Act II, Scene 1 & 2

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Act II, Scene 1 Rome. Before the Palace.

Enter AARON

 

AARON Now climbeth Tamora Olympus' top,
Safe out of fortune's shot; and sits aloft,
Secure of thunder's crack or lightning flash;
Advanced above pale envy's threatening reach.
As when the golden sun salutes the morn,
And, having gilt the ocean with his beams,
Gallops the zodiac in his glistering coach,
And overlooks the highest-peering hills;
So Tamora:
Upon her wit doth earthly honour wait,
And virtue stoops and trembles at her frown.
Then, Aaron, arm thy heart, and fit thy thoughts,
To mount aloft with thy imperial mistress,
And mount her pitch, whom thou in triumph long
Hast prisoner held, fetter'd in amorous chains
And faster bound to Aaron's charming eyes
Than is Prometheus tied to Caucasus.
Away with slavish weeds and servile thoughts!
I will be bright, and shine in pearl and gold,
To wait upon this new-made empress.
To wait, said I? to wanton with this queen,
This goddess, this Semiramis, this nymph,
This siren, that will charm Rome's Saturnine,
And see his shipwreck and his commonweal's.
Holloa! what storm is this?
  [Enter DEMETRIUS and CHIRON, braving]
DEMETRIUS Chiron, thy years want wit, thy wit wants edge,
And manners, to intrude where I am graced;
And may, for aught thou know'st, affected be.
CHIRON Demetrius, thou dost over-ween in all;
And so in this, to bear me down with braves.
'Tis not the difference of a year or two
Makes me less gracious or thee more fortunate:
I am as able and as fit as thou
To serve, and to deserve my mistress' grace;
And that my sword upon thee shall approve,
And plead my passions for Lavinia's love.
AARON [Aside] Clubs, clubs! these lovers will not keep
the peace.
DEMETRIUS Why, boy, although our mother, unadvised,
Gave you a dancing-rapier by your side,
Are you so desperate grown, to threat your friends?
Go to; have your lath glued within your sheath
Till you know better how to handle it.
CHIRON Meanwhile, sir, with the little skill I have,
Full well shalt thou perceive how much I dare.
DEMETRIUS Ay, boy, grow ye so brave?
  [They draw]
AARON [Coming forward] Why, how now, lords!
So near the emperor's palace dare you draw,
And maintain such a quarrel openly?
Full well I wot the ground of all this grudge:
I would not for a million of gold
The cause were known to them it most concerns;
Nor would your noble mother for much more
Be so dishonour'd in the court of Rome.
For shame, put up.
DEMETRIUS Not I, till I have sheathed
My rapier in his bosom and withal
Thrust these reproachful speeches down his throat
That he hath breathed in my dishonour here.
CHIRON For that I am prepared and full resolved.
Foul-spoken coward, that thunder'st with thy tongue,
And with thy weapon nothing darest perform!
AARON Away, I say!
Now, by the gods that warlike Goths adore,
This petty brabble will undo us all.
Why, lords, and think you not how dangerous
It is to jet upon a prince's right?
What, is Lavinia then become so loose,
Or Bassianus so degenerate,
That for her love such quarrels may be broach'd
Without controlment, justice, or revenge?
Young lords, beware! and should the empress know
This discord's ground, the music would not please.
CHIRON I care not, I, knew she and all the world:
I love Lavinia more than all the world.
DEMETRIUS Youngling, learn thou to make some meaner choice:
Lavinia is thine elder brother's hope.
AARON Why, are ye mad? or know ye not, in Rome
How furious and impatient they be,
And cannot brook competitors in love?
I tell you, lords, you do but plot your deaths
By this device.
CHIRON Aaron, a thousand deaths
Would I propose to achieve her whom I love.
AARON To achieve her! how?
DEMETRIUS Why makest thou it so strange?
She is a woman, therefore may be woo'd;
She is a woman, therefore may be won;
She is Lavinia, therefore must be loved.
What, man! more water glideth by the mill
Than wots the miller of; and easy it is
Of a cut loaf to steal a shive, we know:
Though Bassianus be the emperor's brother.
Better than he have worn Vulcan's badge.
AARON [Aside] Ay, and as good as Saturninus may.
DEMETRIUS Then why should he despair that knows to court it
With words, fair looks and liberality?
What, hast not thou full often struck a doe,
And borne her cleanly by the keeper's nose?
AARON Why, then, it seems, some certain snatch or so
Would serve your turns.
CHIRON Ay, so the turn were served.
DEMETRIUS Aaron, thou hast hit it.
AARON Would you had hit it too!
Then should not we be tired with this ado.
Why, hark ye, hark ye! and are you such fools
To square for this? would it offend you, then
That both should speed?
CHIRON Faith, not me.
DEMETRIUS Nor me, so I were one.
AARON For shame, be friends, and join for that you jar:
'Tis policy and stratagem must do
That you affect; and so must you resolve,
That what you cannot as you would achieve,
You must perforce accomplish as you may.
Take this of me: Lucrece was not more chaste
Than this Lavinia, Bassianus' love.
A speedier course than lingering languishment
Must we pursue, and I have found the path.
My lords, a solemn hunting is in hand;
There will the lovely Roman ladies troop:
The forest walks are wide and spacious;
And many unfrequented plots there are
Fitted by kind for rape and villany:
Single you thither then this dainty doe,
And strike her home by force, if not by words:
This way, or not at all, stand you in hope.
Come, come, our empress, with her sacred wit
To villany and vengeance consecrate,
Will we acquaint with all that we intend;
And she shall file our engines with advice,
That will not suffer you to square yourselves,
But to your wishes' height advance you both.
The emperor's court is like the house of Fame,
The palace full of tongues, of eyes, and ears:
The woods are ruthless, dreadful, deaf, and dull;
There speak, and strike, brave boys, and take
your turns;
There serve your lusts, shadow'd from heaven's eye,
And revel in Lavinia's treasury.
CHIRON Thy counsel, lad, smells of no cowardice,
DEMETRIUS Sit fas aut nefas, till I find the stream
To cool this heat, a charm to calm these fits.
Per Styga, per manes vehor.
  [Exeunt]

