Titus Andronicus

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter Aaron alone with gold
wit (n.) 1 intelligence, wisdom, good sense, mental ability See Topics: Frequency count


He that had wit would think that I had none,

To bury so much gold under a tree

And never after to inherit it.
inherit (v.) 1 receive, obtain, come into possession [of]

Let him that thinks of me so abjectly
abjectly (adv.) contemptibly, in a degrading way, with a low opinion

Know that this gold must coin a stratagem
coin (v.) 1 create, make [as in minting a coin]
stratagem (n.) 1 scheme, device, cunning plan

Which, cunningly effected, will beget
beget (v.), past form begot 2 produce, engender, give rise to

A very excellent piece of villainy.
excellent (adj.) 2 [in a bad or neutral sense] exceptionally great, supreme, extreme

He hides the gold

And so repose, sweet gold, for their unrest

That have their alms out of the Empress' chest.

Enter Tamora alone to the Moor
sad (adj.) 1 serious, grave, solemn See Topics: Frequency count


My lovely Aaron, wherefore look'st thou sad,

When everything doth make a gleeful boast?

The birds chant melody on every bush,

The snake lies rolled in the cheerful sun,

The green leaves quiver with the cooling wind

And make a chequered shadow on the ground.

Under their sweet shade, Aaron, let us sit,

And whilst the babbling echo mocks the hounds,

Replying shrilly to the well-tuned horns,

As if a double hunt were heard at once,

Let us sit down and mark their yellowing noise.
mark (v.) 1 note, pay attention [to], take notice [of] See Topics: Frequency count
yellowing (adj.) yelping, bellowing

And after conflict such as was supposed

The wand'ring prince and Dido once enjoyed,

When with a happy storm they were surprised
happy (adj.) 2 opportune, appropriate, propitious, favourable

And curtained with a counsel-keeping cave,
counsel-keeping (adj.) able to keep secrets

We may, each wreathed in the other's arms,

Our pastimes done, possess a golden slumber,

Whiles hounds and horns and sweet melodious birds

Be unto us as is a nurse's song

Of lullaby to bring her babe asleep.


Madam, though Venus govern your desires,

Saturn is dominator over mine.
dominator (n.) ruler, lord, sovereign

What signifies my deadly-standing eye,
signify (v.) report, make known, declare

My silence, and my cloudy melancholy,

My fleece of woolly hair that now uncurls

Even as an adder when she doth unroll

To do some fatal execution?
execution (n.) 4 killing, slaying, slaughter

No, madam, these are no venereal signs.
venereal (adj.) displaying the character of Venus, associated with sexual desire

Vengeance is in my heart, death in my hand,

Blood and revenge are hammering in my head.

Hark, Tamora, the empress of my soul,

Which never hopes more heaven than rests in thee,

This is the day of doom for Bassianus.
doom, day of last day of life, death-day

His Philomel must lose her tongue today;

Thy sons make pillage of her chastity

And wash their hands in Bassianus' blood.

He holds up a letter

Seest thou this letter? Take it up, I pray thee,

And give the King this fatal-plotted scroll.
fatal-plotted (adj.) containing a deadly plot

Now question me no more, we are espied.
espy (v.) catch sight of, discern, see

Here comes a parcel of our hopeful booty,
hopeful (adj.) 2 hoped-for, anticipated
parcel (n.) 1 part, piece, portion, bit

Which dreads not yet their lives' destruction.
dread (v.) fear, anticipate in fear, be anxious about

Enter Bassianus and Lavinia


Ah, my sweet Moor, sweeter to me than life!


No more, great Empress; Bassianus comes.

Be cross with him, and I'll go fetch thy sons
cross (adj.) 1 perverse, contrarious, contradictory

To back thy quarrels, whatsoe'er they be.



