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Tit. How now, Lavinia?-Marcus, what means this? Some book there is that she desires to see :Which is it, girl, of these?-Open them, boy.But thou art deeper read, and better skill'd; Come, and take choice of all my library, And so beguile thy sorrow, till the heavens Reveal'd the damn'd contriver of this deed. Why lifts she up her arms in sequence thus?
Mar. I think, she means, that there was more than one Confederate in the fact ;-Ay, more there was :Or else to heaven she heaves them for revenge. Tit. Lucius, what book is that she tosseth so? Boy. Grandsire, 'tis Ovid's Metamorphosis; My mother gave 't me.
For love of her that 's gone,
Tit. Soft! see, how busily she turns the leaves !4 Help her
What would she find?-Lavinia, shall I read?
And treats of Tereus' treason, and his rape;
And rape, I fear, was root of thine annoy.
Mar. See, brother, see; note, how she quotes the leaves.5
Tit. Lavinia, wert thou thus surpriz'd, sweet girl,
Forc'd in the ruthless, vast, and gloomy woods?—
Ay, such a place there is, where we did hunt,
Mar. O, why should nature build so foul a den,
Unless the gods delight in tragedies!
Tit. Give signs, sweet girl,-for here are none but friends,
What Roman lord it was durst do the deed:
Or slunk not Saturnine, as Tarquin erst,
4 Soft! see, how busily &c.] Old copies-Soft, so busily, &c. Corrected by Mr. Rowe. Malone.
how she quotes the leaves.] To quote is to observe. See a note on Hamlet, Act II, sc. ii. Steevens.
That left the camp to sin in Lucrece' bed?
Mar. Sit down, sweet niece ;-brother, sit down by
Apollo, Pallas, Jove, or Mercury,
Inspire me, that I may this treason find!—
[He writes his Name with his Staff, and guides it with
Curs'd be that heart, that forc'd us to this shift !—
[She takes the Staff in her Mouth, and guides it with
Tit. O, do you read, my lord, what she hath writ? Stuprum Chiron-Demetrius.
Mar. What, what
the lustful sons of Tamora
Performers of this heinous, bloody deed?
Tit. Magne Dominator poli,6
Tam lentus audis scelera ? tam lentus vides?
Mar. O, calm thee, gentle lord! although, I know, There is enough written upon this earth, To stir a mutiny in the mildest thoughts, And arm the minds of infants to exclaims. My lord, kneel down with me; Lavinia, kneel; And kneel, sweet boy, the Roman Hector's hope; And swear with me, as with the woful feere,7
Magne Dominator poli, &c.] Magne Regnator Deum, &c. is the exclamation of Hippolytus when Phædra discovers the secret of her incestuous passion in Seneca's tragedy. Steevens. Magne Dominator poli.] The edition 1600 reads-Magni Dominator poli Todd.
And swear with me,-as with the woful feere,] The old copies do not only assist us to find the true reading by conjecture. I will give an instance, from the first folio, of a reading (incontestibly the true one) which has escaped the laborious researches of the many most diligent criticks, who have favoured the world with editions of Shakspeare:
My lord, kneel down with me; Lavinia, kneel;
And father, of that chaste dishonour'd dame,
Will blow these sands, like Sybil's leaves, abroad,
And swear with me, as with the woeful peer, And father of that chaste dishonour'd dame, Lord Junius Brutus sware for Lucrece' rape What meaning has hitherto been annexed to the word peer, in this passage, I know not. The reading of the first folio is feere, which signifies a companion, and here metaphorically a husband. The proceeding of Brutus, which is alluded to, is described at length in our author's Rape of Lucrece, as putting an end to the lamentations of Collatinus and Lucretius, the husband and father of Lucretia. So, in Sir Eglamour of Artoys, sig. A 4:
"Christabell, your daughter free,
"When shall she have a fere ?" i. e. a husband.
Sir Thomas More's Lamentation on the Death of Queen Elizabeth, Wife of Henry VII:
"Was I not a king's fere in marriage?"
"Farewel my daughter Katherine, late the fere
The word feere or pheere very frequently occurs among the old dramatick writers and others. So, in Ben Jonson's Silent Woman, Morose says:
her that I mean to chuse for my bed-pheere."
And many other places. Steevens.
let it alone;] In edit. 1600, it is wanting. Todd.
9 And with a gad of steel-] A gad, from the Saxon, is the point of a spear, is used here for some similar pointed instru
Their mother's bed-chamber should not be safe
Come, come; thou 'It do thy message, wilt thou not? Boy. Ay, with my dagger in their bosoms, grandsire. Tit. No, boy, not so; I'll teach thee another course, Lavinia, come :-) -Marcus, look to my house;
Lucius and I'll go brave it at the court;
Ay, marry, will we, sir; and we 'll be waited on.
[Exeunt TrT. LAV. and Boy. Mar. O heavens, can you hear a good man groan, And not relent, or not compassion him?
Marcus, attend him in his ecstasy;
That hath more scars of sorrow in his heart,
Than foe-men's marks upon his batter'd shield:
The same. A Room in the Palace.
Enter AARON, CHIRON, and DEMETRIUS, at one Door; at another Door, young LuCIUS, and an Attendant, with a bundle of Weapons, and Verses writ upon them. Chi. Demetrius, here's the son of Lucius;
He hath some message to deliver to us.
Aar. Ay, some mad message from his mad grandfather.
Revenge the heavens-] We should read:
Revenge thee, heavens!
It should be:
Revenge, ye heavens!
Ye was by the transcriber taken for ye, the. Johnson.
I believe the old reading is right, and signifies-may the heavens revenge, &c.
I believe we should read:
Revenge then heavens. Tyrwhitt.
Boy. My lords, with all the humbleness I may, I greet you honours from Andronicus;— And pray the Roman gods, confound you both. [Aside Dem. Gramercy, lovely Lucius: What's the news ? Boy. That you are both decypher'd, that 's the news, For villains mark'd with rape. [aside] May it please you, My grandsire, well-advis'd, hath sent by me The goodliest weapons of his armoury,
To gratify your honourable youth,
The hope of Rome; for so he bade me say;
And so I leave you both, [aside] like bloody villains.
[Exeunt Boy and Attendant. Dem. What 's here? A scroll; and written round about?
Integer vita, scelerisque purus,
Non eget Mauri jaculis, necque arcu.
Chi. O, 'tis a verse in Horace; I know it well:
I read it in the grammar long ago.
Aar. Ay, just a verse in Horace;-right, you
Now, what a thing it is to be an ass!
Here's no sound jest!3 the old man hath found
And sends the weapons wrapp'd about with Aside.
That wound, beyond their feeling, to the quick.
2 Gramercy,] i. e. grand merci; great thanks.
3 Here's no sound jest!] Thus the old copies. This mode of expression was common formerly; so, in King Henry IV, P. I : "Here's no fine villainy !"-We yet talk of giving a sound drubbing. Mr. Theobald, however, and the modern editors, read— Here's no fond jest. Malone.
The old reading is undoubtedly the true one. Richard II:
So, in King
"Good Catesby, go, effect this business soundly." See also Romeo and Juliet, Act IV, sc. v.
the weapons-] Edit. 1600-them weapons. Todd..