Titus Andronicus

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter Young Lucius and Lavinia running after him,

and the boy flies from her with his books under his


Enter Titus and Marcus


Help, grandsire, help! My aunt Lavinia
grandsire (n.) 1 grandfather See Topics: Family

Follows me everywhere, I know not why.

Good uncle Marcus, see how swift she comes.

Alas, sweet aunt, I know not what you mean.

He drops his books


Stand by me, Lucius; do not fear thine aunt.


She loves thee, boy, too well to do thee harm.


Ay, when my father was in Rome she did.


What means my niece Lavinia by these signs?


Fear her not, Lucius; somewhat doth she mean.
somewhat (n.) something


See, Lucius, see how much she makes of thee:

Somewhither would she have thee go with her.

Ah, boy, Cornelia never with more care

Read to her sons than she hath read to thee

Sweet poetry and Tully's Orator.

Canst thou not guess wherefore she plies thee thus?
ply (v.) keep on at, press, urge


My lord, I know not, I, nor can I guess,

Unless some fit or frenzy do possess her;
frenzy (n.) distraction, agitation, delirium

For I have heard my grandsire say full oft
full (adv.) 2 very, exceedingly, extremely

Extremity of griefs would make men mad,
oft (adv.) often See Topics: Frequency count

And I have read that Hecuba of Troy

Ran mad for sorrow. That made me to fear,

Although, my lord, I know my noble aunt

Loves me as dear as e'er my mother did,

And would not but in fury fright my youth,
fright (v.), past form frighted frighten, scare, terrify See Topics: Frequency count
fury (n.) 3 fit of madness

Which made me down to throw my books and fly,

Causeless perhaps. But pardon me, sweet aunt,

And, madam, if my uncle Marcus go,
go (v.) 3 come, accompany, stay

I will most willingly attend your ladyship.
attend (v.) 4 accompany, follow closely, go with


Lucius, I will.

Lavinia turns over the books dropped by Lucius


How now, Lavinia? Marcus, what means this?

Some book there is that she desires to see.

Which is it, girl, of these? Open them, boy.

(To Lavinia) But thou art deeper read and better skilled.

Come and take choice of all my library,

And so beguile thy sorrow, till the heavens
beguile (v.) 6 divert attention from, disguise

Reveal the damned contriver of this deed.

Why lifts she up her arms in sequence thus?


I think she means that there were more than one

Confederate in the fact. Ay, more there was,

Or else to heaven she heaves them for revenge.
heave (v.) 1 raise, lift up


Lucius, what book is that she tosseth so?
toss (v.) 1 stir up, disturb, toss about


Grandsire, 'tis Ovid's Metamorphoses;

My mother gave it me.


                         For love of her that's gone,

Perhaps she culled it from among the rest.
cull (v.) select, pick out, choose


Soft, so busily she turns the leaves.

Help her! What would she find? Lavinia, shall I read?

This is the tragic tale of Philomel,

And treats of Tereus' treason and his rape;

And rape, I fear, was root of thy annoy.
annoy (n.) 1 trouble, vexation, distress


See, brother, see: note how she quotes the leaves.
quote (v.) 1 closely observe, note, examine


Lavinia, wert thou thus surprised, sweet girl?
surprise (v.) 1 attack, capture, seize

Ravished and wronged, as Philomela was,

Forced in the ruthless, vast, and gloomy woods?
vast (adj.) boundless, extensive, widespread

See, see. Ay, such a place there is where we did hunt –

O, had we never, never hunted there –

Patterned by that the poet here describes,

By nature made for murders and for rapes.


O, why should nature build so foul a den,

Unless the gods delight in tragedies?


Give signs, sweet girl, for here are none but friends,

What Roman lord it was durst do the deed?

Or slunk not Saturnine, as Tarquin erst,

That left the camp to sin in Lucrece' bed?


Sit down, sweet niece. Brother, sit down by me.

They sit

Apollo, Pallas, Jove or Mercury

Inspire me, that I may this treason find.

My lord, look here; look here, Lavinia.

This sandy plot is plain; guide, if thou canst,
plain (adj.) 3 [bowls] level, flat, even, smooth

This after me.

He writes his name with his staff, and guides it with

feet and mouth

                         I have writ my name

Without the help of any hand at all.

