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Of Lucius, son to old Andronicus ;
Sat. Is warlike Lucius general of the Goths ?
Tam. Why should you fear? is not our city strong ?
Sat. Ay, but the citizens favour Lucius, And will revolt from me to succour him.
Tam. King! be thy thoughts imperious, like thy name. Is the sun dimm'd, that gnats do fly in it? The eagle suffers little birds to sing, And is not careful what they mean thereby; Knowing that, with the shadow of his wings, He can at pleasure stint their melody: Even so mayst thou the giddy men of Rome. Then cheer thy spirit; for know, thou emperor, I will enchant the old Andronicus, With words more sweet, and yet more dangerous, Than baits to fish, or honey-stalks to sheep; When as the one is wounded with the bait, The other rotted with delicious feed.
Sat. But he will not entreat his son for us.
Tam. If Tamora entreat him, then he will
[To Æmilius. Say that the emperor requests a parley Of warlike Lucius, and appoint the meeting,
3 Myself bath very often heard them say,] “Very” is not in the old impressions, and the line wants two syllables, which are found in the corr. fo. 1632. We feel so sure that “very” was the missing, and unobjectionable word, that we have inserted it in our text.
– that gnats do fly in it?] “Do fly in's flame" in the corr. fo. 1632, the line at one time rhyming with that which precedes it.
Even at his father's house, the old Andronicus.
Sat. Æmilius, do this message honourably :
Sat. Then go incessantly, and plead 'fore him”. [Exeunt.
ACT V. SCENE I.
Plains near Rome.
Enter LUCIUS, and an army of Goths, with drum and colours.
Luc. Approved warriors, and my faithful friends,
s Even at his father's house, the old Andronicus.] This line has been recovered from the 4to, 1600, where only it is found.
And if he stand on hostage] The old copies read “in hostage," a mere misuse of the preposition, set right in the corr. fo. 1632. ? Then go INCESSANTLY, and plead 'fore him.] In the 4tos. the line is
" Then go successantly, and plead to him." In the folios the only difference is that "to" is altered to for, i. e. “ 'fore" or before him. Successantly is amended to “incessantly" in the corr. fo. 1632, and so Mr. Singer prints it: he might, indeed, have mentioned that “incessantly” is the word in the corr. fo. 1632, but he does not. We should not have been surprised if the change there had been
“Then go thou instantly, and plead 'fore him," the word successantly having been blunderingly compounded by the old printer from thou and instantly. Supposing “incessantly" to have been the poet's word, the line ought rather to have run
“Then go, and plead incessantly 'fore him.”
1 Goth. Brave slip, sprung from the great Andronicus,
Goths. And, as he saith, so say we all with him.
Luc. I humbly thank him, and I thank you all. But who comes here, led by a lusty Goth?
Enter a Goth, leading AARON, with his Child in his arms.
2 Goth. Renowned Lucius, from our troops I stray'd
Luc. Oh worthy Goth! this is the incarnate devil,
8 And, as he saith, so say we all with him.] This line, in all the old copies, is made the conclusion of the speech of 1 Goth, erroneously, as is shown by the context, as well as by the import of the line itself. “I humbly thank him," in the reply of Lucius, refers, of course, to the 1 Goth, who had just spoken of the resolution of his companions.
This growing image of thy fiend-like face?
Aar. Touch not the boy ; he is of royal blood.
Luc. Too like the sire for ever being good.-
Lucius, save the child;
Luc. Say on; and if it please me which thou speak’st, Thy child shall live, and I will see it nourish'd.
Aar. And if it please thee'? why, assure thee, Lucius, 'Twill vex thy soul to hear what I shall speak;
[Speaking from the ladder.
Luc. Tell on thy mind : I say, thy child shall live.
• Get me a ladder.] The error of making Aaron speak these words is amended in the corr. fo. 1632, where A ladder brought is also added as a stage-direction.
And if it please thee?) Aaron takes up and repeats the very words of Lucius, but it has been usual to misprint them, “An if it please thee.” The stagedirection, Speaking from the ladder, is in the margin of the corr. fo. 1632. Aaron had been compelled to mount the ladder, just after it had been brought.
? Ruthful to hear, DESPITEOUSLY perform’d:] The line, as formerly printed in ancient and modern editions, was
“ Ruthful to hear, yet piteously perform’d," which expresses exactly the contrary of what must have been intended. The corr. fo. 1632 sets the matter right by the mere alteration of yet to des-, “ despiteously perform’d.” Such must have been the word of the poet; and Mr. Singer, rather than follow the authority of the corr. fo. 1632, inserts in his text a word, we believe, not to be found in any author in our language-piteousless :
“Ruthful to hear, yet piteousless perform’d.” Here it seems as if Mr. Singer would rather print ungrammatical nonsense, than follow our corr. fo. 1632.
That granted, how canst thou believe an oath ?
Aar. What if I do not, as, indeed, I do not;
Luc. Even by my god, I swear to thee, I will.
Aar. Tut! Lucius, this was but a deed of charity,
Luc. Oh, detestable villain! call'st thou that trimming ?
Trim sport for them that had the doing of it.
Luc. Oh, barbarous, beastly villains, like thyself!
Aar. Indeed, I was their tutor to instruct them.
3 An idiot holds his BAUBLE] See “ All's Well that Ends Well," A. iv. sc. 5, Vol. ii. p. 611, respecting the bauble of domestic fools and jesters: it is as often mentioned as their motley dress.