Who have we here? Rome's royal Empress,

Unfurnished of her well-beseeming troop?
troop (n.) company, retinue, band of followers
unfurnished (adj.) 4 deprived, not provided [with]
well-beseeming (adj.) fine-looking, well-ordered

Or is it Dian, habited like her,
habit (v.) dress, clothe, costume
habited (adj.) clothed, dressed, clad

Who hath abandoned her holy groves

To see the general hunting in this forest?
general (adj.) 3 joint, common, communal


Saucy controller of my private steps,
controller (n.) 1 steward, household manager
saucy (adj.) 1 insolent, impudent, presumptuous, defiant

Had I the power that some say Dian had,

Thy temples should be planted presently
presently (adv.) 1 immediately, instantly, at once See Topics: Frequency count

With horns, as was Actaeon's, and the hounds

Should drive upon thy new-transformed limbs,
drive (v.) 3 fall, rush, dash

Unmannerly intruder as thou art.


Under your patience, gentle Empress,
gentle (adj.) 1 well-born, honourable, noble See Topics: Frequency count

'Tis thought you have a goodly gift in horning,
goodly (adj.) 1 splendid, excellent, fine
horning (n.) giving horns, making a cuckold

And to be doubted that your Moor and you
doubt (v.) 2 suspect, have suspicions about, fear

Are singled forth to try experiments.
single forth (v.) [hunting] select from a herd, separate from other people

Jove shield your husband from his hounds today:

'Tis pity they should take him for a stag.


Believe me, Queen, your swart Cimmerian
swart, swarth (adj.) swarthy, dusky, of dark complexion

Doth make your honour of his body's hue,
hue (n.) appearance, complexion

Spotted, detested, and abominable.
spotted (adj.) 1 stained, blemished

Why are you sequestered from all your train,
sequester (v.) separate, remove, cut off

Dismounted from your snow-white goodly steed.
goodly (adj.) 2 good-looking, handsome, attractive, comely

And wandered hither to an obscure plot,

Accompanied but with a barbarous Moor,

If foul desire had not conducted you?


And being intercepted in your sport,
sport (n.) 3 sexual recreation, intercourse, amorous dalliance

Great reason that my noble lord be rated
rate (v.) 1 berate, reproach, rebuke, scold
sauciness (n.) insolence, rudeness, impertinence

For sauciness. (To Bassianus) I pray you, let us hence,

And let her joy her raven-coloured love.
joy (v.) 3 derive enjoyment from, delight in

This valley fits the purpose passing well.
purpose (n.) 1 intention, aim, plan See Topics: Frequency count


The King my brother shall have note of this.


Ay, for these slips have made him noted long.
noted (adj.) 3 stigmatized, disgraced, discredited
slip (n.) 3 lapse, error in conduct, fault

Good king, to be so mightily abused!


Why have I patience to endure all this.

Enter Chiron and Demetrius


How now, dear sovereign and our gracious mother,

Why doth your highness look so pale and wan?


Have I not reason, think you, to look pale?

These two have 'ticed me hither to this place.
'tice (v.) shortened form of ‘entice’

A barren detested vale, you see it is:

The trees, though summer, yet forlorn and lean,

O'ercome with moss and baleful mistletoe;

Here never shines the sun, here nothing breeds,

Unless the nightly owl or fatal raven.
fatal (adj.) 1 ominous, full of foreboding, doom-laden
nightly (adj.) 1 of the night, active at night

And when they showed me this abhorred pit,

They told me here at dead time of the night

A thousand fiends, a thousand hissing snakes,

Ten thousand swelling toads, as many urchins,
urchin (n.) 1 hedgehog

Would make such fearful and confused cries

As any mortal body hearing it

Should straight fall mad, or else die suddenly.
straight (adv.) straightaway, immediately, at once See Topics: Frequency count

No sooner had they told this hellish tale,

But straight they told me they would bind me here

Unto the body of a dismal yew

And leave me to this miserable death.

And then they called me foul adulteress,

Lascivious Goth, and all the bitterest terms

That ever ear did hear to such effect.

And had you not by wondrous fortune come,

This vengeance on me had they executed.
vengeance (n.) 1 harm, mischief, damage

Revenge it as you love your mother's life,

Or be ye not henceforth called my children.


This is a witness that I am thy son.

