Titus Andronicus

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Original text
Act II, Scene I
Flourish. Enter Aaron alone.

Aron.
Now climbeth Tamora Olympus toppe,
Safe out of Fortunes shot, and sits aloft,
Secure of Thunders cracke or lightning flash,
Aduanc'd about pale enuies threatning reach:
As when the golden Sunne salutes the morne,
And hauing gilt the Ocean with his beames,
Gallops the Zodiacke in his glistering Coach,
And ouer-lookes the highest piering hills:
So Tamora
Vpon her wit doth earthly honour waite,
And vertue stoopes and trembles at her frowne.
Then Aaron arme thy hart, and fit thy thoughts,
To mount aloft with thy Emperiall Mistris,
And mount her pitch, whom thou in ttiumph long
Hast prisoner held, fettred in amorous chaines,
And faster bound to Aarons charming eyes,
Then is Prometheus ti'de to Caucasus.
Away with slauish weedes, and idle thoughts,
I will be bright and shine in Pearle and Gold,
To waite vpon this new made Empresse.
To waite said I? To wanton with this Queene,
This Goddesse, this Semerimis, this Queene,
This Syren, that will charme Romes Saturnine,
And see his shipwracke, and his Commonweales.
Hollo, what storme is this?
Enter Chiron and Demetrius brauing.

Dem.
Chiron thy yeres wants wit, thy wit wants edge
And manners to intru'd where I am grac'd,
And may for ought thou know'st affected be.

Chi.
Demetrius, thou doo'st ouer-weene in all,
And so in this, to beare me downe with braues,
'Tis not the difference of a yeere or two
Makes me lesse gracious, or thee more fortunate:
I am as able, and as fit, as thou,
To serue, and to deserue my Mistris grace,
And that my sword vpon thee shall approue,
And plead my passions for Lauinia's loue.

Aron.

Clubs, clubs, these louers will not keep the peace.

Dem.
Why Boy, although our mother (vnaduised)
Gaue you a daunsing Rapier by your side,
Are you so desperate growne to threat your friends?
Goe too: haue your Lath glued within your sheath,
Till you know better how to handle it.

Chi.
Meanewhile sir, with the little skill I haue,
Full well shalt thou perceiue how much I dare.

Deme.
I Boy, grow ye so braue?
They drawe.

Aron.
Why how now Lords?
So nere the Emperours Pallace dare you draw,
And maintaine such a quarrell openly?
Full well I wote, the ground of all this grudge.
I would not for a million of Gold,
The cause were knowne to them it most concernes.
Nor would your noble mother for much more
Be so dishonored in the Court of Rome:
For shame put vp.

Deme.
Not I, till I haue sheath'd
My rapier in his bosome, and withall
Thrust these reprochfull speeches downe his throat,
That he hath breath'd in my dishonour heere.

Chi.
For that I am prepar'd, and full resolu'd,
Foule spoken Coward, / That thundrest with thy tongue,
And with thy weapon nothing dar'st performe.

Aron.
Away I say.
Now by the Gods that warlike Gothes adore,
This pretty brabble will vndoo vs all:
Why Lords, and thinke you not how dangerous
It is to set vpon a Princes right?
What is Lauinia then become so loose,
Or Bassianus so degenerate,
That for her loue such quarrels may be broacht,
Without controulement, Iustice, or reuenge?
Young Lords beware, and should the Empresse know,
This discord ground, the musicke would not please.

Chi.
I care not I, knew she and all the world,
I loue Lauinia more then all the world.

Demet.
Youngling, / Learne thou to make some meaner choise,
Lauinia is thine elder brothers hope.

Aron.
Why are ye mad? Or know ye not in Rome,
How furious and impatient they be,
And cannot brooke Competitors in loue?
I tell you Lords, you doe but plot your deaths,
By this deuise.

Chi.
Aaron, a thousand deaths
would I propose, / To atchieue her whom I do loue.

Aron.
To atcheiue her, how?

Deme.
Why, mak'st thou it so strange?
Shee is a woman, therefore may be woo'd,
Shee is a woman, therfore may be wonne,
Shee is Lauinia therefore must be lou'd.
What man, more water glideth by the Mill
Then wots the Miller of, and easie it is
Of a cut loafe to steale a shiue we know:
Though Bassianus be the Emperours brother,
Better then he haue worne Vulcans badge.

