Court of Titus’s house.
(Lucius; Marcus; First Goth; Second Goth; Third Goth; Aaron; Attendants; Emperor Saturninus; Empress Tamora; Aemilius; Tribunes; Senators; Titus; Lavinia)
Lucius places his men in ambush, in case Saturninus has made plans against them, and bids them have Aaron nearby so that it will be easy to confront Tamora with him. Saturninus arrives and is shocked that Lucius does not bow. Marcus asks everyone to calm down and sit for the meal. Titus, dressed as a cook, brings in the food. Lavinia is also present, veiled. Titus asks Saturninus’s advice on something: is it right for a father to kill a daughter who has been raped? Saturninus agrees that it’s quite the right thing to do, and Titus accordingly kills Lavinia. Saturninus is shocked and asks why he has done this; Titus explains, all the while encouraging Tamora to eat. Saturninus wants to know who harmed Lavinia, and when Titus names Chiron and Demetrius the Emperor has them sent for. Titus now reveals that they are in the pies that Tamora has been eating, and then stabs the Empress. Saturninus immediately kills Titus, and Lucius kills him for it. After an uproar, Marcus and Aemilius try to calm things down. Aemilius asks for an explanation; Lucius and Marcus recount all the wrongs done by Saturninus, Tamora, Chiron and Demetrius. Marcus offers to die for Rome if Rome wants it so abut Aemilius instead acclaims Lucius as the new Emperor. Marcus calls for Aaron to be brought in to punishment. While waiting for him, the remaining Andronici — Lucius, Marcus, and Young Lucius — mourn their dead patriarch. When he is brought in, Lucius orders that Aaron be buried up to the chest and starved to death. Saturninus he has buried with his family; Titus and Lavinia in the Andronicus fault; and Tamora’s body he has thrown to the wolves. (200 lines)
Enter Lucius, Marcus, and the Goths with Aaron prisoner, and his child in the arms of an Attendant.
Uncle Marcus, since ’tis my father’s mind
That I repair to Rome, I am content.
And ours with thine, befall what fortune will.
Good uncle, take you in this barbarous Moor,
This ravenous tiger, this accursed devil;
Let him receive no sust’nance; fetter him,
Till he be brought unto the Empress’ face
For testimony of her foul proceedings.
And see the ambush of our friends be strong,
I fear the Emperor means no good to us.
Some devil whisper curses in my ear,
And prompt me that my tongue may utter forth
The venomous malice of my swelling heart!
Away, inhuman dog, unhallowed slave!
Sirs, help our uncle to convey him in.
Exeunt Goths with Aaron. Sound trumpets within.
The trumpets show the Emperor is at hand.
Enter Emperor and Empress with Aemilius, Tribunes, Senators, and others.
What, hath the firmament more suns than one?
What boots it thee to call thyself a sun?
Rome’s emperor, and nephew, break the parle,
These quarrels must be quietly debated.
The feast is ready which the careful Titus
Hath ordain’d to an honorable end,
For peace, for love, for league, and good to Rome.
Please you, therefore, draw nigh and take your places.
Marcus, we will.
A table brought in. The company sit down.
Trumpets sounding, enter Titus like a cook, placing the dishes, and Lavinia with a veil over her face, young Lucius, and others.
Welcome, my lord; welcome, dread queen;
Welcome, ye warlike Goths; welcome, Lucius;
And welcome, all. Although the cheer be poor,
’Twill fill your stomachs, please you eat of it.
Why art thou thus attir’d, Andronicus?
Because I would be sure to have all well,
To entertain your Highness and your empress.
We are beholding to you, good Andronicus.
And if your Highness knew my heart, you were.
My Lord the Emperor, resolve me this:
Was it well done of rash Virginius
To slay his daughter with his own right hand,
Because she was enforc’d, stain’d, and deflow’r’d?
It was, Andronicus.
Your reason, mighty lord?
Because the girl should not survive her shame,
And by her presence still renew his sorrows.
A reason mighty, strong, and effectual,
A pattern, president, and lively warrant
For me, most wretched, to perform the like.
Die, die, Lavinia, and thy shame with thee,
And with thy shame thy father’s sorrow die!
He kills her.
What hast thou done, unnatural and unkind?
Kill’d her for whom my tears have made me blind.
I am as woeful as Virginius was,
And have a thousand times more cause than he
To do this outrage, and it now is done.
What, was she ravish’d? Tell who did the deed.
Will’t please you eat? Will’t please your Highness feed?
Why hast thou slain thine only daughter thus?
Not I, ’twas Chiron and Demetrius:
They ravish’d her, and cut away her tongue,
And they, ’twas they, that did her all this wrong.
Go fetch them hither to us presently.
Why, there they are, both baked in this pie;
Whereof their mother daintily hath fed,
Eating the flesh that she herself hath bred.
’Tis true, ’tis true, witness my knive’s sharp point.
He stabs the Empress.
Die, frantic wretch, for this accursed deed!
Can the son’s eye behold his father bleed?
There’s meed for meed, death for a deadly deed!
Kills Saturninus. A great tumult.
Exeunt Lucius, Marcus, Aemilius, and others and enter above.
You sad-fac’d men, people and sons of Rome,
By uproars sever’d, as a flight of fowl
Scatter’d by winds and high tempestuous gusts,
O, let me teach you how to knit again
This scattered corn into one mutual sheaf,
These broken limbs again into one body.
