Titus Andronicus

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter the Empress' sons, Chiron and Demetrius, with

Lavinia, her hands cut off, and her tongue cut out,

and ravished


So now go tell, and if thy tongue can speak,

Who 'twas that cut thy tongue and ravished thee.


Write down thy mind, bewray thy meaning so,
bewray (v.) 1 betray, reveal, expose

And if thy stumps will let thee play the scribe.


See how with signs and tokens she can scrawl.


(to Lavinia)
sweet (adj.) 1 perfumed, scented, fragrant

Go home, call for sweet water, wash thy hands.


She hath no tongue to call, nor hands to wash,

And so let's leave her to her silent walks.


An 'twere my cause, I should go hang myself.
cause (n.) 4 affair, business, subject


If thou hadst hands to help thee knit the cord.
knit, knit up (v.) 1 tie, fasten [by means of a knot]

Exeunt Chiron and Demetrius

Wind horns. Enter Marcus from hunting to Lavinia


Who is this? My niece, that flies away so fast?

Cousin, a word. Where is your husband?

If I do dream, would all my wealth would wake me;

If I do wake, some planet strike me down

That I may slumber an eternal sleep.

Speak, gentle niece, what stern ungentle hands
gentle (adj.) 6 soft, tender, kind

Have lopped and hewed and made thy body bare

Of her two branches, those sweet ornaments,

Whose circling shadows kings have sought to sleep in,

And might not gain so great a happiness

As half thy love? Why dost not speak to me?

Alas, a crimson river of warm blood,

Like to a babbling fountain stirred with wind,

Doth rise and fall between thy rosed lips,
rosed (adj.) rosy, rose-coloured

Coming and going with thy honey breath.

But sure some Tereus hath deflowered thee,

And, lest thou shouldst detect him, cut thy tongue.
detect (v.) 1 expose, unmask, uncover

Ah, now thou turn'st away thy face for shame,

And notwithstanding all this loss of blood,

As from a conduit with three issuing spouts,
conduit (n.) 3 channel, outflowing, water-spout, fountain

Yet do thy cheeks look red as Titan's face

Blushing to be encountered with a cloud.

Shall I speak for thee? Shall I say 'tis so?

O that I knew thy heart, and knew the beast,

That I might rail at him to ease my mind!
rail (v.) rant, rave, be abusive [about] See Topics: Frequency count

Sorrow concealed, like an oven stopped,

Doth burn the heart to cinders where it is.

Fair Philomela, why she but lost her tongue

And in a tedious sampler sewed her mind;
sampler (n.) piece of embroidery
tedious (adj.) 1 laborious, painstaking, wearyingly intricate

But, lovely niece, that mean is cut from thee.

A craftier Tereus, cousin, hast thou met,

And he hath cut those pretty fingers off

That could have better sewed than Philomel.

O, had the monster seen those lily hands
lily (adj.) lily-white

Tremble like aspen leaves upon a lute

And make the silken strings delight to kiss them,

He would not then have touched them for his life.

Or had he heard the heavenly harmony

Which that sweet tongue hath made,

He would have dropped his knife and fell asleep,

As Cerberus at the Thracian poet's feet.

Come, let us go and make thy father blind,

For such a sight will blind a father's eye.

One hour's storm will drown the fragrant meads;
mead (n.) meadow

What will whole months of tears thy father's eyes?

Do not draw back, for we will mourn with thee.

O, could our mourning ease thy misery.


  Previous scene     Next scene