Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > Titus Andronicus
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William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Oxford Shakespeare.  1914.
 
Titus Andronicus
 
Act V. Scene II.
 
Rome.  Before TITUS’ House.
 
Enter TAMORA, DEMETRIUS, and CHIRON, disguised.
  Tam.  Thus, in this strange and sad habiliment,
I will encounter with Andronicus,
And say I am Revenge, sent from below        5
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.        10
 
Enter TITUS, above.
  Tit.  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?        15
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.
  Tam.  Titus, I am come to talk with thee.
  Tit.  No, not a word; how can I grace my talk,        20
Wanting a hand to give it action?
Thou hast the odds of me; therefore no more.
  Tam.  If thou didst know me, thou wouldst talk with me.
  Tit.  I am not mad; I know thee well enough:
Witness this wretched stump, witness these crimson lines;        25
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?        30
  Tam.  Know, thou sad man, I am not Tamora;
She is thy enemy, and I thy friend:
I am Revenge, sent from the infernal kingdom,
To ease the gnawing vulture of thy mind,
By working wreakful vengeance on thy foes.        35
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        40
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.
  Tit.  Art thou Revenge? and art thou sent to me,
To be a torment to mine enemies?        45
  Tam.  I am; therefore come down, and welcome me.
  Tit.  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,        50
And then I’ll come and be thy waggoner,
And whirl along with thee about the globe.
Provide two proper palfreys, black as jet,
To hale thy vengeful waggon swift away,
And find out murderers in their guilty caves:        55
And when thy car is loaden with their heads,
I will dismount, and by the waggon-wheel
Trot like a servile footman all day long,
Even from Hyperion’s rising in the east
Until his very downfall in the sea:        60
And day by day I’ll do this heavy task,
So thou destroy Rapine and Murder there.
  Tam.  These are my ministers, and come with me.
  Tit.  Are these thy ministers? what are they call’d?
  Tam.  Rapine and Murder; therefore called so,        65
’Cause they take vengeance of such kind of men.
  Tit.  Good Lord, how like the empress’ sons they are,
And you the empress! but we worldly men
Have miserable, mad, mistaking eyes.
O sweet Revenge! now do I come to thee;        70
And, if one arm’s embracement will content thee,
I will embrace thee in it by and by.  [Exit above.
  Tam.  This closing with him fits his lunacy.
Whate’er I forge to feed his brain-sick fits,
Do you uphold and maintain in your speeches,        75
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        80
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.
  Tit.  Long have I been forlorn, and all for thee:        85
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?        90
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?        95
  Tam.  What wouldst thou have us do, Andronicus?
  Dem.  Show me a murderer, I’ll deal with him.
  Chi.  Show me a villain that hath done a rape,
And I am sent to be reveng’d on him.
  Tam.  Show me a thousand that have done thee wrong,        100
And I will be revenged on them all.
  Tit.  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        105
To find another that is like to thee,
Good Rapine, stab him; he’s a ravisher.
Go thou with them; and in the emperor’s court
There is a queen attended by a Moor;
Well mayst thou know her by thy own proportion,        110
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.
  Tam.  Well hast thou lesson’d us; this shall we do.
But would it please thee, good Andronicus,        115
To send for Lucius, thy thrice-valiant son,
Who leads towards Rome a band of war-like 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,        120
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?
  Tit.  Marcus, my brother! ’tis sad Titus calls.        125
 
Enter MARCUS.
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;        130
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.        135
  Mar.  This will I do, and soon return again.  [Exit.
  Tam.  Now will I hence about thy business,
And take my ministers along with me.
  Tit.  Nay, nay, let Rape and Murder stay with me;
Or else I’ll call my brother back again,        140
And cleave to no revenge but Lucius.
  Tam.  [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 humour, smooth and speak him fair,        145
And tarry with him till I turn again.
  Tit.  [Aside.]  I know them all, though they suppose me mad;
And will o’er-reach them in their own devices;
A pair of cursed hell-hounds and their dam.
  Dem.  [Aside to TAMORA.]  Madam, depart at pleasure; leave us here.        150
  Tam.  Farewell, Andronicus: Revenge now goes
To lay a complot to betray thy foes.  [Exit TAMORA.
  Tit.  I know thou dost; and, sweet Revenge, farewell.
  Chi.  Tell us, old man, how shall we be employ’d?
  Tit.  Tut! I have work enough for you to do.        155
Publius, come hither, Caius, and Valentine!
 
Enter PUBLIUS and Others.
  Pub.  What is your will?
  Tit.  Know you these two?
  Pub.  The empress’ sons,        160
I take them, Chiron and Demetrius.
  Tit.  Fie, Publius, fie! thou art too much deceiv’d;
The one is Murder, Rape is the other’s name;
And therefore bind them, gentle Publius;
Caius and Valentine, lay hands on them;        165
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.  [Exit.  PUBLIUS, &c., seize CHIRON and DEMETRIUS.
  Chi.  Villains, forbear! we are the empress’ sons.
  Pub.  And therefore do we what we are commanded.        170
Stop close their mouths, let them not speak a word.
Is he sure bound? look that you bind them fast.
 
Re-enter TITUS, with LAVINIA; she bearing a basin, and he a knife.
  Tit.  Come, come, Lavinia; look, thy foes are bound.
Sirs, stop their mouths, let them not speak to me,        175
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 vile fault        180
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,
In human traitors, you constrain’d and forc’d.        185
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,
Whilst that Lavinia’ tween her stumps doth hold        190
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;        195
And of the paste a coffin I will rear,
And make two pasties of your shameful heads;
And bid that strumpet, your unhallow’d dam,
Like to the earth swallow her own increase.
This is the feast that I have bid her to,        200
And this the banquet she shall surfeit on;
For worse than Philomel you us’d my daughter,
And worse than Procne I will be reveng’d.
And now prepare your throats. Lavinia, come.  [He cuts their throats.
Receive the blood: and when that they are dead,        205
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        210
More stern and bloody than the Centaurs’ feast.
So, now bring them in, for I will play the cook,
And see them ready ’gainst their mother comes.  [Exeunt, bearing the dead bodies.
 
 
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