Rome. Before Titus’ house.
(Tamora; Demetrius; Chiron; Titus; Marcus; Publius; Caius; Valentine; Lavinia)
Tamora and her sons have disguised themselves as the personifications of Revenge, Rape, and Murder. They visit Titus, hoping to play on his madness to get him to help get Lucius away from the Goths. He recognizes them, but they convince him that this is a mere resemblance. Or at least they think they convince him. He is much less mad than they think, and his speech is laden with double meanings that threaten them. Tamora tells him to invite Lucius to a feast, and he sends Marcus to arrange this. As she is about to leave Titus requests that she leave Rape and Murder with him, and to humor him she agrees. As soon as Tamora is gone Titus has the lads seized, bound and gagged. Titus comes back to them with Lavinia, and informs them what he is going to do: having killed them, he will grind their bones and mix it with their blood to make pies which he will fill with their heads and feed to Tamora at the parley feast. He slits their throats as Lavinia holds a basin to collect the blood. (205 lines)
Enter Tamora and her two sons, Demetrius and Chiron, disguised.
Thus, in this strange and sad habiliment,
I will encounter with Andronicus,
And say I am Revenge, sent from below
To join with him and right his heinous wrongs.
Knock at his study, where they say he keeps
To ruminate strange plots of dire revenge;
Tell him Revenge is come to join with him,
And work confusion on his enemies.
They knock, and Titus above opens his study door.
Who doth molest my contemplation?
Is it your trick to make me ope the door
That so my sad decrees may fly away,
And all my study be to no effect?
You are deceiv’d, for what I mean to do
See here in bloody lines I have set down:
And what is written shall be executed.
Titus, I am come to talk with thee.
No, not a word, how can I grace my talk,
Wanting a hand to give’t that accord?
Thou hast the odds of me, therefore no more.
If thou didst know me, thou wouldst talk with me.
I am not mad, I know thee well enough.
Witness this wretched stump, witness these crimson lines.
Witness these trenches made by grief and care,
Witness the tiring day and heavy night,
Witness all sorrow, that I know thee well
For our proud Empress, mighty Tamora.
Is not thy coming for my other hand?
Know, thou sad man, I am not Tamora;
She is thy enemy, and I thy friend.
I am Revenge, sent from th’ infernal kingdom
To ease the gnawing vulture of thy mind,
By working wreakful vengeance on thy foes.
Come down and welcome me to this world’s light;
Confer with me of murder and of death.
There’s not a hollow cave or lurking-place,
No vast obscurity or misty vale,
Where bloody murder or detested rape
Can couch for fear, but I will find them out,
And in their ears tell them my dreadful name,
Revenge, which makes the foul offender quake.
Art thou Revenge? And art thou sent to me,
To be a torment to mine enemies?
I am, therefore come down and welcome me.
Do me some service ere I come to thee.
Lo by thy side where Rape and Murder stands;
Now give some surance that thou art Revenge—
Stab them, or tear them on thy chariot-wheels,
And then I’ll come and be thy wagoner,
And whirl along with thee about the globes.
Provide thee two proper palfreys, black as jet,
To hale thy vengeful wagon swift away,
And find out murderers in their guilty caves;
And when thy car is loaden with their heads,
I will dismount, and by thy wagon-wheel
Trot like a servile footman all day long,
Even from Hyperion’s rising in the east,
Until his very downfall in the sea;
And day by day I’ll do this heavy task,
So thou destroy Rapine and Murder there.
These are my ministers, and come with me.
Are they thy ministers? What are they call’d?
Rape and Murder, therefore called so
’Cause they take vengeance of such kind of men.
Good Lord, how like the Empress’ sons they are!
And you, the Empress! But we wordly men
Have miserable, mad, mistaking eyes.
O sweet Revenge, now do I come to thee,
And if one arm’s embracement will content thee,
I will embrace thee in it by and by.
This closing with him fits his lunacy.
What e’er I forge to feed his brain-sick humors,
Do you uphold and maintain in your speeches,
For now he firmly takes me for Revenge,
And being credulous in this mad thought,
I’ll make him send for Lucius his son;
And whilst I at a banquet hold him sure,
I’ll find some cunning practice out of hand,
To scatter and disperse the giddy Goths,
Or at the least make them his enemies.
See here he comes, and I must ply my theme.
Enter Titus below.
Long have I been forlorn, and all for thee.
Welcome, dread Fury, to my woeful house;
Rapine and Murder, you are welcome too.
How like the Empress and her sons you are!
Well are you fitted, had you but a Moor.
Could not all hell afford you such a devil?
For well I wot the Empress never wags
But in her company there is a Moor;
And would you represent our queen aright,
It were convenient you had such a devil.
But welcome as you are: what shall we do?
What wouldst thou have us do, Andronicus?
Show me a murderer, I’ll deal with him.
Show me a villain that hath done a rape,
And I am sent to be reveng’d on him.