Cursed be that heart that forced us to this shift!
shift (n.) 1 expedient, measure, arrangement [especially as 'make shift' = contrive]

Write thou, good niece, and here display at last

What God will have discovered for revenge.
discover (v.) 1 reveal, show, make known See Topics: Frequency count

Heaven guide thy pen to print thy sorrows plain,

That we may know the traitors and the truth.

She takes the staff in her mouth, and guides it with

her stumps, and writes

O, do ye read, my lord, what she hath writ?


Stuprum – Chiron – Demetrius.’


What, what? The lustful sons of Tamora

Performers of this heinous, bloody deed?


Magni dominator poli,
magni... master of the great heavens, do you so calmly hear crimes, so calmly see them See Topics: Latin

Tam lentus audis scelera, tam lentus vides?


O, calm thee, gentle lord, although I know
gentle (adj.) 1 well-born, honourable, noble See Topics: Frequency count

There is enough written upon this earth

To stir a mutiny in the mildest thoughts,
mutiny (n.) 2 rebellion, revolt, quarrel

And arm the minds of infants to exclaims.
exclaim (n.) exclamation, outcry, protest

My lord, kneel down with me; Lavinia, kneel;

And kneel, sweet boy, the Roman Hector's hope;

They kneel
fere (n.) spouse, partner, wife / husband

And swear with me – as, with the woeful fere

And father of that chaste dishonoured dame,

Lord Junius Brutus swore for Lucrece' rape –

That we will prosecute by good advice
advice (n.) 1 consideration, reflection, deliberation
prosecute (v.) pursue, follow up, seek

Mortal revenge upon these traitorous Goths,
mortal (adj.) 1 fatal, deadly, lethal

And see their blood, or die with this reproach.
reproach (n.) 1 blame, disgrace, shame

They rise


'Tis sure enough, and you knew how.

But if you hunt these bear-whelps, then beware:

The dam will wake, and if she wind ye once.
dam (n.) mother See Topics: Family
wind (v.) 1 scent, get wind of

She's with the lion deeply still in league,

And lulls him whilst she playeth on her back,

And, when he sleeps, will she do what she list.
list (v.) 1 wish, like, please

You are a young huntsman, Marcus. Let alone,

And come, I will go get a leaf of brass,

And with a gad of steel will write these words,
gad (n.) engraving tool, stylus

And lay it by. The angry northern wind

Will blow these sands like Sibyl's leaves abroad,
abroad (adv.) 5 widely scattered, all over the place

And where's our lesson then? Boy, what say you?


I say, my lord, that if I were a man

Their mother's bedchamber should not be safe

For these base bondmen to the yoke of Rome.
base (adj.) 2 low-born, lowly, plebeian, of lower rank See Topics: Frequency count
bondman (n.) bondsman, serf, slave
yoke (n.) 1 servitude, state of subjection


Ay, that's my boy! Thy father hath full oft

For his ungrateful country done the like.
like, the the same
oft (adv.) often See Topics: Frequency count


And, uncle, so will I, and if I live.


Come, go with me into mine armoury.

Lucius, I'll fit thee, and withal my boy
fit (v.) 5 fit out, equip, provide

Shall carry from me to the Empress' sons

Presents that I intend to send them both.

Come, come, thou'lt do thy message, wilt thou not?


Ay, with my dagger in their bosoms, grandsire.


No, boy, not so. I'll teach thee another course.
course (n.) 1 course of action, way of proceeding See Topics: Frequency count

Lavinia, come. Marcus, look to my house;

Lucius and I'll go brave it at the court.
brave (v.) 3 swagger, act boastfully, show off

Ay, marry, will we, sir, and we'll be waited on.
wait on / upon (v.) 4 attend to, pay attention to, not ignore

Exeunt Titus, Lavinia, and boy


O heavens, can you hear a good man groan
compassion (v.) have compassion on, pity, be sorry for

And not relent, or not compassion him?
ecstasy (n.) 1 fit, bout of madness, frenzied behaviour

Marcus, attend him in his ecstasy,
attend (v.) 4 accompany, follow closely, go with

That hath more scars of sorrow in his heart

Than foemen's marks upon his battered shield,

But yet so just that he will not revenge.

Revenge the heavens for old Andronicus!


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