ACT IV. SCENE IV.
Rome. Before the palace
Enter the EMPEROR, and the EMPRESS and her two sons, DEMETRIUS and
CHIRON; LORDS and others. The EMPEROR brings the arrows in his hand
that TITUS shot at him
overborne→ overcome; “overbear criticism, protest, or arguments”.
blazoning→ to proclaim widely. (AHED)
SATURNINUS. Why, lords, what wrongs are these! Was ever seen
An emperor in Rome thus overborne,
Troubled, confronted thus; and, for the extent
Of egal justice, us'd in such contempt?
My lords, you know, as know the mightful gods,
However these disturbers of our peace
Buzz in the people's ears, there nought hath pass'd
But even with law against the wilful sons
Of old Andronicus. And what an if
His sorrows have so overwhelm'd his wits,
Shall we be thus afflicted in his wreaks,
His fits, his frenzy, and his bitterness?
And now he writes to heaven for his redress.
See, here's 'To Jove' and this 'To Mercury';
This 'To Apollo'; this 'To the God of War'-
Sweet scrolls to fly about the streets of Rome!
What's this but libelling against the Senate,
And blazoning our unjustice every where?
A goodly humour, is it not, my lords?
As who would say in Rome no justice were.
But if I live, his feigned ecstasies
Shall be no shelter to these outrages;
But he and his shall know that justice lives
In Saturninus' health; whom, if she sleep,
He'll so awake as he in fury shall
Cut off the proud'st conspirator that lives.
gloze→ archaic: To use flattery or cajolery. (AHD)
TAMORA. My gracious lord, my lovely Saturnine,
Lord of my life, commander of my thoughts,
Calm thee, and bear the faults of Titus' age,
Th' effects of sorrow for his valiant sons
Whose loss hath pierc'd him deep and scarr'd his heart;
And rather comfort his distressed plight
Than prosecute the meanest or the best
For these contempts. [Aside] Why, thus it shall become
High-witted Tamora to gloze with all.
But, Titus, I have touch'd thee to the quick,
Thy life-blood on't; if Aaron now be wise,
Then is all safe, the anchor in the port.
How now, good fellow! Wouldst thou speak with us?
CLOWN. Yes, forsooth, an your mistriship be Emperial.
TAMORA. Empress I am, but yonder sits the Emperor.
CLOWN. 'Tis he.- God and Saint Stephen give you godden. I have
brought you a letter and a couple of pigeons here.
[SATURNINUS reads the letter]
SATURNINUS. Go take him away, and hang him presently.
CLOWN. How much money must I have?
TAMORA. Come, sirrah, you must be hang'd.
CLOWN. Hang'd! by'r lady, then I have brought up a neck to a
SATURNINUS. Despiteful and intolerable wrongs!
Shall I endure this monstrous villainy?
I know from whence this same device proceeds.
May this be borne- as if his traitorous sons
That died by law for murder of our brother
Have by my means been butchered wrongfully?
Go drag the villain hither by the hair;
Nor age nor honour shall shape privilege.
For this proud mock I'll be thy slaughterman,
Sly frantic wretch, that holp'st to make me great,
In hope thyself should govern Rome and me.
[Enter NUNTIUS AEMILIUS]
What news with thee, Aemilius?
spoil→ Archaic. To plunder; despoil. (AHD)
Gaius Marcius Coriolanus, possibly a legendary Roman general who lived in the 5th century BC. Coriolanus
AEMILIUS. Arm, my lords! Rome never had more cause.
The Goths have gathered head; and with a power
Of high resolved men, bent to the spoil,
They hither march amain, under conduct
Of Lucius, son to old Andronicus;
Who threats in course of this revenge to do
As much as ever Coriolanus did.
SATURNINUS. Is warlike Lucius general of the Goths?
These tidingsnip me, and I hang the head
As flowers with frost, or grass beat down with storms.
Ay, now begins our sorrows to approach.
'Tis he the common people love so much;
Myself hath often heard them say-
When I have walked like a private man-
That Lucius' banishment was wrongfully,
And they have wish'd that Lucius were their emperor.
TAMORA. Why should you fear? Is not your city strong?
SATURNINUS. Ay, but the citizens favour Lucius,
And will revolt from me to succour him.
TAMORA. King, be thy thoughts imperious like thy name!
Is the sun dimm'd, that gnats do fly in it?
The eagle suffers little birds to sing,
And is not careful what they mean thereby,
Knowing that with the shadow of his wings
He can at pleasure stint their melody;
Even so mayest thou the giddy men of Rome.
Then cheer thy spirit; for know thou, Emperor,
I will enchant the old Andronicus
With words more sweet, and yet more dangerous,
Than baits to fish or honey-stalks to sheep,
When as the one is wounded with the bait,
The other rotted with delicious feed.
SATURNINUS. But he will not entreat his son for us.
TAMORA. If Tamora entreat him, then he will;
For I can smooth and fill his aged ears
With golden promises, that, were his heart
Almost impregnable, his old ears deaf,
Yet should both ear and heart obey my tongue.
[To AEMILIUS] Go thou before to be our ambassador;
Say that the Emperor requests a parley
Of warlike Lucius, and appoint the meeting
Even at his father's house, the old Andronicus.
SATURNINUS. Aemilius, do this message honourably;
And if he stand on hostage for his safety,
Bid him demand what pledge will please him best.
AEMILIUS. Your bidding shall I do effectually. [Exit]
TAMORA. Now will I to that old Andronicus,
And temper him with all the art I have,
To pluck proud Lucius from the warlike Goths.
And now, sweet Emperor, be blithe again,
And bury all thy fear in my devices.
SATURNINUS. Then go successantly, and plead to him.