Show me a thousand that hath done thee wrong,
And I will be revenged on them all.
Look round about the wicked streets of Rome,
And when thou find’st a man that’s like thyself,
Good Murder, stab him, he’s a murderer.
Go thou with him, and when it is thy hap
To find another that is like to thee,
Good Rapine, stab him, he is a ravisher.
Go thou with them, and in the Emperor’s court
There is a queen, attended by a Moor;
Well shalt thou know her by thine own proportion,
For up and down she doth resemble thee.
I pray thee do on them some violent death,
They have been violent to me and mine.
Well hast thou lesson’d us, this shall we do.
But would it please thee, good Andronicus,
To send for Lucius, thy thrice-valiant son,
Who leads towards Rome a band of warlike Goths,
And bid him come and banquet at thy house,
When he is here, even at thy solemn feast,
I will bring in the Empress and her sons,
The Emperor himself and all thy foes,
And at thy mercy shall they stoop and kneel,
And on them shalt thou ease thy angry heart.
What says Andronicus to this device?
Marcus, my brother! ’Tis sad Titus calls.
Go, gentle Marcus, to thy nephew Lucius;
Thou shalt inquire him out among the Goths:
Bid him repair to me, and bring with him
Some of the chiefest princes of the Goths.
Bid him encamp his soldiers where they are.
Tell him the Emperor and the Empress too
Feast at my house, and he shall feast with them.
This do thou for my love, and so let him,
As he regards his aged father’s life.
This will I do, and soon return again.
Now will I hence about thy business,
And take my ministers along with me.
Nay, nay, let Rape and Murder stay with me,
Or else I’ll call my brother back again,
And cleave to no revenge but Lucius.
Aside to her sons
What say you, boys, will you abide with him,
Whiles I go tell my lord the Emperor
How I have govern’d our determin’d jest?
Yield to his humor, smooth and speak him fair,
And tarry with him till I turn again.
I knew them all though they suppos’d me mad,
And will o’erreach them in their own devices,
A pair of cursed hell-hounds and their dame.
Madam, depart at pleasure, leave us here.
Farewell, Andronicus, Revenge now goes
To lay a complot to betray thy foes.
I know thou dost, and, sweet Revenge, farewell.
Tell us, old man, how shall we be employ’d?
Tut, I have work enough for you to do.
Publius, come hither! Caius and Valentine!
Enter Publius, Caius, and Valentine.
What is your will?
Know you these two?
The Empress’ sons I take them, Chiron, Demetrius.
Fie, Publius, fie, thou art too much deceiv’d.
The one is Murder, and Rape is the other’s name,
And therefore bind them, gentle Publius.
Caius and Valentine, lay hands on them.
Oft have you heard me wish for such an hour,
And now I find it, therefore bind them sure,
And stop their mouths if they begin to cry.
Publius, etc., lay hold on Chiron and Demetrius.
Villains, forbear, we are the Empress’ sons.
And therefore do we what we are commanded.
Stop close their mouths, let them not speak a word.
Is he sure bound? Look that you bind them fast.
Enter Titus Andronicus with a knife and Lavinia with a basin.
Come, come, Lavinia, look, thy foes are bound.
Sirs, stop their mouths, let them not speak to me,
But let them hear what fearful words I utter.
O villains, Chiron and Demetrius!
Here stands the spring whom you have stain’d with mud,
This goodly summer with your winter mix’d.
You kill’d her husband, and for that vild fault
Two of her brothers were condemn’d to death,
My hand cut off and made a merry jest;
Both her sweet hands, her tongue, and that more dear
Than hands or tongue, her spotless chastity,
Inhuman traitors, you constrain’d and forc’d.
What would you say if I should let you speak?
Villains, for shame you could not beg for grace.
Hark, wretches, how I mean to martyr you.
This one hand yet is left to cut your throats,
Whiles that Lavinia ’tween her stumps doth hold
The basin that receives your guilty blood.
You know your mother means to feast with me,
And calls herself Revenge, and thinks me mad.
Hark, villains, I will grind your bones to dust,
And with your blood and it I’ll make a paste,
And of the paste a coffin I will rear,
And make two pasties of your shameful heads,
And bid that strumpet, your unhallowed dam,
Like to the earth swallow her own increase.
This is the feast that I have bid her to,
And this the banquet she shall surfeit on,
For worse than Philomel you us’d my daughter,
And worse than Progne I will be reveng’d.
And now prepare your throats. Lavinia, come,
Receive the blood, and when that they are dead,
Let me go grind their bones to powder small,
And with this hateful liquor temper it,
And in that paste let their vile heads be bak’d.
Come, come, be every one officious
To make this banquet, which I wish may prove
More stern and bloody than the Centaurs’ feast.
He cuts their throats.
So now bring them in, for I’ll play the cook,
And see them ready against their mother comes.
Exeunt bearing the dead bodies.