Rome. A public place.
(Titus; Marcus; Young Lucius; Publius; Sempronius; Caius; Clown)
Titus and his kinsmen march in, all carrying bows and arrows. Titus is somewhat round the bend, to everyone’s dismay, asking people to get in touch with the gods. Titus hands out arrows with letters attached to them, one to each god, and tells them to shoot them into the sky; Marcus surreptitiously directs them to shoot them into the Emperor’s courtyard. A none-too-bright commoner passing by is pressed into service to deliver a knife and a letter to Saturninus. (106 lines)
Enter Titus, old Marcus, young Lucius, and other gentlemen (Publius, Sempronius, Caius) with bows; and Titus bears the arrows with letters on the ends of them.
Come, Marcus, come; kinsmen, this is the way.
Sir boy, let me see your archery.
Look ye draw home enough, and ’tis there straight.
Terras Astraea reliquit;
Be you rememb’red, Marcus, she’s gone, she’s fled.
Sirs, take you to your tools. You, cousins, shall
Go sound the ocean, and cast your nets;
Happily you may catch her in the sea;
Yet there’s as little justice as at land.
No, Publius and Sempronius, you must do it,
’Tis you must dig with mattock and with spade,
And pierce the inmost centre of the earth;
Then when you come to Pluto’s region,
I pray you deliver him this petition.
Tell him it is for justice and for aid,
And that it comes from old Andronicus,
Shaken with sorrows in ungrateful Rome.
Ah, Rome! Well, well, I made thee miserable
What time I threw the people’s suffrages
On him that thus doth tyrannize o’er me.
Go get you gone, and pray be careful all,
And leave you not a man-of-war unsearch’d.
This wicked emperor may have shipp’d her hence,
And, kinsmen, then we may go pipe for justice.
O Publius, is not this a heavy case,
To see thy noble uncle thus distract?
Therefore, my lords, it highly us concerns
By day and night t’ attend him carefully,
And feed his humor kindly as we may,
Till time beget some careful remedy.
Kinsmen, his sorrows are past remedy,
Join with the Goths, and with revengeful war
Take wreak on Rome for this ingratitude,
And vengeance on the traitor Saturnine.
Publius, how now? How now, my masters?
What, have you met with her?
No, my good lord, but Pluto sends you word,
If you will have Revenge from hell, you shall.
Marry, for Justice, she is so employ’d,
He thinks, with Jove in heaven, or some where else,
So that perforce you must needs stay a time.
He doth me wrong to feed me with delays.
I’ll dive into the burning lake below,
And pull her out of Acheron by the heels.
Marcus, we are but shrubs, no cedars we,
No big-bon’d men fram’d of the Cyclops’ size,
But metal, Marcus, steel to the very back,
Yet wrung with wrongs more than our backs can bear.
And sith there’s no justice in earth nor hell,
We will solicit heaven and move the gods
To send down Justice for to wreak our wrongs.
Come, to this gear. You are a good archer, Marcus;
He gives them the arrows.
“Ad Jovem,” that’s for you; here, “Ad Apollinem”;
“Ad Martem,” that’s for myself;
Here, boy, “To Pallas”; here, “To Mercury”;
“To Saturn,” Caius, not to Saturnine:
You were as good to shoot against the wind.
To it, boy! Marcus, loose when I bid.
Of my word, I have written to effect,
There’s not a god left unsolicited.
Kinsmen, shoot all your shafts into the court,
We will afflict the Emperor in his pride.
Now, masters, draw.
O, well said, Lucius!
Good boy, in Virgo’s lap; give it Pallas.
My lord, I aim’d a mile beyond the moon,
Your letter is with Jupiter by this.
Publius, Publius, what hast thou done?
See, see, thou hast shot off one of Taurus’ horns.
This was the sport, my lord. When Publius shot,
The Bull, being gall’d, gave Aries such a knock
That down fell both the Ram’s horns in the court,
And who should find them but the Empress’ villain?
She laugh’d, and told the Moor he should not choose
But give them to his master for a present.
Why, there it goes. God give his lordship joy!
Enter the Clown with a basket, and two pigeons in it.
News, news from heaven! Marcus, the post is come.
Sirrah, what tidings? Have you any letters?
Shall I have justice? What says Jupiter?
Ho, the gibbet-maker? He says that he hath taken them down again, for the man must not be hang’d till the next week.
But what says Jupiter, I ask thee?
Alas, sir, I know not Jubiter, I never drank with him in all my life.
Why, villain, art not thou the carrier?
Ay, of my pigeons, sir, nothing else.
Why, didst thou not come from heaven?
From heaven! Alas, sir, I never came there. God forbid I should be so bold to press to heaven in my young days. Why, I am going with my pigeons to the tribunal plebs, to take up a matter of brawl betwixt my uncle and one of the Emperal’s men.
Why, sir, that is as fit as can be to serve for your oration, and let him deliver the pigeons to the Emperor from you.
Tell me, can you deliver an oration to the Emperor with a grace?
Nay, truly, sir, I could never say grace in all my life.
Sirrah, come hither, make no more ado,
But give your pigeons to the Emperor.
By me thou shalt have justice at his hands.
Hold, hold; mean while here’s money for thy charges.
Give me pen and ink. Sirrah, can you with a grace deliver up a supplication?
Then here is a supplication for you; and when you come to him, at the first approach you must kneel, then kiss his foot, then deliver up your pigeons, and then look for your reward. I’ll be at hand, sir, see you do it bravely.
I warrant you, sir, let me alone.
Sirrah, hast thou a knife? Come let me see it.
Here, Marcus, fold it in the oration,
For then hast made it like an humble suppliant.
And when thou hast given it the Emperor,
Knock at my door, and tell me what he says.
God be with you, sir, I will.
Come, Marcus, let us go. Publius, follow me.