Aron,
I, and as good as Saturnius may.

Deme.
Then why should he dispaire that knowes to court it
With words, faire lookes, and liberality:
What hast not thou full often strucke a Doe,
And borne her cleanly by the Keepers nose?

Aron.
Why then it seemes some certaine snatch or so
Would serue your turnes.

Chi.
I so the turne were serued.

Deme.
Aaron thou hast hit it.

Aron.
Would you had hit it too,
Then should not we be tir'd with this adoo:
Why harke yee, harke yee, audare you such fooles,
To square for this? Would it offend you then?

Chi.
Faith not me.

Deme.
Nor me, so I were one.

Aron.
For shame be friends, & ioyne for that you iar:
'Tis pollicie, and stratageme must doe
That you affect, and so must you resolue,
That what you cannot as you would atcheiue,
You must perforce accomplish as you may:
Take this of me, Lucrece was not more chast
Then this Lauinia, Bassianus loue,
A speedier course this lingring languishment
Must we pursue, and I haue found the path:
My Lords, a solemne hunting is in hand.
There will the louely Roman Ladies troope:
The Forrest walkes are wide and spacious,
And many vnfrequented plots there are,
Fitted by kinde for rape and villanie:
Single you thither then this dainty Doe,
And strike her home by force, if not by words:
This way or not at all, stand you in hope.
Come, come, our Empresse with her sacred wit
To villainie and vengance consecrate,
Will we acquaint with all that we intend,
And she shall file our engines with aduise,
That will not suffer you to square yourselues,
But to your wishes height aduance you both.
The Emperours Court is like the house of Fame,
The pallace full of tongues, of eyes, of eares:
The Woods are ruthlesse, dreadfull, deafe, and dull:
There speake, and strike braue Boyes, & take your turnes.
There serue your lusts, shadow'd from heauens eye,
And reuell in Lauinia's Treasurie.

Chi.
Thy counsell Lad smells of no cowardise.

Deme.
Sij fas aut nefas, till I finde the streames,
To coole this heat, a Charme to calme their fits,
Per Stigia per manes Vehor.
Exeunt.
Original text
Act II, Scene II
Enter Titus Andronicus and his three sonnes,
making a noyse with
hounds and hornes, and Marcus.

Tit.
The hunt is vp, the morne is bright and gray,
The fields are fragrant, and the Woods are greene,
Vncouple heere, and let vs make a bay,
And wake the Emperour, and his louely Bride,
And rouze the Prince, and ring a hunters peale,
That all the Court may eccho with the noyse.
Sonnes let it be your charge, as it is ours,
To attend the Emperours person carefully:
I haue bene troubled in my sleepe this night,
But dawning day new comfort hath inspir'd.
Winde Hornes. Heere a cry of houndes, and winde hornes in a peale, then
Enter Saturninus, Tamora, Bassianus, Lauinia,
Chiron, Demetrius, and their Attendants.
Many good morrowes to your Maiestie,
Madam to you as manyand as good.
I promised your Grace, a Hunters peale.

Satur.
And you haue rung it lustily my Lords,
Somewhat to earely for new married Ladies.

Bass.
Lauinia, how say you?

Laui.
I say no:
I haue bene awake two houres and more.

Satur.
Come on then, horse and Chariots letvs haue,
And to our sport: Madam, now shall ye see,
Our Romaine hunting.

Mar.
I haue dogges my Lord,
Will rouze the proudest Panther in the Chase,
And clime the highest Pomontary top.

Tit.
And I haue horse will follow where the game
Makes way, and runnes likes Swallowes ore the plaine

Deme.
Chiron we hunt not we, with Horse nor Hound
But hope to plucke a dainty Doe to ground.
Exeunt
Original text
Act II, Scene III
Enter Aaron alone.

Aron.
He that had wit, would thinke that I had none,
To bury so much Gold vnder a Tree,
And neuer after to inherit it.
Let him that thinks of me so abiectly,
Know that this Gold must coine a stratageme,
Which cunningly effected, will beget
A very excellent peece of villany:
And so repose sweet Gold for their vnrest,
That haue their Almes out of the Empresse Chest.
Enter Tamora to the Moore.

