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Titus Andronicus

Titus Andronicus Translation Act 4, Scene 1

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Enter YOUNG LUCIUS, and LAVINIA running after him, and the boy flies from her, with books under his arm. Then enter TITUS and MARCUS

YOUNG LUCIUS

Help, grandsire, help! my aunt Lavinia Follows me every where, I know not why: Good uncle Marcus, see how swift she comes. Alas, sweet aunt, I know not what you mean.

YOUNG LUCIUS

Help, grandfather, help! My aunt Lavinia follows me everywhere, but I don’t know why. Uncle Marcus, see how quickly she comes after me. Oh, sweet aunt, I don’t know what you mean.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

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

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Stand by me, Lucius; don't be afraid of your aunt.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

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

TITUS ANDRONICUS

She loves you too much to hurt you, boy.

YOUNG LUCIUS

Ay, when my father was in Rome she did.

YOUNG LUCIUS

Yes, when my father was in Rome she did.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

What means my niece Lavinia by these signs?

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

What does my niece Lavinia mean by this sign language? 

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Fear her not, Lucius: somewhat doth she mean: 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.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Don’t be afraid of her, Lucius; she means something. See, Lucius, how much she loves you; she wants you to go somewhere with her. Oh, boy, Cornelia never read to her sons with so much care as Lavinia reads you sweet poetry and Tully’s Orator.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Canst thou not guess wherefore she plies thee thus?

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Can't you guess what she wants from you?

YOUNG LUCIUS

My lord, I know not, I, nor can I guess, Unless some fit or frenzy do possess her: For I have heard my grandsire say full oft, Extremity of griefs would make men mad; And I have read that Hecuba of Troy Ran mad through 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: Which made me down to throw my books, and fly— Causeless, perhaps. But pardon me, sweet aunt: And, madam, if my uncle Marcus go, I will most willingly attend your ladyship.

YOUNG LUCIUS

My lord, I don’t know and I can’t guess. Unless she’s suffering from some fit or madness, for I’ve often heard my grandfather say that extreme grief makes people mad, and I’ve read that Hecuba of Troy went mad from sorrow. That made me afraid—although, my lord, I know my noble aunt loves me as dearly as my mother ever did, and would only in madness have ever frightened me—and I threw down my books and ran, but perhaps for no reason. Forgive me, sweet aunt; and madam, if my uncle Marcus comes with us, I’ll gladly go with you.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Lucius, I will.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Lucius, I will.

LAVINIA turns over with her stumps the books which LUCIUS has let fall

TITUS ANDRONICUS

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. But thou art deeper read, and better skill'd Come, and take choice of all my library, And so beguile thy sorrow, till the heavens Reveal the damn'd contriver of this deed. Why lifts she up her arms in sequence thus?

TITUS ANDRONICUS

What are you doing, Lavinia? Marcus, what does this mean? She wants to see one of these books. Which book? Open them, boy.

[To LAVINIA]
 You’re a better reader than me—come and take any book from my library, and so distract yourself from your sorrow until the heavens reveal who did this to you. Why does she lift her arms up twice?

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

I think she means that there was more than oneConfederate in the fact: ay, more there was;Or else to heaven she heaves them for revenge.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

I think she means that there was more than one who did this; yes, there was more than one. Unless she’s praying to heaven for revenge.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Lucius, what book is that she tosseth so?

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Lucius, which book is she searching through so frantically? 

YOUNG LUCIUS

Grandsire, 'tis Ovid's Metamorphoses;My mother gave it me.

YOUNG LUCIUS

Grandfather, it's Ovid's Metamorphoses; my mother gave it to me.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

For love of her that's gone,Perhaps she cull'd it from among the rest.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Perhaps she chose it for love of Lucius's mother.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Soft! see how busily she turns the leaves!

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Look! See how quickly she turns the pages.

Helping 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 thine annoy.

What is she looking for? Lavinia, do you want me to read? This is the tragic story of Philomel, who was raped by Tereus—and rape, I fear, was what happened to you.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

See, brother, see; note how she quotes the leaves.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

See, brother, see; look how she's pointing to particular passages.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Lavinia, wert thou thus surprised, sweet girl, Ravish'd and wrong'd, as Philomela was, Forced in the ruthless, vast, and gloomy woods? See, see! Ay, such a place there is, where we did hunt— O, had we never, never hunted there!— Pattern'd by that the poet here describes, By nature made for murders and for rapes.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Lavinia, were you attacked, sweet girl, raped as Philomel was in the silent, vast, and gloomy woods? Of course, of course! Yes, there is a place like that, the wood where we hunted—oh, I wish we had never, never hunted there!—just like the one described by Ovid, made by nature for murder and rape.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

O, why should nature build so foul a den,Unless the gods delight in tragedies?

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Oh, why would nature create such a foul place, unless the gods take delight in our suffering?

TITUS ANDRONICUS

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?

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Give signs, sweet girl, for everyone here is your friend: what Roman lord is responsible? Was it Saturnine—like Tarquin, who left the camp to attack Lucrece?

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Sit down, sweet niece: brother, sit down by me. 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 This after me, when I have writ my name Without the help of any hand at all.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Sit down, sweet niece: brother, sit down by me. May Apollo, Pallas, Jove, or Mercury inspire me, so that I can find some way to expose the criminal! My lord, look; look at this, Lavinia. This is a plain plot of sand; if I take this stick, I can write my name without any hands at all. If you can, do what I did.

