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Titus Andronicus - Act 2, scene 4
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Navigate this workTitus Andronicus - Act 2, scene 4
Act 2, scene 4
The raped and mutilated Lavinia is discovered by her horrified uncle, Marcus.Enter the Empress’ sons, ⌜Demetrius and Chiron,⌝
with Lavinia, her hands cut off, and her tongue cut out,
0985 So, now go tell, an if thy tongue can speak,
0986 Who ’twas that cut thy tongue and ravished thee.
0987 Write down thy mind; bewray thy meaning so,
0988 An if thy stumps will let thee play the scribe.
0989 5 See how with signs and tokens she can scrowl.
CHIRON, ⌜to Lavinia⌝
0990 Go home. Call for sweet water; wash thy hands.
0991 She hath no tongue to call, nor hands to wash;
0992 And so let’s leave her to her silent walks.
0993 An ’twere my cause, I should go hang myself.
0994 10 If thou hadst hands to help thee knit the cord.
⌜Chiron and Demetrius⌝ exit.
Enter Marcus from hunting.
0995 Who is this? My niece, that flies away so fast?—
0996 Cousin, a word. Where is your husband?
0997 If I do dream, would all my wealth would wake me.
0998 If I do wake, some planet strike me down
0999 15 That I may slumber an eternal sleep.
1000 Speak, gentle niece. What stern ungentle hands
1001 Hath lopped and hewed and made thy body bare
1002 Of her two branches, those sweet ornaments
1003 Whose circling shadows kings have sought to sleep in,
1004 20 And might not gain so great a happiness
1005 As half thy love? Why dost not speak to me?
p. 871006 Alas, a crimson river of warm blood,
1007 Like to a bubbling fountain stirred with wind,
1008 Doth rise and fall between thy rosèd lips,
1009 25 Coming and going with thy honey breath.
1010 But sure some Tereus hath deflowered thee,
1011 And lest thou shouldst detect ⌜him⌝ cut thy tongue.
1012 Ah, now thou turn’st away thy face for shame,
1013 And notwithstanding all this loss of blood,
1014 30 As from a conduit with ⌜three⌝ issuing spouts,
1015 Yet do thy cheeks look red as Titan’s face,
1016 Blushing to be encountered with a cloud.
1017 Shall I speak for thee, shall I say ’tis so?
1018 O, that I knew thy heart, and knew the beast,
1019 35 That I might rail at him to ease my mind.
1020 Sorrow concealèd, like an oven stopped,
1021 Doth burn the heart to cinders where it is.
1022 Fair Philomela, why she but lost her tongue,
1023 And in a tedious sampler sewed her mind;
1024 40 But, lovely niece, that mean is cut from thee.
1025 A craftier Tereus, cousin, hast thou met,
1026 And he hath cut those pretty fingers off
1027 That could have better sewed than Philomel.
1028 O, had the monster seen those lily hands
1029 45 Tremble like aspen leaves upon a lute
1030 And make the silken strings delight to kiss them,
1031 He would not then have touched them for his life.
1032 Or had he heard the heavenly harmony
1033 Which that sweet tongue hath made,
1034 50 He would have dropped his knife and fell asleep,
1035 As Cerberus at the Thracian poet’s feet.
1036 Come, let us go and make thy father blind,
1037 For such a sight will blind a father’s eye.
1038 One hour’s storm will drown the fragrant meads;
1039 55 What will whole months of tears thy father’s eyes?
1040 Do not draw back, for we will mourn with thee.
1041 O, could our mourning ease thy misery!