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Seest thou this letter? take it up I pray thee,
And give the king this fatal-plotted scroll :-
Now question me no more, we are espied ;
Here comes a parcel' of our hopeful booty,
Which dreads not yet their lives' destruction.

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

Aar. No more, great empress, Bassianus comes : Be cross with him; and I'll go fetch thy sons To back thy quarrels, whatsoe'er they be. [Erit.

Enter BASSIANUS and LAVINIA.
Bas. Who have we here? Rome's royal emperess,
Unfurnish'd of her well-beseeming troop?
Or is it Dian, habited like her ;
Who hath abandoned her holy groves,
To see the general hunting in this forest?

Tam. Saucy controller of our private steps !
Had I the power, that, some say, Dian had,
Thy temples should be planted presently
With horns, as was Actæon's; and the hounds
Should drive upon thy new transformed limbs,
Unmannerly intruder as thou art !

Lav. Under your patience, gentle emperess, 'Tis thought you have a goodly gift in horning; And to be doubted, that your Moor and you Are singled forth to try experiments : Jove shield your husband from his hounds to-day! 'Tis pity, they should take him for a stag.

Bas. Believe me, queen, your swarth Cimmeriaq Doth make your honour of his body's hue, Spotted, detested, and abominable.

Part:

Why are you sequester'd from all your train ?
Dismounted from your snow-white goodly steed,
And wander'd hither to an obscure plot,
Accompanied with a barbarous Moor,
If foul desire had not conducted

you

? Lav. And, being intercepted in your sport, Great reason that

my

noble lord be rated For sauciness.- I pray you, let us hence, And let her 'joy her raven-colour'd love ; This valley fits the purpose passing well.

Bas. The king, my brother, shall have note of this.

Lav. Ay, for these slips have made him noted long : Good king! to be so mightily abus'd!

Tam. Why have I patience to endure all this?

Enter CHIRON and DEMETRIUS. Dem. How now, dear sovereign, and our gracious

mother, Why doth your highness look so pale and wan?

Tam. Have I not reason, think you, to look pale? These two have ʼtic'd me hither to this place, A barren detested vale, you see, it is : The trees, though summer, yet forlorn and lean, O'ercome with moss, and baleful misletoe. Here never shines the sun; here nothing breeds, Unless the nightly owl, or fatal raven. And, when they show'd 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, a Would make such fearful and confused cries,

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2 Hedge-hogs.

As any mortal body, hearing it,
Should straight fall mad, or else die suddenly.
No sooner had they told this hellish tale,
But straight they told me, they would bind me here
Unto the body of a disinal yew ;
And leave me to this miserable death.
And then they call'd 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 :
Revenge it, as you love your mother's life,
Or be ye not henceforth call'd my children.
Dem. This is a witness that I am thy son.

[Stabs BASSIANUS. Chi. And this for me, struck home to show my

strength. [Stabbing him likewise. Lav. Ay come, Semiramis,-nay, barbarous Ta.

mora ! For no name fits thy nature but thy own! Tam. Give me thy poniard ; you shall know, my

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

Dem. Stay, madam, here is more belongs to her;
First, thrash the corn, then after burn the straw:
This minion stood upon her chastity,
Upon her nuptial vow, her loyalty,
And with that painted hope braves your mightiness :
And shall she carry this unto her grave?

Chi. An 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,

Tam. But when you have the honey you desire, Let not this wasp outlive, us both to sting.

Chi. I warrant you, madam; we will make that

sure.

Come, mistress, now perforce we will enjoy
That nice-preserved honesty of yours.

Lav. 0 Tamora! thou bear'st a woman's face,
Tam. I will not hear her speak; away with her.
Lav. Sweet lords, entreat her hear me but a word.

Dem. 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.

Lav. When did the tiger's young ones teach the dam? O, do not learn her wrath ; she taught it thee : The milk, thou suck’dst from her, did turn to marble ; Even at thy teat thou hadst thy tyranny.-Yet every

mother breeds not sons alike; Do thou entreat her shew a woman pity.

[To Chiron. Chi. What! would'st thou have me prove myself a

bastard ? Lav. 'Tis true; the raven doth not hatch a lark: Yet I have heard, (O could I find it now!) The lion mov'd with pity, did endure To have his princely paws par'd all away. Some say that ravens foster forlorn children, The whilst their own birds famish in their nests : O, be to me, though thy hard heart say no, Nothing so kind, but something pitiful !

Tam. I know not what it means; away with her.

Lav. 0, 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.

Tam. Had thou in person ne'er offended me,
Even for his sake am I pitiless :-
Remember, boys, I pour'd 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 lov'd of me.

Lav. O Tamora, be call'd a gentle queen, And with thine own hands kill me in this place: For 'tis not life, that I have begg'd so long; Poor I was slain, when Bassianus died.

Tam. What begg'st thou then ; fond woman, let

me go.

my body:

Lav. 'Tis present death I beg; and one thing more, That womanhood denies my tongue to tell : O, keep me from their worse than killing lust, And tumble me into some loathsome pit; Where never man's eye may

behold Do this, and be a charitable murderer.

Tam. So should I rob my sweet sons of their fee: No, let them satisfy their lust thee.

Dem. Away, for thou hast staid us here too long. Lar. No grace? no womanhood? Ah, beastly

creature! The blot and enemy to our general name! Confusion fallChi. Nay, then I'll stop your mouth :-Bring thou

her husband; [Dragging off LAVINIA. This is the hole where Aaron bid us hide him.

[Ereunt. Tam. Farewell, my sons: see that you make her sure:

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