Tamo.
My louely Aaron, / Wherefore look'st thou sad,
When euerything doth make a Gleefull boast?
The Birds chaunt melody on euery bush,
The Snake lies rolled in the chearefull Sunne,
The greene leaues quiuer.with the cooling winde,
And make a cheker'd shadow on the ground:
Vnder their sweete shade, Aaron let vs sit,
And whil'st the babling Eccho mock's the Hounds,
Replying shrilly to the well tun'd-Hornes,
Asif a double hunt were heard at once,
Let vs sit downe, and marke their yelping noyse:
And after conflict, such as was suppos'd.
The wandring Prince and Dido once enioy'd,
When with a happy storme they were surpris'd,
And Curtain'd with a Counsaile-keeping Caue,
We may each wreathed in the others armes,
(Our pastimes done) possesse a Golden slumber,
Whiles Hounds and Hornes, and sweet Melodious Birds
Be vnto vs, as is a Nurses Song
Of Lullabie, to bring her Babe asleepe.

Aron.
Madame, / Though Venus gouerne your desires,
Saturne is Dominator ouer mine:
What signifies my deadly standing eye,
My silence, and my Cloudy Melancholie,
My fleece of Woolly haire, that now vncurles,
Euen as an Adder when she doth vnrowle
To do some fatall execution?
No Madam, these are no Veneriall signes,
Vengeance is in my heart, death in my hand,
Blood, and reuenge, are Hammering in my head.
Harke Tamora, the Empresse of my Soule,
Which neuer hopes more heauen, then rests in thee,
This is the day of Doome for Bassianus;
His Philomel must loose her tongue today,
Thy Sonnes make Pillage of her Chastity,
And wash their hands in Bassianus blood.


Seest thou this Letter, take it vp I pray thee,
And giue the King this fatall plotted Scrowle,
Now question me no more, we are espied,
Heere comes a parcell of our hopefull Booty,
Which dreads not yet their liues destruction.
Enter Bassianus and Lauinia.

Tamo.
Ah my sweet Moore: / Sweeter to me then life.

Aron.
No more great Empresse, Bassianus comes,
Be crosse with him, and Ile goe fetch thy Sonnes
To backe thy quarrell what so ere they be.

Bassi.
Whom haue we heere? / Romes Royall Empresse,
Vnfurnisht of our well beseeming troope?
Or is it Dian habited like her,
Who hath abandoned her holy Groues,
To see the generall Hunting in this Forrest?

Tamo.
Sawcie controuler of our priuate steps:
Had I the power, that some say Dian had,
Thy Temples should be planted presently.
With Hornes, as was Acteons, and the Hounds
Should driue vpon his new transformed limbes,
Vnmannerly Intruder as thou art.

Laui.
Vnder your patience gentle Empresse,
'Tis thought you haue a goodly gift in Horning,
And to be doubted, that your Moore and you
Are singled forth to try experiments:
Ioue sheild your husband from his Hounds to day,
'Tis pitty they should take him for a Stag.

Bassi.
Beleeue me Queene, your swarth Cymerion,
Doth make your Honour of his bodies Hue,
Spotted, detested, and abhominable.
Why are you sequestred from all your traine?
Dismounted from your Snow-white goodly Steed,
And wandred hither to an obscure plot,
Accompanied with a barbarous Moore,
If foule desire had not conducted you?

Laui.
And being intercepted in your sport,
Great reason that my Noble Lord, be rated
For Saucinesse, I pray you let vs hence,
And let her ioy her Rauen coloured loue,
This valley fits the purpose passing well.

Bassi.
The King my Brother shall haue notice of this.

Laui.
I, for these slips haue made him noted long,
Good King, to be so mightily abused.

Tamora.
Why I haue patience to endure all this?
Enter Chiron and Demetrius.

Dem.
How now deere Soueraigne / And our gracious Mother,
Why doth your Highnes looke so pale and wan?