He stabs Bassianus


And this for me, struck home to show my strength.

He also stabs Bassianus, who dies.

Tamora threatens Lavinia


Ay, come, Semiramis, nay, barbarous Tamora,

For no name fits thy nature but thy own.


Give me the poniard. You shall know, my boys,
poniard (n.) dagger See Topics: Weapons

Your mother's hand shall right your mother's wrong.


Stay, madam, here is more belongs to her:

First thrash the corn, then after burn the straw.

This minion stood upon her chastity,
minion (n.) 2 hussy, jade, minx
stand upon (v.) 1 make an issue of, insist upon, bother about

Upon her nuptial vow, her loyalty,

And with that quaint hope braves your mightiness.
brave (v.) 1 challenge, defy, confront, provoke
quaint (adj.) 5 nice, prim, fastidious

And shall she carry this unto her grave?


And if she do, I would I were an eunuch.

Drag hence her husband to some secret hole,

And make his dead trunk pillow to our lust.


But when ye have the honey ye desire,

Let not this wasp outlive, us both to sting.
outlive (v.) survive, live longer


I warrant you, madam, we will make that sure.
sure (adj.) 2 harmless, innocuous, unable to cause damage
warrant (v.) 1 assure, promise, guarantee, confirm See Topics: Frequency count

Come, mistress, now perforce we will enjoy
perforce (adv.) 1 forcibly, by force, violently See Topics: Frequency count

That nice-preserved honesty of yours.
honesty (n.) 1 virtue, chastity


O Tamora, thou bearest a woman's face –


I will not hear her speak. Away with her!


Sweet lords, entreat her hear me but a word.


(to Tamora)

Listen, fair madam, let it be your glory

To see her tears, but be your heart to them

As unrelenting flint to drops of rain.

LAVINIA (to Demetrius)

(to Demetrius)
dam (n.) mother See Topics: Family

When did the tiger's young ones teach the dam?

O, do not learn her wrath. She taught it thee:

The milk thou sucked'st from her did turn to marble,

Even at thy teat thou hadst thy tyranny.

(To Chiron) Yet every mother breeds not sons alike:

Do thou entreat her show a woman's pity.


What, wouldst thou have me prove myself a bastard?


'Tis true, the raven doth not hatch a lark.

Yet have I heard – O, could I find it now! –

The lion, moved with pity, did endure

To have his princely paws pared all away.

Some say that ravens foster forlorn children

The whilst their own birds famish in their nests.
bird (n.) 1 young bird, fledgeling, nestling

O be to me, though thy hard heart say no,

Nothing so kind, but something pitiful.
something (adv.) 2 a little, to some extent


I know not what it means; away with her!


O, let me teach thee for my father's sake,

That gave thee life when well he might have slain thee.

Be not obdurate, open thy deaf ears.


Hadst thou in person ne'er offended me,

Even for his sake am I pitiless.

Remember, boys, I poured forth tears in vain

To save your brother from the sacrifice,

But fierce Andronicus would not relent.

Therefore away with her, and use her as you will:

The worse to her, the better loved of me.


(clasping Tamora)
gentle (adj.) 2 courteous, friendly, kind

O Tamora, be called a gentle queen,

And with thine own hands kill me in this place,

For 'tis not life that I have begged so long.

Poor I was slain when Bassianus died.


What begg'st thou then, fond woman? Let me go!
fond (adj.) 1 foolish, stupid, mad


'Tis present death I beg, and one thing more

That womanhood denies my tongue to tell.
deny (v.) 3 disallow, forbid, refuse permission [for]
womanhood (n.) gentle womanliness, female modesty

O, keep me from their worse-than-killing lust,

And tumble me into some loathsome pit

Where never man's eye may behold my body.

Do this, and be a charitable murderer.


So should I rob my sweet sons of their fee.

No, let them satisfy their lust on thee.


(to Lavinia)
stay (v.) 7 detain, confine, keep

Away, for thou hast stayed us here too long.


