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Titus Andronicus (Folger Shakespeare Library)

Shakespeare, William Author

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FOLGER Shakespeare Library
The world's leading centerfor Shakespeare studies
Each edition includes:
· Freshly edited text based on the best early printed version of the play
· Full explanatory notes conveniently placed on pages facing the text of the play
· Scene-by-scene plot summaries
· A key to famous lines and phrases
· An introduction to reading Shakespeare's language
· An essay by a leading Shakespeare scholar providing a modern perspective on the play
· Illustrations from the Folger Shakespeare Library's vast holdings of rare books
Essay by Alexander Leggatt
The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., is home to the world's largest collection of Shakespeare's printed works, and a magnet for Shakespeare scholars from around the globe. In addition to exhibitions open to the public throughout the year, the Folger offers a full calendar of performances and programs. For more information, visit www.folger.edu.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

William Shakespeare was born in April 1564 in the town of Stratford-upon-Avon, on England’s Avon River. When he was eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway. The couple had three children—their older daughter Susanna and the twins, Judith and Hamnet. Hamnet, Shakespeare’s only son, died in childhood. The bulk of Shakespeare’s working life was spent, not in Stratford, but in the theater world of London, where he established himself professionally by the early 1590s. He enjoyed success not only as a playwright, but as an actor and shareholder in an acting company. Sometime between 1610 and 1613, Shakespeare is thought to have retired from the stage and returned home to Stratford, where he died in 1616.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

TITUS ANDRONICUS: ACT 1

Scene 1

Flourish. l Enter the Tribunes (including Marcus Andronicus) and Senators aloft. And then enter, Saturninus and his followers at one door, and Bassianus and his followers with Drums, and Trumpets.

Saturninus

Noble patricians, patrons of my right,

Defend the justice of my cause with arms.

And countrymen, my loving followers,

Plead my successive title with your swords.

I am his firstborn son that was the last

That wore the imperial diadem of Rome.

Then let my father's honors live in me,

Nor wrong mine age with this indignity.

Bassianus

Romans, friends, followers, favorers of my right,

If ever Bassianus, Caesar's son,

Were gracious in the eyes of royal Rome,

Keep, then, this passage to the Capitol,

And suffer not dishonor to approach

The imperial seat, to virtue consecrate,

To justice, continence, and nobility;

But let desert in pure election shine,

And, Romans, fight for freedom in your choice.

Marcus, (stepping forward and holding up the crown)

Princes that strive by factions and by friends

Ambitiously for rule and empery,

Know that the people of Rome, for whom we stand

A special party, have by common voice,

In election for the Roman empery,

Chosen Andronicus, surnamèd Pius

For many good and great deserts to Rome.

A nobler man, a braver warrior,

Lives not this day within the city walls.

He by the Senate is accited home

From weary wars against the barbarous Goths,

That with his sons, a terror to our foes,

Hath yoked a nation strong, trained up in arms.

Ten years are spent since first he undertook

This cause of Rome, and chastisèd with arms

Our enemies' pride. Five times he hath returned

Bleeding to Rome, bearing his valiant sons

In coffins from the field.

And now at last, laden with honor's spoils,

Returns the good Andronicus to Rome,

Renownèd Titus flourishing in arms.

Let us entreat, by honor of his name

Whom worthily you would have now succeed,

And in the Capitol and Senate's right,

Whom you pretend to honor and adore,

That you withdraw you and abate your strength,

Dismiss your followers and, as suitors should,

Plead your deserts in peace and humbleness.

Saturninus

How fair the tribune speaks to calm my thoughts!

Bassianus

Marcus Andronicus, so I do affy

In thy uprightness and integrity,

And so I love and honor thee and thine,

Thy noble brother Titus and his sons,

And her to whom my thoughts are humbled all,

Gracious Lavinia, Rome's rich ornament,

That I will here dismiss my loving friends,

And to my fortunes and the people's favor

Commit my cause in balance to be weighed.

Bassianus' Soldiers exit.

Saturninus

Friends that have been thus forward in my right,

I thank you all and here dismiss you all,

And to the love and favor of my country

Commit myself, my person, and the cause.

Saturninus' Soldiers exit.

Rome, be as just and gracious unto me

As I am confident and kind to thee.

Open the gates and let me in.

Bassianus

Tribunes, and me, a poor competitor.

