« PreviousContinue »
And from her bosom took the enemy's point,
[Pointing to the 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, Damn'd 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 you have heard the truth, what say you, Romans?
Have we done aught amiss? Show us wherein, And, from the place where you behold us now, The poor remainder of Andronici
Will, hand in hand, all headlong cast us down,
"Damn'd as he is,] The old copies read-And as he is. The emendation was made by Mr. Theobald. The same expression (as he observed) is used in Othello:
"O thou foul thief, where hast thou stow'd my daughter? "Damn'd as thou art, thou hast inchanted her." In the play before us the same epithet is applied to Aaron: "See justice done on Aaron, that damn'd Moor."
in the fourth folio. MALONE.
·what cause. -] Old copies-what course.
The poor remainder of Andronici
cast us down,] i. e. We the poor remainder &c. will cast us down. MALOne.
And on the ragged stones beat forth our brains,
EMIL. Come, come, thou reverend man of
And bring our emperor gently in thy hand,
LUCIUS, &c. descend.
MAR. Go, go into old Titus' sorrowful house; [To an Attendant. And hither hale that misbelieving Moor, To be adjudg'd some direful slaughtering death, As punishment for his most wicked life.
ROM. [Several speak.] Lucius, all hail; Rome's gracious governor!
Luc. Thanks, gentle Romans; May I govern so, To heal Rome's harms, and wipe away her woe! But, gentle people, give me aim awhile,For nature puts me to a heavy task;— Stand all aloof;-but, uncle, draw you near, To shed obsequious tears upon this trunk:
Rom. Lucius, all hail; &c.] This line here, and the same words below, are given in the old copy by mistake to Marcus. It is manifest, as Mr. Steevens has observed, that they both belong to the surrounding concourse of Romans, who with one voice hail Lucius as their emperor. MALONE.
The same mistake is in the quarto 1600. TODD.
O, take this warm kiss on thy pale cold lips,
[Kisses TITUs. These sorrowful drops upon thy blood-stain'd face,' The last true duties of thy noble son!
MAR. Tear for tear, and loving kiss for kiss,
Luc. Come hither, boy; come, come, and learn of us
To melt in showers: Thy grandsire lov'd thee well;
Meet, and agreeing with thine infancy;
thy blood-stain'd face,] The old copies have-thy blood-slain face. Corrected in the fourth folio. MALONE. Shed yet some small drops
Because kind nature doth require it so:] Thus, in Romeo and Julict:
66 fond nature bids us all lament—.”
Enter Attendants, with AARON.
1 ROM. You sad Andronici,have done with woes; Give sentence on this execrable wretch, That hath been breeder of these dire events.
Luc. Set him breast-deep in earth, and famish him;
There let him stand, and rave and cry for food:
For the offence he dies. This is our doom:
AAR. O, why should wrath be mute, and fury dumb?
I am no baby, I, that, with base prayers,
Luc. Some loving friends convey the emperor hence,
And give him burial in his father's grave:
No funeral rite, nor man in mournful weeds,
-to see him fasten'd in the earth.] That justice and cookery may go hand in hand to the conclusion of this play, in Ravenscroft's alteration of it, Aaron is at once racked and roasted on the stage. STEEvens.
See justice done to Aaron, that damn'd Moor,
• See justice done to Aaron,] The 4to. 1600, reads:-done on Aaron. Todd.
Then, afterwards, to order &c.] Then will we apply ourselves to regulate the state. MALONE.
This is one of those plays which I have always thought, with the better judges, ought not to be acknowledged in the list of Shakspeare's genuine pieces. And, perhaps, I may give a proof to strengthen this opinion, that may put the matter out of question. Ben Jonson, in the Introduction to his BartholomewFair, which made its first appearance in the year 1614, couples Jeronymo and Andronicus together in reputation, and speaks of them as plays then twenty-five or thirty years standing. Consequently Andronicus must have been on the stage before Shakspeare left Warwickshire, to come and reside in London: and I never heard it so much as intimated, that he had turned his genius to stage-writing before he associated with the players, and became one of their body. However, that he afterwards introduced it a-new on the stage, with the addition of his own masterly touches, is incontestible, and thence, I presume, grew his title to it. The diction in general, where he has not taken the pains to raise it, is even beneath that of the Three Parts of Henry VI. The story we are to suppose merely fictitious. Andronicus is a sur-name of pure Greek derivation. Tamora is neither mentioned by Ammianus Marcellinus, nor any body else that I can find. Nor had Rome, in the time of her emperors, any war with the Goths that I know of: not till after the translation of the empire, I mean, to Byzantium. And yet the scene of our play is laid at Rome, and Saturninus is elected to the empire at the Capitol.
All the editors and criticks agree with Mr. Theobald in supposing this play spurious. I see no reason for differing from them; for the colour of the style is wholly different from that of the other plays, and there is an attempt at regular versification, and artificial closes, not always inelegant, yet seldom pleasing. The barbarity of the spectacles, and the general massacre, which are here exhibited, can scarcely be conceived tolerable to any audience; yet we are told by Jonson, that they were not only borne but praised. That Shakspeare wrote any part, though Theobald declares it incontestible, I see no reason for believing.