No grace? No womanhood? Ah, beastly creature,

The blot and enemy to our general name,
general (adj.) 1 common, of everyone, public
name (n.) 1 reputation, fame, renown

Confusion fall –


                         Nay then, I'll stop your mouth.

He seizes Lavinia

(To Demetrius) Bring thou her husband.

This is the hole where Aaron bid us hide him.

Demetrius drags the body of Bassianus into the pit and

covers the opening


Farewell, my sons. See that you make her sure.
sure (adj.) 2 harmless, innocuous, unable to cause damage

Exeunt Chiron and Demetrius with Lavinia

Ne'er let my heart know merry cheer indeed
cheer (n.) 5 mood, disposition See Topics: Exclamations

Till all the Andronici be made away.
make away (v.) put an end to, do away with

Now will I hence to seek my lovely Moor,

And let my spleenful sons this trull deflower.
spleenful (adj.) passionate, furious, hot-headed
trull (n.) drab, trollop, whore


Enter Aaron with two of Titus's sons, Quintus and



Come on, my lords, the better foot before.

Straight will I bring you to the loathsome pit
straight (adv.) straightaway, immediately, at once See Topics: Frequency count

Where I espied the panther fast asleep.


My sight is very dull, whate'er it bodes.
bode (v.) 1 forebode, portend, predict, augur
dull (adj.) 4 dim, not sharp, lacking keenness


And mine, I promise you. Were it not for shame,

Well could I leave our sport to sleep awhile.
sport (n.) 1 recreation, amusement, entertainment See Topics: Frequency count

He falls into the pit
rude-growing (adj.) spreading rough and wild
subtle, subtile (adj.) 2 tricky, deceptive, treacherous


What, art thou fallen? What subtle hole is this,

Whose mouth is covered with rude-growing briers,

Upon whose leaves are drops of new-shed blood

As fresh as morning dew distilled on flowers?
distil (v.) 2 trickle down, fall in tiny drops

A very fatal place it seems to me.
fatal (adj.) 3 death-dealing, death-boding

Speak, brother, hast thou hurt thee with the fall?


O brother, with the dismall'st object hurt
object (n.) 1 spectacle, sight, object of attention

That ever eye with sight made heart lament.



Now will I fetch the King to find them here,

That he thereby may have a likely guess

How these were they that made away his brother.
make away (v.) put an end to, do away with



Why dost not comfort me and help me out
comfort (v.) 2 assist, help, give aid to

From this unhallowed and blood-stained hole?
unhallowed (adj.) 1 unholy, wicked, sacrilegious


I am surprised with an uncouth fear:
surprise (v.) 3 astonish, bewilder, perplex
uncouth (adj.) unfamiliar, strange, unknown

A chilling sweat o'erruns my trembling joints;

My heart suspects more than mine eye can see.


To prove thou hast a true-divining heart,
true-divining (adj.) capable of foretelling the truth

Aaron and thou look down into this den

And see a fearful sight of blood and death.


Aaron is gone, and my compassionate heart

Will not permit mine eyes once to behold

The thing whereat it trembles by surmise.
surmise (n.) 1 idea, imagining, conjecture

O tell me who it is, for ne'er till now

Was I a child to fear I know not what.


Lord Bassianus lies berayed in blood
beray (v.) stain, defile, disfigure

All on a heap, like to a slaughtered lamb,

In this detested, dark, blood-drinking pit.


If it be dark, how dost thou know 'tis he?


Upon his bloody finger he doth wear

A precious ring that lightens all this hole,

Which like a taper in some monument
taper (n.) candle

Doth shine upon the dead man's earthy cheeks,
earthy (adj.) 3 pale, earth-coloured, lifeless as earth

And shows the ragged entrails of this pit.
entrails (n.) inside, interior
ragged (adj.) 1 rough, harsh

So pale did shine the moon on Pyramus

When he by night lay bathed in maiden blood.

O brother, help me with thy fainting hand –

If fear hath made thee faint, as me it hath –

Out of this fell devouring receptacle,
receptacle (n.) repository, storehouse, receiving-chamber

As hateful as Cocytus' misty mouth.


