Actus Tertius.

Enter the Iudges and Senatours with Titus two sonnes bound, passing on the Stage to the place of execution, and Titus going before pleading.

Ti. Heare me graue fathers, noble Tribunes stay, For pitty of mine age, whose youth was spent In dangerous warres, whilst you securely slept: For all my blood in Romes great quarrell shed, For all the frosty nights that I haue watcht, And for these bitter teares, which now you see, Filling the aged wrinkles in my cheekes, Be pittifull to my condemned Sonnes, Whose soules is not corrupted as 'tis thought: For two and twenty sonnes I neuer wept, Because they died in honours lofty bed. Andronicus lyeth downe, and the Iudges passe by him. For these, Tribunes, in the dust I write My harts deepe languor, and my soules sad teares: Let my teares stanch the earths drie appetite. My sonnes sweet blood, will make it shame and blush: O earth! I will be friend thee more with raine


That shall distill from these two ancient ruines, Then youthfull Aprill shall with all his showres In summers drought: Ile drop vpon thee still, In Winter with warme teares Ile melt the snow, And keepe eternall spring time on thy face, So thou refuse to drinke my deare sonnes blood. Enter Lucius, with his weapon drawne.

Oh reuerent Tribunes, oh gentle aged men, Vnbinde my sonnes, reuerse the doome of death, And let me say (that neuer wept before) My teares are now preualing Oratours

Lu. Oh noble father, you lament in vaine, The Tribunes heare not, no man is by, And you recount your sorrowes to a stone

Ti. Ah Lucius for thy brothers let me plead, Graue Tribunes, once more I intreat of you

Lu. My gracious Lord, no Tribune heares you speake

Ti. Why 'tis no matter man, if they did heare They would not marke me: oh if they did heare They would not pitty me. Therefore I tell my sorrowes bootles to the stones. Who though they cannot answere my distresse, Yet in some sort they are better then the Tribunes, For that they will not intercept my tale; When I doe weepe, they humbly at my feete Receiue my teares, and seeme to weepe with me, And were they but attired in graue weedes, Rome could afford no Tribune like to these. A stone is as soft waxe, Tribunes more hard then stones: A stone is silent, and offendeth not, And Tribunes with their tongues doome men to death. But wherefore stand'st thou with thy weapon drawne? Lu. To rescue my two brothers from their death, For which attempt the Iudges haue pronounc'st My euerlasting doome of banishment

Ti. O happy man, they haue befriended thee: Why foolish Lucius, dost thou not perceiue That Rome is but a wildernes of Tigers? Tigers must pray, and Rome affords no prey But me and mine: how happy art thou then, From these deuourers to be banished? But who comes with our brother Marcus heere? Enter Marcus and Lauinia.

Mar. Titus, prepare thy noble eyes to weepe, Or if not so, thy noble heart to breake: I bring consuming sorrow to thine age

Ti. Will it consume me? Let me see it then

Mar. This was thy daughter

Ti. Why Marcus so she is

Luc. Aye me this obiect kils me

Ti. Faint-harted boy, arise and looke vpon her, Speake Lauinia, what accursed hand Hath made thee handlesse in thy Fathers sight? What foole hath added water to the Sea? Or brought a faggot to bright burning Troy? My griefe was at the height before thou cam'st, And now like Nylus it disdaineth bounds: Giue me a sword, Ile chop off my hands too, For they haue fought for Rome, and all in vaine: And they haue nur'st this woe, In feeding life: In bootelesse prayer haue they bene held vp, And they haue seru'd me to effectlesse vse. Now all the seruice I require of them, Is that the one will helpe to cut the other: 'Tis well Lauinia, that thou hast no hands, For hands to do Rome seruice, is but vaine

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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