Let Rome herself be bane unto herself,
And she whom mighty kingdoms cur’sy to,
Like a forlorn and desperate castaway,
Do shameful execution on herself,
But if my frosty signs and chaps of age,
Grave witnesses of true experience,
Cannot induce you to attend my words.
Speak, Rome’s dear friend, as erst our ancestor,
When with his solemn tongue he did discourse
To love-sick Dido’s sad attending ear
The story of that baleful burning night,
When subtile Greeks surpris’d King Priam’s Troy.
Tell us what Sinon hath bewitch’d our ears,
Or who hath brought the fatal engine in
That gives our Troy, our Rome, the civil wound.
My heart is not compact of flint nor steel,
Nor can I utter all our bitter grief,
But floods of tears will drown my oratory,
And break my utt’rance, even in the time
When it should move ye to attend me most,
And force you to commiseration.
Here’s Rome’s young captain, let him tell the tale,
While I stand by and weep to hear him speak.
Then, gracious auditory, be it known to you
That Chiron and the damn’d Demetrius
Were they that murd’red our Emperor’s brother,
And they it were that ravished our sister.
For their fell faults our brothers were beheaded,
Our father’s tears despis’d, and basely cozen’d
Of that true hand that fought Rome’s quarrel out,
And sent her enemies unto the grave.
Lastly, myself unkindly banished,
The gates shut on me, and turn’d weeping out
To beg relief among Rome’s enemies,
Who drown’d their enmity in my true tears,
And op’d their arms to embrace me as a friend.
I am the turned forth, be it known to you,
That have preserv’d her welfare in my blood,
And from her bosom took the enemy’s point,
Sheathing the steel in my advent’rous body.
Alas, you know I am no vaunter, I;
My scars can witness, dumb although they are,
That my report is just and full of truth.
But soft, methinks I do digress too much,
Citing my worthless praise. O, pardon me,
For when no friends are by, men praise themselves.
Now is my turn to speak. Behold the child:
Pointing to Aaron’s child in the arms of an Attendant.
Of this was Tamora delivered,
The issue of an irreligious Moor,
Chief architect and plotter of these woes.
The villain is alive in Titus’ house,
And as he is to witness, this is true.
Now judge what cause had Titus to revenge
These wrongs unspeakable, past patience,
Or more than any living man could bear.
Now have you heard the truth, what say you, Romans?
Have we done aught amiss, show us wherein,
And, from the place where you behold us pleading,
The poor remainder of Andronici
Will hand in hand all headlong hurl ourselves,
And on the ragged stones beat forth our souls,
And make a mutual closure of our house.
Speak, Romans, speak, and if you say we shall,
Lo hand in hand Lucius and I will fall.
Come, come, thou reverent man of Rome,
And bring our Emperor gently in thy hand,
Lucius our Emperor, for well I know
The common voice do cry it shall be so.
Lucius, all hail, Rome’s royal Emperor!
Go, go into old Titus’ sorrowful house,
And hither hale that misbelieving Moor
To be adjudg’d some direful slaught’ring death,
As punishment for his most wicked life.
Lucius, Marcus, Aemilius, and the others descend.
Lucius, all hail, Rome’s gracious governor!
Thanks, gentle Romans, may I govern so,
To heal Rome’s harms, and wipe away her woe!
But, gentle people, give me aim a while,
For nature puts me to a heavy task.
Stand all aloof, but, uncle, draw you near
To shed obsequious tears upon this trunk.
O, take this warm kiss on thy pale cold lips,
These sorrowful drops upon thy blood-stain’d face,
The last true duties of thy noble son!
Tear for tear, and loving kiss for kiss,
Thy brother Marcus tenders on thy lips.
O, were the sum of these that I should pay
Countless and infinite, yet would I pay them!
Come hither, boy, come, come, and learn of us
To melt in showers; thy grandsire lov’d thee well.
Many a time he danc’d thee on his knee,
Sung thee asleep, his loving breast thy pillow;
Many a story hath he told to thee,
And bid thee bear his pretty tales in mind,
And talk of them when he was dead and gone.
How many thousand times hath these poor lips,
When they were living, warm’d themselves on thine!
O now, sweet boy, give them their latest kiss!
Bid him farewell, commit him to the grave,
Do them that kindness, and take leave of them.
O grandsire, grandsire, ev’n with all my heart
Would I were dead, so you did live again!
O Lord, I cannot speak to him for weeping,
My tears will choke me if I ope my mouth.
Enter Attendants with Aaron.
You sad Andronici, have done with woes.
Give sentence on this execrable wretch
That hath been breeder of these dire events.
Set him breast-deep in earth and famish him,
There let him stand and rave and cry for food.
If any one relieves or pities him,
For the offense he dies. This is our doom.
Some stay to see him fast’ned in the earth.
Ah, why should wrath be mute and fury dumb?
I am no baby, I, that with base prayers
I should repent the evils I have done.
Ten thousand worse than ever yet I did
Would I perform if I might have my will.
If one good deed in all my life I did,
I do repent it from my very soul.
Some loving friends convey the Emperor hence,
And give him burial in his fathers’ grave.
My father and Lavinia shall forthwith
Be closed in our household’s monument.
As for that ravenous tiger Tamora,
No funeral rite, nor man in mourning weed,
No mournful bell shall ring her burial,
But throw her forth to beasts and birds to prey:
Her life was beastly and devoid of pity,
And being dead, let birds on her take pity.