queenKneel in the streets and beg for grace in vain.Aloud. Come, come, sweet emperor. -- Come,Andronicus. -- Take up this good old man, and cheer the heartThat dies in tempest of thy angry frown.Saturninus Rise, Titus, rise. My empress hath prevailed.Titus, risingI thank your Majesty and her, my lord.These words, these looks, infuse new life in me.Tamora Titus, I am incorporate in Rome,A Roman now adopted happily,And must advise the Emperor for his good.This day all quarrels die, Andronicus. -- And let it be mine honor, good my lord,That I have reconciled your friends and you. --For you, Prince Bassianus, I have passed My word and promise to the EmperorThat you will be more mild and tractable. --And fear not, lords -- and you, Lavinia.By my advice, all humbled on your knees,You shall ask pardon of his Majesty. Marcus, Lavinia, Lucius, Martius, and Quintus kneel.Lucius We do, and vow to heaven and to his HighnessThat what we did was mildly as we might,Tend'ring our sister's honor and our own.Marcus That on mine honor here do I protest.Saturninus Away, and talk not; trouble us no more.Tamora Nay, nay, sweet emperor, we must all be friends.The tribune and his nephews kneel for grace.I will not be denied. Sweetheart, look back.Saturninus Marcus, for thy sake, and thy brother's here,And at my lovely Tamora's entreats, I do remit these young men's heinous faults.Stand up. They rise.Lavinia, though you left me like a churl,I found a friend, and sure as death I sworeI would not part a bachelor from the priest.Come, if the Emperor's court can feast two brides,Copyright © 2005 by The Folger Shakespeare Library Read more See all Editorial Reviews