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

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Cursed be that heart that forced us to this shift! Write thou good niece; and here display, at last, What God will have discover'd for revenge; Heaven guide thy pen to print thy sorrows plain, That we may know the traitors and the truth!

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Curses on the heart that forced us to this method! Write, good niece; and tell us, at last, what God wants to be known so that we can take revenge. Heaven will guide your pen to show what happened, so that we may know the traitors and the truth!

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

TITUS ANDRONICUS

O, do ye read, my lord, what she hath writ?'Stuprum. Chiron. Demetrius.'

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Oh, do you read, my lord, what she’s written? "Rape. Chiron. Demetrius."

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

What, what! the lustful sons of TamoraPerformers of this heinous, bloody deed?

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

What, what! The lustful sons of Tamora did this horrible, bloody crime?

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Magni Dominator poli,Tam lentus audis scelera? tam lentus vides?

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Magni Dominator poli, Tam lentus audis scelera? tam lentus vides?

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

O, calm thee, gentle lord; although I know There is enough written upon this earth To stir a mutiny in the mildest thoughts And arm the minds of infants to exclaims. My lord, kneel down with me; Lavinia, kneel; And kneel, sweet boy, the Roman Hector's hope; And swear with me, as, with the woful fere And father of that chaste dishonour'd dame, Lord Junius Brutus sware for Lucrece' rape, That we will prosecute by good advice Mortal revenge upon these traitorous Goths, And see their blood, or die with this reproach.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Oh, calm yourself, gentle lord—although I know there’s enough written here on the ground to enrage even the mildest person, and make children exclaim with anger. My lord, kneel down with me; Lavinia, kneel; and kneel, sweet boy, who we hope will grow up to be the Roman Hector. Swear with me—as Lucrece’s father, Lord Junius Brutus, swore after her rape—that we will take mortal revenge on these traitorous Goths. We’ll see them bleed, or we’ll die instead.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

'Tis sure enough, an you knew how. But if you hunt these bear-whelps, then beware: The dam will wake; and, if she wind you once, 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. You are a young huntsman, Marcus; let it alone; And, come, I will go get a leaf of brass, And with a gad of steel will write these words, And lay it by: the angry northern wind Will blow these sands, like Sibyl's leaves, abroad, And where's your lesson, then? Boy, what say you?

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Certainly we will, if we can. But if you hunt these bear cubs, then beware; their mother will wake, and if she sees you once, she’ll set the lion on you—for she lulls him to sleep while she plays on her back, and while he sleeps she'll do what she wants. You’re not much of a huntsman, Marcus; leave it alone. And come, I’ll go get a sheet of brass, and with a steel pen I’ll write these words and lay it aside: the angry northern wind will blow these sands through the air like Sibyl’s leaves.

[To YOUNG LUCIUS] And what do you have to say for yourself, boy?

YOUNG LUCIUS

I say, my lord, that if I were a man,Their mother's bed-chamber should not be safeFor these bad bondmen to the yoke of Rome.

YOUNG LUCIUS

I say, my lord, that if I were a man, these slaves wouldn’t be safe in their mother’s bedroom.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Ay, that's my boy! thy father hath full oftFor his ungrateful country done the like.

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Yes, that’s my boy! Your father has often done the same for his ungrateful country.

YOUNG LUCIUS

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

YOUNG LUCIUS

And so will I, uncle, if I live long enough.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Come, go with me into mine armoury; Lucius, I'll fit thee; and withal, my boy, Shalt 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?

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Come, go with me to my armory; Lucius, I’ll fit you with armor, and you’ll go to the empress’s sons dressed like that, carrying presents from me. Come, come—you’ll take the message for me, won’t you?

YOUNG LUCIUS

Ay, with my dagger in their bosoms, grandsire.

YOUNG LUCIUS

Yes, by stabbing them in their hearts, grandfather.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

No, boy, not so; I'll teach thee another course. Lavinia, come. Marcus, look to my house: Lucius and I'll go brave it at the court: Ay, marry, will we, sir; and we'll be waited on.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

No, boy, not that; I’ll teach you another way. Lavinia, come. Marcus, take care of my house while I’m gone; Lucius and I will go make a spectacle of ourselves at court. Yes, indeed we will, sir; and they’ll pay attention.

Exeunt TITUS, LAVINIA, and Young LUCIUS

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

O heavens, can you hear a good man groan, And not relent, or not compassion him? Marcus, attend him in his ecstasy, That hath more scars of sorrow in his heart Than foemen's marks upon his batter'd shield; But yet so just that he will not revenge. Revenge, ye heavens, for old Andronicus!

MARCUS ANDRONICUS

Oh, heavens, can you hear a good man groan, and not stop these sufferings, or take pity on him? Marcus, care for him in his madness, since he now has more scars of sorrow on his heart than marks of the enemy on his battered shield. And yet he’s so attached to justice that he won’t take revenge. So take revenge for old Andronicus, heavens!

Exit

Titus andronicus
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Eve houghton
About the Translator: Eve Houghton

Eve Houghton graduated from Yale College in 2017 and is currently pursuing the MPhil in Renaissance Literature at the University of Cambridge. In 2018, she will return to Yale to begin her PhD in English. Her research interests include early modern commonplace books and note-taking practices, paratexts, reception studies, and the history of reading.