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And she, whom mighty kingdoms court'sy to,
But if my frosty signs and chaps of age,
Cannot induce you to attend my words,—
Speak, Rome's dear friend; [To Luc.] 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 subtle Greeks surpriz'd king Priam's Troy;
Or who hath brought the fatal engine in,
That gives our Troy, our Rome, the civil wound.-
But floods of tears will drown my oratory,
And break my very utterance; even i' the time
Here is a captain, let him tell the tale;
Your hearts will throb and weep to hear him speak.
Were they that murdered our emperor's brother;
For their fell faults our brothers were beheaded;
have consequently made several injudicious emendations beside the present.
Mr. Capell, I find, has made the same emendation.
The error here corrected has likewise happened in the quarto copies of Hamlet, Act I, sc. ii: "let my extent to the players
should more appear like entertainment than yours:"-instead of "Lest my extent," &c.
As this speech proceeds in an uniform tenor with the foregoing, the whole (as Mr. Steevens has observed,) probably belongs to Marcus. Malone.
and basely cozen'd-] i. e. and he basely cozened.
The gates shut on me, and turn'd weeping out,
My scars can witness, dumb although they are,
The issue of an irreligious Moor,
Damn'd as he is,1 to witness this is true.
Now judge, what cause had Titus to revenge
Or more than any living man could bear.
Now you have heard the truth, what say you, Romans?
The poor remainder of Andronici
Will, hand in hand, all headlong cast us down,3
1 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." Malone.
what cause] Old copies-what course.
in the fourth folio. Malone.
3 The poor remainder of Andronici
cast us down.
cast us down,] i. e. We the poor remainder &c. will Malone.
Speak, Romans, speak; and, if you say, we shall,
Emil. Come, come, thou reverend man of Rome,
Lucius our emperor; for, well I know,
The common voice do cry, it shall be so.
Rom. [several speak] Lucius, all hail ; Rome's royâl emperor !
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,
Rom. [several speak] Lucius, all hail; Rome's gracious governor!
Luc. Thanks, gentle Romans; May I govern so,
To shed obsequious tears upon this trunk :—
O, take this warm kiss on thy pale cold lips, [Kisses TIT. These sorrowful drops upon thy blood-stain'd face,5
The last true duties of thy noble son!
Mar. 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!
Luc. 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 matter hath he told to thee,
Meet, and agreeing with thine infancy;
In that respect then, like a loving child,
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.
thy blood-stain'd face,] The old copies have-thy blood lain face. Corrected in the fourth folio. Malone.
Shed yet some small drops from thy tender spring,
Friends should associate friends in grief and woe :
Do him that kindness, and take leave of him.
Boy. O grandsire, grandsire! even 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.
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.
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,
I should repent the evils I have done;
I do repent it from my very soul.
Luc. Some loving friends convey the emperor hence,
Be closed in our household's monument.
No funeral rite, nor man in mournful weeds,
But throw her forth to beasts, and birds of prey:
Her life was beast-like, and devoid of pity;
And, being so, shall have like want of pity.
6 Shed yet some small drops
Because kind nature doth require it so :] Thus, in Romeo and
7 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,
8 See justice done to Aaron,] The 4to. 1600, reads:-done on Aaron. Todd.
9 Then, afterwards, to order &c.] Then will we apply ourselves to regulate the state. Malone.
1 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. Conscquently 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 wars 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. The testimony produced at the beginning of this play, by which it is ascribed to Shakspeare, is by no means equal to the argument against its authenticity, arising from the total differ ence of conduct, language, and sentiments, by which it stands. apart from all the rest. Meres had probably no other evidence