Flourish.l They go up into the Senate House. The Tribunes and Senators exit from the upper stage.

Enter a Captain.

Captain

Romans, make way! The good Andronicus,

Patron of virtue, Rome's best champion,

Successful in the battles that he fights,

With honor and with fortune ièd with his sword

And brought to yoke the enemies of Rome.

Sound drums and trumpets, and then enter two of Titus' sons ( ) and then two men bearing a coffin covered with black, then two other sons ( ), then Titus Andronicus, and then Tamora the Queen of Goths and her sons Chiron and Demetrius, with Aaron the Moor, and others as many as can be, then set down the coffin, and Titus speaks.

Titus

Hail Rome, victorious in thy mourning weeds!

Lo, as the bark that hath discharged his fraught

Returns with precious lading to the bay

From whence at first she weighed her anchorage,

Cometh Andronicus, bound with laurel boughs,

To resalute his country with his tears,

Tears of true joy for his return to Rome.

Thou great defender of this Capitol,

Stand gracious to the rites that we intend.

Romans, of five-and-twenty valiant sons,

Half of the number that King Priam had,

Behold the poor remains alive and dead.

These that survive let Rome reward with love;

These that I bring unto their latest home,

With burial amongst their ancestors.

Here Goths have given me leave to sheathe my sword.

Titus, unkind and careless of thine own,

Why suffer'st thou thy sons unburied yet

To hover on the dreadful shore of Styx?

Make way to lay them by their brethren.

They open the tomb.

There greet in silence, as the dead are wont,

And sleep in peace, slain in your country's wars.

O sacred receptacle of my joys,

Sweet cell of virtue and nobility,

How many sons hast thou of mine in store

That thou wilt never render to me more?

Lucius

Give us the proudest prisoner of the Goths,

That we may hew his limbs and on a pile,

Ad manes fratrum, sacrifice his flesh

Before this earthy prison of their bones,

That so the shadows be not unappeased

Nor we disturbed with prodigies on earth.

Titus

I give him you, the noblest that survives,

The eldest son of this distressèd queen.

Tamora

Stay, Roman brethren! -- Gracious conqueror,

Victorious Titus, rue the tears I shed,

A mother's tears in passion for her son.

And if thy sons were ever dear to thee,

O think my son to be as dear to me.

Sufficeth not that we are brought to Rome

To beautify thy triumphs and return

Captive to thee and to thy Roman yoke,

But must my sons be slaughtered in the streets

For valiant doings in their country's cause?

O, if to fight for king and commonweal

Were piety in thine, it is in these!
She kneels.

Andronicus, stain not thy tomb with blood.

Wilt thou draw near the nature of the gods?

Draw near them then in being merciful.

Sweet mercy is nobility's true badge.

Thrice-noble Titus, spare my first-born son.

Titus

Patient yourself, madam, and pardon me.

These are their brethren whom your Goths beheld

Alive and dead, and for their brethren slain

Religiously they ask a sacrifice.

To this your son is marked, and die he must,

T' appease their groaning shadows that are gone.

Lucius

Away with him, and make a fire straight,

And with our swords upon a pile of wood

Let's hew his limbs till they be clean consumed.

Exit Titus' sons with Alarbus.

Tamora, rising and speaking aside to her sons

O cruel, irreligious piety!

Chiron, aside to Tamora and Demetrius<BR>
Was never Scythia half so barbarous!

Demetrius, aside to Tamora and Chiron

Oppose not Scythia to ambitious Rome!

Alarbus goes to rest and we survive

To tremble under Titus' threat'ning look.

Then, madam, stand resolved, but hope withal

The selfsame gods that armed the Queen of Troy

With opportunity of sharp revenge

Upon the Thracian tyrant in his tent

May favor Tamora the Queen of Goths

(When Goths were Goths, and Tamora was queen)

To quit the bloody wrongs upon her foes.

Enter the sons of Andronicus again

Lucius

See, lord and father, how we have performed

Our Roman rites. Alarbus' limbs are lopped,

And entrails feed the sacrificing fire,

Whose smoke like incense doth perfume the sky.

Remaineth naught but to inter our brethren,

And with loud larums welcome them to Rome.

Titus

Let it be so. And let Andronicus

Make this his latest farewell to their souls.

Sound trumpets, and lay the coffin in the tomb.

