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These broken limbs again into one body.
Sen. Lest Rome herself be bane unto herself;
Do shameful execution on herself.
Grave witnesses of true experience,
Cannot induce you to attend my words,
Speak, Rome's dear friend; [To LUCIUS.] as erst our an
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;
The gates shut on me, and turn'd weeping out,
My scars can witness, dumb although they are,
That my report is just, and full of truth.
For when no friends are by, men praise themselves.
The issue of an irreligious Moor,
Chief architect and plotter of these woes;
Damn'd as he is, 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,
And on the ragged stones beat forth our brains,
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 royal emperor !
LUCIUS, &c. descend.
Mar. Go, go into old Titus' sorrowful house;
And hither hale that misbelieving Moor,
[To an Attendant.
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!
O, take this warm kiss on thy pale cold lips,
These sorrowful drops upon thy blood-stain'd face,
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 : Many a time he danc'd thee on his knee,
Sung thee asleep, his loving breast thy pillow;
Meet, and agreeing with thine infancy;
Shed yet some small drops from thy tender spring,
Friends should associate friends in grief and woe:
Boy. O grandsire, grandsire! even with all my heart
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:
If any one relieves or pities him,
For the offence he dies. This is our doom;
Some stay, to see him fasten'd in the earth.
Aar. Ŏ, 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, And give him burial in his father's grave:
My father, and Lavinia, shall forthwith
Be closed in our household's monument.
As for that heinous tiger, Tamora,
No funeral rite, nor man in mounful weeds,
But throw her forth to beasts, and birds of prey :
8 This is one of those plays which I have always thought with the better judges, ought not to be acknowledged in the list of Shakespeare'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 Bartholomew-Fair, 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 Shakespeare left Warwickshire to come and reside in London; and I never heard it so much as intimated, tha: 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 anew 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 be 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 em pire at the Capitol. THEOBALD.
All the editors and critics agree with Mr. Theobald in supposing this play spurious. I see no reason for differing from them; for the colour of the stile 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 Shakespeare wrote any part, though Theobald declares it incontestible, I see no reason for believing.
The testimony, by which it is ascribed to Shakespeare, is by no means equal to the argument against its authenticity, arising from the total difference of conduct, language, and sentiments, by which it stands apart from all the rest. Meres had probably no other evidence than that of a title-page, which, though in our time it be sufficient, was then of no great authority; for all the plays which were rejected by the first collectors of Shakespeare's works, and admitted in later editions, and again rejected by the critical editors, bad Shakespeare's name on the title, as we must suppose, by the fraudulence of the printers, who, while there were yet no gazettes, nor advertisements, nor any means of circulating literary intelligence, could usurp at pleasure any celebrated name. Nor had Shakespeare any interest in detecting the imposture, as none of his fame or profit was produced by the press.
Ravenscroft, who in the reign of James II. revised this play, and restored it to the stage, tells us, in his preface, from a theatrical tradition, I suppose, which in his time might be of sufficient authority, that this play was touched in different parts by Shakespeare, but written by some other poet. I do not find Shakespeare's touches very discernible. JOHNSON.
I agree with such of the commentators as think that Shakespeare had no band in this abominable tragedy; and consider the correctness with which it is printed, as a kind of collateral proof that he had not. The genuine works of Shakespeare have been handed down to us in a more depraved state than those of any other contemporary writer; which was partly owing to the obscurity of his hand writing, which appears to have been scarcely legible, and partly to his total neglect of them when committed to the press. And it is not to be supposed, that he should have taken more pains about the publication of this horrid performance, than he did in that of his noblest productions. M. MASON.
END OF VOL. VIII,