Chi. O 'tis a verse in Horace, I know it well. I read it in the Grammer long agoe

Moore. I iust, a verse in Horace: right, you haue it, Now what a thing it is to be an Asse? Heer's no sound iest, the old man hath found their guilt, And sends the weapons wrapt about with lines, That wound (beyond their feeling) to the quick: But were our witty Empresse well a foot, She would applaud Andronicus conceit: But let her rest, in her vnrest a while. And now young Lords, was't not a happy starre Led vs to Rome strangers, and more then so; Captiues, to be aduanced to this height? It did me good before the Pallace gate, To braue the Tribune in his brothers hearing

Deme. But me more good, to see so great a Lord Basely insinuate, and send vs gifts

Moore. Had he not reason Lord Demetrius? Did you not vse his daughter very friendly? Deme. I would we had a thousand Romane Dames At such a bay, by turne to serue our lust

Chi. A charitable wish, and full of loue

Moore. Heere lack's but your mother for to say, Amen

Chi. And that would she for twenty thousand more

Deme. Come, let vs go, and pray to all the Gods For our beloued mother in her paines

Moore. Pray to the deuils, the gods haue giuen vs ouer.


Dem. Why do the Emperors trumpets flourish thus? Chi. Belike for ioy the Emperour hath a sonne

Deme. Soft, who comes heere? Enter Nurse with a blacke a Moore childe.

Nur. Good morrow Lords: O tell me, did you see Aaron the Moore? Aron. Well, more or lesse, or nere a whit at all, Heere Aaron is, and what with Aaron now? Nurse. Oh gentle Aaron, we are all vndone. Now helpe, or woe betide thee euermore

Aron. Why, what a catterwalling dost thou keepe? What dost thou wrap and fumble in thine armes? Nurse. O that which I would hide from heauens eye, Our Empresse shame, and stately Romes disgrace, She is deliuered Lords, she is deliuered

Aron. To whom? Nurse. I meane she is brought a bed? Aron. Wel God giue her good rest, What hath he sent her? Nurse. A deuill

Aron. Why then she is the Deuils Dam: a ioyfull issue

Nurse. A ioylesse, dismall, blacke &, sorrowfull issue, Heere is the babe as loathsome as a toad, Among'st the fairest breeders of our clime, The Empresse sends it thee, thy stampe, thy seale, And bids thee christen it with thy daggers point

Aron. Out you whore, is black so base a hue? Sweet blowse, you are a beautious blossome sure

Deme. Villaine what hast thou done? Aron. That which thou canst not vndoe

Chi. Thou hast vndone our mother

Deme. And therein hellish dog, thou hast vndone, Woe to her chance, and damn'd her loathed choyce, Accur'st the off-spring of so foule a fiend

Chi. It shall not liue

Aron. It shall not die

Nurse. Aaron it must, the mother wils it so

Aron. What, must it Nurse? Then let no man but I Doe execution on my flesh and blood

Deme. Ile broach the Tadpole on my Rapiers point: Nurse giue it me, my sword shall soone dispatch it

Aron. Sooner this sword shall plough thy bowels vp. Stay murtherous villaines, will you kill your brother? Now by the burning Tapers of the skie, That shone so brightly when this Boy was got, He dies vpon my Semitars sharpe point, That touches this my first borne sonne and heire. I tell you younglings, not Enceladus With all his threatning band of Typhons broode, Nor great Alcides, nor the God of warre, Shall ceaze this prey out of his fathers hands: What, what, ye sanguine shallow harted Boyes, Ye white-limb'd walls, ye Ale-house painted signes, Cole-blacke is better then another hue, In that it scornes to beare another hue: For all the water in the Ocean, Can neuer turne the Swans blacke legs to white, Although she laue them hourely in the flood: Tell the Empresse from me, I am of age To keepe mine owne, excuse it how she can Deme. Wilt thou betray thy noble mistris thus? Aron. My mistris is my mistris: this my selfe, The vigour, and the picture of my youth: This, before all the world do I preferre, This mauger all the world will I keepe safe, Or some of you shall smoake for it in Rome

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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