Tamo.
Haue I not reason thinke you to looke pale.
These two haue tic'd me hither to this place,
A barren, detested vale you see it is.
The Trees though Sommer, yet forlorne and leane,
Ore-come with Mosse, and balefull Misselto.
Heere neuer shines the Sunne, heere nothing breeds,
Vnlesse the nightly Owle, or fatall Rauen:
And when they shew'd me this abhorred pit,
They told me heere at dead time of the night,
A thousand Fiends, a thousand hissing Snakes,
Ten thousand swelling Toades, as many Vrchins,
Would make such fearefull and confused cries,
As any mortall body hearing it,
Should straite fall mad, or else die suddenly.
No sooner had they told this hellish tale,
But strait they told me they would binde me heere,
Vnto the body of a dismall yew,
And leaue me to this miserable death.
And then they call'd me foule Adulteresse,
Lasciuious Goth, and all the bitterest tearmes
That euer eare did heare to such effect.
And had you not by wondrous fortune come,
This vengeance on me had they executed:
Reuenge it, as you loue your Mothers life,
Or be ye not henceforth cal'd my Children.

Dem.
This is a witnesse that I am thy Sonne.
stab him.

Chi.
And this for me, / Strook home to shew my strength.

Laui.
I come Semeramis, nay Barbarous Tamora.
For no name fits thy nature but thy owne.

Tam.
Giue me thy poyniard, you shal know my boyes
Your Mothers hand shall right your Mothers wrong.

Deme.
Stay Madam heere is more belongs to her,
First thrash the Corne, then after burne the straw:
This Minion stood vpon her chastity,
Vpon her Nuptiall vow, her loyaltie.
And with that painted hope, braues your Mightinesse,
And shall she carry this vnto her graue?

Chi.
And if she doe, / I would I were an Eunuch,
Drag hence her husband to some secret hole,
And make his dead Trunke-Pillow to our lust.

Tamo.
But when ye haue the hony we desire,
Let not this Waspe out-liue vs both to sting.

Chir.
I warrant you Madam we will make that sure:
Come Mistris, now perforce we will enioy,
That nice-preserued honesty of yours.

Laui.
Oh Tamora, thou bear'st a woman face.

Tamo.
I will not heare her speake, away with her.

Laui.
Sweet Lords intreat her heare me but a word.

Demet.
Listen faire Madam, let it be your glory
To see her teares, but be your hart to them,
As vnrelenting flint to drops of raine.

Laui.

When did the Tigers young-ones teach the dam?
O doe not learne her wrath, she taught it thee,
The milke thou suck'st from her did turne to Marble,
Euen at thy Teat thou had'st thy Tyranny,
Yet euery Mother breeds not Sonnes alike,
Do thou intreat her shew a woman pitty.

Chiro.
What, / Would'st thou haue me proue myselfe a bastard?

Laui.
'Tis true, / The Rauen doth not hatch a Larke,
Yet haue I heard, Oh could I finde it now,
The Lion mou'd with pitty, did indure
To haue his Princely pawes par'd all away.
Some say, that Rauens foster forlorne children,
The whil'st their owne birds famish in their nests:
Oh be to me though thy hard hart say no,
Nothing so kind but something pittifull.

Tamo.
I know not what it meanes, away with her.

Lauin.
Oh let me teach thee for my Fathers sake,
That gaue thee life when well he might haue slaine thee:
Be not obdurate, open thy deafe eares.

Tamo.
Had'st thou in person nere offended me.
Euen for his sake am I pittilesse:
Remember Boyes I powr'd forth teares in vaine,
To saue your brother from the sacrifice,
But fierce Andronicus would not relent,
Therefore away with her, and vse her as you will,
The worse to her, the better lou'd of me.

Laui.

Oh Tamora, / Be call'd a gentle Queene,
And with thine owne hands kill me in this place,
For 'tis not life that I haue beg'd so long,
Poore I was slaine, when Bassianus dy'd.

Tam.
What beg'st thou then? fond woman let me go?

Laui.
'Tis present death I beg, and one thing more,
That womanhood denies my tongue to tell:
Oh keepe me from their worse then killing lust,
And tumble me into some loathsome pit,
Where neuer mans eye may behold my body,
Doe this, and be a charitable murderer.