 

Act II, Scene 2 A forest near Rome. Horns and cry of hounds heard.

Enter TITUS ANDRONICUS, with Hunters, &c., MARCUS, LUCIUS, QUINTUS, and MARTIUS

 

TITUS ANDRONICUS The hunt is up, the morn is bright and grey,
The fields are fragrant and the woods are green:
Uncouple here and let us make a bay
And wake the emperor and his lovely bride
And rouse the prince and ring a hunter's peal,
That all the court may echo with the noise.
Sons, let it be your charge, as it is ours,
To attend the emperor's person carefully:
I have been troubled in my sleep this night,
But dawning day new comfort hath inspired.
  [A cry of hounds and horns, winded in a peal. Enter
SATURNINUS, TAMORA, BASSIANUS, LAVINIA, DEMETRIUS,
CHIRON, and Attendants]
  Many good morrows to your majesty;
Madam, to you as many and as good:
I promised your grace a hunter's peal.
SATURNINUS And you have rung it lustily, my lord;
Somewhat too early for new-married ladies.
BASSIANUS Lavinia, how say you?
LAVINIA I say, no;
I have been broad awake two hours and more.
SATURNINUS Come on, then; horse and chariots let us have,
And to our sport.
  [To TAMORA]
  Madam, now shall ye see
Our Roman hunting.
MARCUS ANDRONICUS I have dogs, my lord,
Will rouse the proudest panther in the chase,
And climb the highest promontory top.
TITUS ANDRONICUS And I have horse will follow where the game
Makes way, and run like swallows o'er the plain.
DEMETRIUS Chiron, we hunt not, we, with horse nor hound,
But hope to pluck a dainty doe to ground.
  [Exeunt]

 

To view other scenes from the show:

Full Text Act IV, Scene 1 Titus' garden.
Act 1, Scene 1 Rome. Before the capitol. Act IV, Scene 2 A room in the palace.
Act II, Scene 1 Rome. Before the palace./Act II, Scene 2 A forest near Rome. Act IV, Scene 3 A public place.
Act II, Scene 3 A lonely part of the forest. Act IV, Scene 4 Before the palace.
Act II, Scene 4 Another part of the forest. Act V, Scene 1 Plains near Rome.
Act III, Scene 1 Rome. A street. Act V, Scene 2 Before Titus' house
Act III, Scene 2 A room in Titus' house. Act V, Scene 3 Court of Titus house.

 

To view other Titus Andronicus sections:

Main Play Page     Play Text     Scene by Scene Synopsis      Character Directory     Commentary  

 

To view the other Plays click below:

By  Comedies    Histories    Romances    Tragedies

All's Well the Ends Well Antony & Cleopatra As You Like It Cardenio Comedy of Errors Coriolanus
Cymbeline Edward III Hamlet Henry IV, Part 1 Henry IV, Part 2 Henry V
Henry VI, Part 1 Henry VI, Part 2 Henry VI, Part 3 Henry VIII Julius Caesar King John
King Lear Love's Labours Lost Love's Labours Wonne Macbeth Measure for Measure Merchant of Venice
The Merry Wives of Windsor A Mid Summer Night's Dream  Much Ado About Nothing Othello Pericles Richard II
Richard III Romeo & Juliet Sir Thomas More Taming of the Shrew The Tempest Timon of Athens
Titus Andronicus Troilus & Cressida Twelfth Night Two Gentlemen of Verona The Two Noble Kinsman The Winter's Tale

 

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