In peace and honor rest you here, my sons,

Rome's readiest champions, repose you here in rest,

Secure from worldly chances and mishaps.

Here lurks no treason, here no envy swells,

Here grow no damnèd drugs; here are no storms,

No noise, but silence and eternal sleep.

In peace and honor rest you here, my sons.

Enter Lavinia.

Lavinia

In peace and honor live Lord Titus long;

My noble lord and father, live in fame.

She kneels.

Lo, at this tomb my tributary tears

I render for my brethren's obsequies,

And at thy feet I kneel, with tears of joy

Shed on this earth for thy return to Rome.

O bless me here with thy victorious hand,

Whose fortunes Rome's best citizens applaud.

Titus

Kind Rome, that hast thus lovingly reserved

The cordial of mine age to glad my heart! --

Lavinia, live, outlive thy father's days

And fame's eternal date, for virtue's praise.

Lavinia rises.

Enter Marcus Andronicus, carrying a white robe.

Enter aloft Saturninus, Bassianus, Tribunes, Senators, and Guards.


Marcus

Long live Lord Titus, my belovèd brother,

Gracious triumpher in the eyes of Rome.

Titus

Thanks, gentle tribune, noble brother Marcus.

Marcus

And welcome, nephews, from successful wars --

You that survive, and you that sleep in fame.

Fair lords, your fortunes are alike in all,

That in your country's service drew your swords;

But safer triumph is this funeral pomp,

That hath aspired to Solon's happiness,

And triumphs over chance in honor's bed. --

Titus Andronicus, the people of Rome,

Whose friend in justice thou hast ever been,

Send thee by me, their tribune and their trust,

This palliament of white and spotless hue,

And name thee in election for the empire

With these our late deceasèd emperor's sons.

Be candidatus, then, and put it on

And help to set a head on headless Rome.

Titus

A better head her glorious body fits

Than his that shakes for age and feebleness.

To Tribunes and Senators aloft. What, should I don this robe and trouble you?

Be chosen with proclamations today,

Tomorrow yield up rule, resign my life,

And set abroad new business for you all?

Rome, I have been thy soldier forty years,

And led my country's strength successfully,

And buried one and twenty valiant sons,

Knighted in field, slain manfully in arms,

In right and service of their noble country.

Give me a staff of honor for mine age,

But not a scepter to control the world.

Upright he held it, lords, that held it last.

Marcus

Titus, thou shalt obtain and ask the empery.

Saturninus

Proud and ambitious tribune, canst thou tell?

Titus

Patience, Prince Saturninus.

Saturninus

Romans, do me right.

Patricians, draw your swords and sheathe them not

Till Saturninus be Rome's emperor. --

Andronicus, would thou were shipped to hell

Rather than rob me of the people's hearts.

Lucius

Proud Saturnine, interrupter of the good

That noble-minded Titus means to thee.

Titus

Content thee, prince. I will restore to thee

The people's hearts and wean them from themselves.

Bassianus

Andronicus, I do not flatter thee,

But honor thee, and will do till I die.

My faction if thou strengthen with thy friends,

I will most thankful be, and thanks, to men

Of noble minds, is honorable meed.

Titus

People of Rome, and people's tribunes here,

I ask your voices and your suffrages.

Will you bestow them friendly on Andronicus?

Tribunes

To gratify the good Andronicus

And gratulate his safe return to Rome,

The people will accept whom he admits.

Titus

Tribunes, I thank you, and this suit I make:

That you create our emperor's eldest son,

Lord Saturnine, whose virtues will, I hope,

Reflect on Rome as rays on earth

And ripen justice in this commonweal.

Then, if you will elect by my advice,

Crown him and say "Long live our emperor."

Marcus

With voices and applause of every sort,

Patricians and plebeians, we create

Lord Saturninus Rome's great emperor,

And say "Long live our Emperor Saturnine."

A long flourish till
and Guards> come down.


Saturninus

Titus Andronicus, for thy favors done

To us in our election this day,

I give thee thanks in part of thy deserts,

And will with deeds requite thy gentleness.

And for an onset, Titus, to advance

Thy name and honorable family,

Lavinia will I make my empress,

Rome's royal mistress, mistress of my heart,

And in the sacred
her espouse.

Tell me, Andronicus, doth this motion please the...

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