Tam.
So should I rob my sweet Sonnes of their fee,
No let them satisfie their lust on thee.

Deme.

Away, / For thou hast staid vs heere too long.

Lauinia.
No Garace, / No womanhood? Ah beastly creature,
The blot and enemy to our generall name,
Confusion fall---

Chi.
Nay then Ile stop your mouth
Bring thou her husband,
This is the Hole where Aaron bid vs hide him.

Tam.
Farewell my Sonnes, see that you make her sure,
Nere let my heart know merry cheere indeed,
Till all the Andronici be made away:
Now will I hence to seeke my louely Moore,
And let my spleenefull Sonnes this Trull defloure.
Exit.
Enter Aaron with two of Titus Sonnes.

Aron.
Come on my Lords, the better foote before,
Straight will I bring you to the lothsome pit,
Where I espied the Panther fast asleepe.

Quin.
My sight is very dull what ere it bodes.

Marti.
And mine I promise you, were it not for shame,
Well could I leaue our sport to sleepe a while.


Quin.
What art thou fallen? / What subtile Hole is this,
Whose mouth is couered with Rude growing Briers,
Vpon whose leaues are drops of new-shed-blood,
As fresh as mornings dew distil'd on flowers,
A very fatall place it seemes to me:
Speake Brother hast thou hurt thee with the fall?

Martius.
Oh Brother, / With the dismal'st obiect
That euer eye with sight made heart lament.

Aron.
Now will I fetch the King to finde them heere,
That he thereby may haue a likely gesse,
How these were they that made away his Brother.
Exit Aaron.

Marti.
Why dost not comfort me and helpe me out,
From this vnhallow'd and blood-stained Hole?

Quintus.
I am surprised with an vncouth feare,
A chilling sweat ore-runs my trembling ioynts,
My heart suspects more then mine eie can see.

Marti.
To proue thou hast a true diuining heart,
Aaron and thou looke downe into this den,
And see a fearefull sight of blood and death.

Quintus.
Aaron is gone, / And my compassionate heart
Will not permit mine eyes once to behold
The thing whereat it trembles by surmise:
Oh tell me how it is, for nere till now
Was I a child, to feare I know not what.

Marti.
Lord Bassianus lies embrewed heere,
All on a heape like to the slaughtred Lambe,
In this detested, darke, blood-drinking pit.

Quin.
If it be darke, how doost thou know 'tis he?

Mart.
Vpon his bloody finger he doth weare
A precious Ring, that lightens all the Hole:
Which like a Taper in some Monument,
Doth shine vpon the dead mans earthly cheekes,
And shewes the ragged intrailes of the pit:
So pale did shine the Moone on Piramus,
When he by night lay bath'd in Maiden blood:
O Brother helpe me with thy fainting hand.
If feare hath made thee faint, as mee it hath,
Out of this fell deuouring receptacle,
As hatefull as Ocitus mistie mouth.

Quint.
Reach me thy hand, that I may helpe thee out,
Or wanting strength to doe thee so much good,
I may be pluckt into the swallowing wombe,
Of this deepe pit, poore Bassianus graue:
I haue no strength to plucke thee to the brinke.

Martius.
Nor I no strength to clime without thy help.

Quin.
Thy hand once more, I will not loose againe,
Till thou art heere aloft, or I below,
Thou can'st not come to me, I come to thee.
Boths fall in.
Enter the Emperour, Aaron the
Moore.

Satur.
Along with me, Ile see what hole is heere,
And what he is that now is leapt into it.
Say, who art thou that lately did'st descend,
Into this gaping hollow of the earth?

Marti.
The vnhappie sonne of old Andronicus,
Brought hither in a most vnluckie houre,
To finde thy brother Bassianus dead.

Satur.
My brother dead? I know thou dost but iest,
He and his Lady both are at the Lodge,
Vpon the North-side of this pleasant Chase,
'Tis not an houre since I left him there.

Marti.
We know not where you left him all aliue,
But out alas, heere haue we found him dead.
Enter Tamora, Andronicus, and Lucius.

Tamo.
Where is my Lord the King?

King.
Heere Tamora, though grieu'd with killing griefe.

