Enter AARON, DEMETRIUS and CHIRON, at one door; and at the other door,
YOUNG LUCIUS and another with a bundle of weapons, and verses writ upon them
Demetrius, here's the son of Lucius;
He hath some message to deliver us.
Ay, some mad message from his mad grandfather.
My lords, with all the humbleness I may,
I greet your honours from Andronicus-
[Aside] And pray the Roman gods confound you both!
Gramercy, lovely Lucius. What's the news?
[Aside] That you are both decipher'd, that's the news,
For villains mark'd with rape.- 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 bid me say;
And so I do, and with his gifts present
Your lordships, that, whenever you have need,
You may be armed and appointed well.
And so I leave you both- [Aside] like bloody villains.
What's here? A scroll, and written round about.
[Reads] 'Integer vitae, scelerisque purus,
Non eget Mauri iaculis, nec arcu.'
O, 'tis a verse in Horace, I know it well;
I read it in the grammar long ago.
Ay, just- a verse in Horace. Right, you have it.
[Aside] Now, what a thing it is to be an ass!
Here's no sound jest! The old man hath found their guilt,
And sends them weapons wrapp'd about with lines
That wound, beyond their feeling, to the quick.
But were our witty Empress well afoot,
She would applaud Andronicus' conceit.
But let her rest in her unrest awhile-
And now, young lords, was't not a happy star
Led us to Rome, strangers, and more than so,
Captives, to be advanced to this height?
It did me good before the palace gate
To brave the Tribune in his brother's hearing.
But me more good to see so great a lord
Basely insinuate and send us gifts.
Had he not reason, Lord Demetrius?
Did you not use his daughter very friendly?
I would we had a thousand Roman dames
At such a bay, by turn to serve our lust.
Why, then she is the devil's dam;
A joyful issue.
A joyless, dismal, black, and sorrowful issue!
Here is the babe, as loathsome as a toad
Amongst the fair-fac'd breeders of our clime;
The Empress sends it thee, thy stamp, thy seal,
And bids thee christen it with thy dagger's point.
Zounds, ye whore! Is black so base a hue?
Sweet blowse, you are a beauteous blossom sure.
Stay, murderous villains, will you kill your brother!
Now, by the burning tapers of the sky
That shone so brightly when this boy was got,
He dies upon my scimitar's sharp point
That touches this my first-born son and heir.
I tell you, younglings, not Enceladus,
With all his threat'ning band of Typhon's brood,
Nor great Alcides, nor the god of war,
Shall seize this prey out of his father's hands.
What, what, ye sanguine, shallow-hearted boys!
Ye white-lim'd walls! ye alehouse painted signs!
Coal-black is better than another hue
In that it scorns to bear another hue;
For all the water in the ocean
Can never turn the swan's black legs to white,
Although she lave them hourly in the flood.
Tell the Empress from me I am of age
To keep mine own- excuse it how she can.
My mistress is my mistress: this my self,
The vigour and the picture of my youth.
This before all the world do I prefer;
This maugre all the world will I keep safe,
Or some of you shall smoke for it in Rome.
Why, there's the privilege your beauty bears:
Fie, treacherous hue, that will betray with blushing
The close enacts and counsels of thy heart!
Here's a young lad fram'd of another leer.
Look how the black slave smiles upon the father,
As who should say 'Old lad, I am thine own.'
He is your brother, lords, sensibly fed
Of that self-blood that first gave life to you;
And from your womb where you imprisoned were
He is enfranchised and come to light.
Nay, he is your brother by the surer side,
Although my seal be stamped in his face.
Why, so, brave lords! When we join in league
I am a lamb; but if you brave the Moor,
The chafed boar, the mountain lioness,
The ocean swells not so as Aaron storms.
But say, again, how many saw the child?
Cornelia the midwife and myself;
And no one else but the delivered Empress.
The Emperess, the midwife, and yourself.
Two may keep counsel when the third's away:
Go to the Empress, tell her this I said.
What mean'st thou, Aaron? Wherefore didst thou this?
O Lord, sir, 'tis a deed of policy.
Shall she live to betray this guilt of ours-
A long-tongu'd babbling gossip? No, lords, no.
And now be it known to you my full intent:
Not far, one Muliteus, my countryman-
His wife but yesternight was brought to bed;
His child is like to her, fair as you are.
Go pack with him, and give the mother gold,
And tell them both the circumstance of all,
And how by this their child shall be advanc'd,
And be received for the Emperor's heir
And substituted in the place of mine,
To calm this tempest whirling in the court;
And let the Emperor dandle him for his own.
Hark ye, lords. You see I have given her physic,
And you must needs bestow her funeral;
The fields are near, and you are gallant grooms.
This done, see that you take no longer days,
But send the midwife presently to me.
The midwife and the nurse well made away,
Then let the ladies tattle what they please.
Aaron, I see thou wilt not trust the air
For this care of Tamora,
Herself and hers are highly bound to thee.
Exeunt DEMETRIUS and CHIRON, bearing off the dead NURSE
Now to the Goths, as swift as swallow flies,
There to dispose this treasure in mine arms,
And secretly to greet the Empress' friends.
Come on, you thick-lipp'd slave, I'll bear you hence;
For it is you that puts us to our shifts.
I'll make you feed on berries and on roots,
And feed on curds and whey, and suck the goat,
And cabin in a cave, and bring you up
To be a warrior and command a camp.