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Countless and infinite, yet would I pay


Luc. Come hither, boy; come, come, and learn of us
To melt in showers. Thy grandsire lov'd thee well;
Many a time he danc'd thee on his knee,

Sung thee asleep, his loving breast thy pillow;
Many a matter hath he told to thee,

Meet and agreeing with thine infancy;
In that respect, then, like a loving child,
Shed yet some small drops from thy tender spring,
Because kind nature doth require it so :

Friends should associate friends in grief and woe.
Bid him farewell, commit him to the grave,

Do him that kindness and take leave of him.

Boy. O, grandsire, grandsire, even with all my heart
Would I were dead, so you did live again!
O Lord, I cannot speak to him for weeping;
My tears will choke me if I ope my mouth.

Enter Attendants with AARON.

ROMAN. You sad Andronici, have done with woes! Give sentence on this execrable wretch,

That hath been breeder of these dire events.

Luc. Set him breast-deep in earth, and famish him : There let him stand, and rave, and cry for food:

If any one relieves or pities him,

For the offence he dies; this is our doom.

Some stay to see him fasten'd in the earth.

AARON. Ah! why should wrath be mute, and fury dumb? I am no baby, I, that with base prayers

I should repent the evils I have done :
Ten thousand worse than ever yet I did
Would I perform, if I might have my will:
If one good deed in all my life I did,

I do repent it from my very soul.

LUC. Some loving friends convey the emperor hence,
And give him burial in his father's grave.
My father and Lavinia shall forthwith
Be closed in our household's monument:
As for that heinous tiger, Tamora,

No fun'ral rite, nor man in mournful weeds,
No mournful bell shall ring her burial;

But throw her forth to beasts and birds of prey:
Her life was beastly and devoid of pity,

And, being so, shall have like want of pity.
See justice done on Aaron, that damn'd Moor,
By whom our heavy haps had their beginning:
Then afterwards, to order well the state,
That like events may ne'er it ruinate.



THERE are few who will make a study of this disagreeable play, which, in spite of its generally revolting nature, we believe to have been a very early play of Shakspere. (See Plot and Characters.) There are few important "Various Readings." But it is curious to see how it has been tampered with by the Corrector of Mr. Collier's folio, in the transformations from blank verse to couplets. Mr. Collier thinks the passages, as corrected, belong to the time when the play was first written. We think they belong to the period after the Restoration, when rhyming tragedies were in fashion. One parallel example will be sufficient:


"The hunt is up, the moon is bright and gay,

The fields are fragrant, and the woods are wide; Uncouple here, and let us make a bay,

And wake the emperor and his
lovely bride,

And rouse the prince, and sing

a hunter's round,

That all the court may echo with

the sound.

Sons, let it be your charge, and

so will I,

To attend the emperor's person carefully:

I have been troubled in my sleep this night,

But dawning day brought comfort and delight."


"The hunt is up, the morn is
bright and gray,

The fields are fragrant, and the
woods are green;
Uncouple here, and let us make
a bay,

And wake the emperor and his
lovely bride,

And rouse the prince, and ring a hunter's peal,

That all the court may echo with the noise.

Sons, let it be your charge, as it

is ours,

To attend the emperor's person carefully:

I have been troubled in my sleep

this night, But dawning day new comfort hath inspir'd."


AGE. Act I., Sc. 1.

"Nor wrong mine age with this indignity."

Age is used here for seniority.

COFFIN. Act V., Sc. 2.

"And of the paste a coffin I will rear."

The crust of a raised pie was called a coffin.

FERE. Act IV., Sc. 1.

"As with the woful fere."

Fere, in its general sense, means companion, but is here ap plied to a husband.

LEER. Act IV., Sc. 2.

"Here's a young lad fram'd of another leer."

Leer is hue, complexion. In 'As You Like It,' we have-
"A Rosalind of a better leer."

PACK. Act IV., Sc. 2.

"Go pack with him."

To pack is to cheat, here used in the sense of contrive, arrange, so as to deceive.

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"This palliament of white and spotless hue."

Palliament, from the Latin pallium, is a sort of large cloak or upper garment.

PARLE. Act V., Sc. 3.

"Break the parle."

Break the parle is to begin the parley; "these quarrels must be quietly debated."

PATIENT. Act I., Sc. 2.

"Patient yourself, madam."

Patient is here used as a verb.

QUOTES. Act IV., Sc. 1.

"Note how she quotes the leaves."

Quotes here means observes, searches closely through.

SACRED. Act II., Sc. 1.

"Come, come, our empress with her sacred wit." Sacred is here used in its Latin sense of accursed, wicked.


"Then go successantly, and plead to him.” Successantly is with success, successfully, to which the old word has been changed in modern editions.


It is easy to understand how Shakspere, at the period when he first entered upon those labours which were to build up a glorious fabric out of materials that had been previously used for the basest purposes,—without models,—at first, perhaps, not voluntarily choosing his task, but taking the business that lay before him so as to command popular success, ignorant, to a great degree, of the height and depth of his own intellectual resources,-not seeing, or dimly seeing, how poetry and philosophy were to elevate and purify the common staple of the coarse drama about him,—it is easy to conceive how a story of fearful bloodshed should force itself upon him as a thing that he could work into something better than the dumb show and fiery words of his predecessors and contemporaries. It was in after-years that he had to create the tragedy of passion. Lamb has beautifully described Webster as almost alone having the power "to move a horror skilfully, to touch a soul to the quick, to lay upon fear as much as it can bear, to wean and weary a life till it is ready to drop, and then step in with mortal instruments to take its last forfeit." Lamb adds, "Writers of inferior genius mistake quantity for quality." The remark is quite true, when examples of the higher tragedy are accessible, and when the people have learnt better than to require

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