Tam.
Where is thy brother Bassianus?

King.
Now to the bottome dost thou search my wound,
Poore Bassianus heere lies murthered.

Tam.
Then all too late I bring this fatall writ,
The complot of this timelesse Tragedie,
And wonder greatly that mans face can fold,
In pleasing smiles such murderous Tyrannie.
She giueth Saturnine a Letter.

Saturninus
reads the Letter.
And if we misse to meete him hansomely,
Sweet huntsman, Bassianus 'tis we meane,
Doe thou so much as dig the graue for him,
Thou know'st our meaning, looke for thy reward
Among the Nettles at the Elder tree:
Which ouer-shades the mouth of that same pit:
Where we decreed to bury Bassianuss
Doe this and purchase vs thy lasting friends.
Oh Tamora, was euer heard the like?
This is the pit, and this the Elder tree,
Looke sirs, if you can finde the huntsman out,
That should haue murthered Bassianus heere.

Aron.
My gracious Lord heere is the bag of Gold.

King.

Two of thy whelpes, fell Curs of bloody kind
Haue heere bereft my brother of his life:
Sirs drag them from the pit vnto the prison,
There let them bide vntill we haue deuis'd
Some neuer heard-of tortering paine for them.

Tamo.
What are they in this pit, / Oh wondrous thing!
How easily murder is discouered?

Tit.
High Emperour, vpon my feeble knee,
I beg this boone, with teares, not lightly shed,
That this fell fault of my accursed Sonnes,
Accursed, if the faults be prou'd in them.

King.
If it be prou'd? you see it is apparant,
Who found this Letter, Tamora was it you?

Tamora.
Andronicus himselfe did take it vp.

Tit.
I did my Lord, / Yet let me be their baile,
For by my Fathers reuerent Tombe I vow
They shall be ready at yout Highnes will,
To answere their suspition with their liues.

King.
Thou shalt not baile them, see thou follow me:
Some bring the murthered body, some the murtherers,
Let them not speake a word, the guilt is plaine,
For by my soule, were there worse end then death,
That end vpon them should be executed.

Tamo.
Andronicus I will entreat the King,
Feare not thy Sonnes, they shall do well enough.

Tit.
Come Lucius come, / Stay not to talke with them.
Exeunt.

Original text
Act II, Scene IV
Enter the Empresse Sonnes, with
Lauinia, her hands cut off and her tongue cut out,
and rausht.

Deme.
So now goe tell and if thy tongue can speake,
Who t'was that cut thy tongue and rauisht thee.

Chi.
Write downe thy mind, bewray thy meaning so,
And if thy stumpes will let thee play the Scribe.

Dem.
See how with signes and tokens she can scowle.

Chi.

Goe home, / Call for sweet water, wash thy hands.

Dem.
She hath no tongue to call, nor hands to wash.
And so let's leaue her to her silent walkes.

Chi.
And t'were my cause, I should goe hang myselfe.

Dem.
If thou had'st hands to helpe thee knit the cord.
Exeunt.
Winde Hornes. Enter Marcus from hunting, to Lauinia.



Who is this, my Neece that flies away so fast?
Cosen a word, where is your husband?
If I do dreame, would all my wealth would wake me;
If I doe wake, some Planet strike me downe,
That I may slumber in eternall sleepe.
Speake gentle Neece, what sterne vngentle hands
Hath lopt, and hew'd, and made thy body bare
Of her two branches, those sweet Ornaments
Whose circkling shadowes, Kings haue sought to sleep in
And might not gaine so great a happines
As halfe thy Loue: Why doost not speake to me?
Alas, a Crimson riuer of warme blood,
Like to a bubling fountaine stir'd with winde,
Doth rise and fall betweene thy Rosed lips,
Comming and going with thy hony breath.
But sure some Tereus hath defloured thee,
And least thou should'st detect them, cut thy tongue.
Ah, now thou turn'st away thy face for shame:
And notwihstanding all this losse of blood,
As from a Conduit with their issuing Spouts,
Yet doe thy cheekes looke red as Titans face,
Blushing to be encountred with a Cloud,
Shall I speake for thee? shall I say 'tis so?
Oh that I knew thy hart, and knew the beast
That I might raile at him to ease my mind.
Sorrow concealed, like an Ouen stopt,
Doth burne the hart to Cinders where it is.
Faire Philomela she but lost her tongue,
And in a tedious Sampler sowed her minde.
But louely Neece, that meane is cut from thee,
A craftier Tereus hast thou met withall,
And he hath cut those pretty fingers off,
That could haue better sowed then Philomel.
Oh had the monster seene those Lilly hands,
Tremble like Aspen leaues vpon a Lute,
And make the silken strings delight to kisse them,
He would not then haue toucht them for his life.
Or had he heard the heauenly Harmony,
Which that sweet tongue hath made:
He would haue dropt his knife and fell asleepe,
As Cerberus at the Thracian Poets feete.
Come, let vs goe, and make thy father blinde,
For such a sight will blinde a fathers eye.
One houres storme will drowne the fragrant meades,
What, will whole months of teares thy Fathers eyes?
Doe not draw backe, for we will mourne with thee:
Oh could our mourning ease thy misery.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act II, Scene I
Aaron is alone on stage