Reach me thy hand, that I may help thee out,

Or, wanting strength to do thee so much good,
want (v.) 3 fall short [of], be deficient [in]

I may be plucked into the swallowing womb

Of this deep pit, poor Bassianus' grave.

I have no strength to pluck thee to the brink –


Nor I no strength to climb without thy help.


Thy hand once more; I will not loose again

Till thou art here aloft or I below.

Thou canst not come to me – I come to thee.

He falls in.

Enter the Emperor with attendants and Aaron, the



Along with me. I'll see what hole is here,

And what he is that now is leapt into it.

Say, who art thou that lately didst descend
lately (adv.) 1 recently, of late

Into this gaping hollow of the earth?


The unhappy sons of old Andronicus,

Brought hither in a most unlucky hour

To find thy brother Bassianus dead.


My brother dead? I know thou dost but jest.

He and his lady both are at the lodge

Upon the north side of this pleasant chase.
chase (n.) 3 hunting ground, territory

'Tis not an hour since I left them there.


We know not where you left them all alive,

But, out alas, here have we found him dead.

Enter Tamora, Titus Andronicus, and Lucius


Where is my lord the King?


Here, Tamora, though grieved with killing grief.
gride (v.) pierce, wound, stab


Where is thy brother Bassianus?


Now to the bottom dost thou search my wound:
search (v.) 1 probe, explore, examine

Poor Bassianus here lies murdered.


Then all too late I bring this fatal writ,
writ (n.) 1 document, missive, letter

The complot of this timeless tragedy,
complot (n.) plot, conspiracy, covert plan
timeless (adj.) untimely, premature, ill-timed

And wonder greatly that man's face can fold

In pleasing smiles such murderous tyranny.

She gives Saturninus a letter
handsomely (adv.) 2 conveniently, opportunely, readily to hand



And if we miss to meet him handsomely,

Sweet huntsman – Bassianus 'tis we mean –

Do thou so much as dig the grave for him.

Thou know'st our meaning. Look for thy reward

Among the nettles at the elder tree

Which overshades the mouth of that same pit

Where we decreed to bury Bassianus.
decree (v.) arrange, decide, resolve

Do this and purchase us thy lasting friends.
purchase (v.) 1 acquire, obtain, win

O Tamora, was ever heard the like?

This is the pit, and this the elder tree.

Look, sirs, if you can find the huntsman out

That should have murdered Bassianus here.


My gracious lord, here is the bag of gold.


(to Titus)
fell (adj.) 1 cruel, fierce, savage
kind (n.) 1 nature, reality, character, disposition

Two of thy whelps, fell curs of bloody kind,

Have here bereft my brother of his life.
bereave (v.) 1 take away [from], deprive, deny, rob

Sirs, drag them from the pit unto the prison.

There let them bide until we have devised
bide (v.) 3 remain, persist, continue in being

Some never-heard-of torturing pain for them.

Attendants pull Quintus, Martius, and Bassianus's

body from the pit


What are they in this pit? O wondrous thing!

How easily murder is discovered!
discover (v.) 3 expose, uncover, give away



High Emperor, upon my feeble knee

I beg this boon, with tears not lightly shed,

That this fell fault of my accursed sons –
fell (adj.) 2 mighty, terrible

Accursed if the faults be proved in them –


If it be proved? You see it is apparent.

Who found this letter? Tamora, was it you?


Andronicus himself did take it up.


I did, my lord; yet let me be their bail,

For by my fathers' reverend tomb I vow

They shall be ready at your highness' will

To answer their suspicion with their lives.
answer (v.) 4 suffer the consequences [for], be accountable [for]


Thou shalt not bail them. See thou follow me.

Titus rises

Some bring the murdered body, some the murderers.

Let them not speak a word, the guilt is plain;

For, by my soul, were there worse end than death,

That end upon them should be executed.


Andronicus, I will entreat the King;

Fear not thy sons, they shall do well enough.


Come, Lucius, come; stay not to talk with them.

Exeunt with Martius and Quintus under guard,

and attendants with the body of Bassianus

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