AARON
Now climbeth Tamora Olympus' top,
Safe out of fortune's shot, and sits aloft,
Secure of thunder's crack or lightning flash,
Advanced above pale envy's threat'ning reach.
As when the golden sun salutes the morn
And, having gilt the ocean with his beams,
Gallops the zodiac in his glistering coach
And overlooks the highest-peering hills,
So Tamora.
Upon her wit doth earthly honour wait,
And virtue stoops and trembles at her frown.
Then, Aaron, arm thy heart and fit thy thoughts
To mount aloft with thy imperial mistress,
And mount her pitch, whom thou in triumph long
Hast prisoner held, fettered in amorous chains,
And faster bound to Aaron's charming eyes
Than is Prometheus tied to Caucasus.
Away with slavish weeds and servile thoughts!
I will be bright and shine in pearl and gold
To wait upon this new-made Empress.
‘ To wait ’ said I? – to wanton with this queen,
This goddess, this Semiramis, this nymph,
This siren that will charm Rome's Saturnine,
And see his shipwreck and his commonweal's.
Hollo, what storm is this?
Enter Chiron and Demetrius braving

DEMETRIUS
Chiron, thy years want wit, thy wit wants edge
And manners to intrude where I am graced,
And may, for aught thou knowest, affected be.

CHIRON
Demetrius, thou dost overween in all,
And so in this, to bear me down with braves.
'Tis not the difference of a year or two
Makes me less gracious, or thee more fortunate:
I am as able and as fit as thou
To serve and to deserve my mistress' grace,
And that my sword upon thee shall approve,
And plead my passions for Lavinia's love.

AARON
(aside)
Clubs, clubs! These lovers will not keep the peace.

DEMETRIUS
Why, boy, although our mother, unadvised,
Gave you a dancing-rapier by your side,
Are you so desperate grown to threat your friends?
Go to, have your lath glued within your sheath
Till you know better how to handle it.

CHIRON
Meanwhile, sir, with the little skill I have,
Full well shalt thou perceive how much I dare.

DEMETRIUS
Ay, boy, grow ye so brave?
They draw

AARON
Why, how now, lords?
So near the Emperor's palace dare ye draw,
And maintain such a quarrel openly?
Full well I wot the ground of all this grudge.
I would not for a million of gold
The cause were known to them it most concerns,
Nor would your noble mother for much more
Be so dishonoured in the court of Rome.
For shame, put up!

DEMETRIUS
Not I, till I have sheathed
My rapier in his bosom, and withal
Thrust those reproachful speeches down his throat,
That he hath breathed in my dishonour here.

CHIRON
For that I am prepared and full resolved,
Foul-spoken coward, that thund'rest with thy tongue
And with thy weapon nothing dar'st perform.

AARON
Away, I say!
Now, by the gods that warlike Goths adore,
This petty brabble will undo us all.
Why, lords, and think you not how dangerous
It is to jet upon a prince's right?
What, is Lavinia then become so loose,
Or Bassianus so degenerate,
That for her love such quarrels may be broached
Without controlment, justice, or revenge?
Young lords, beware; and should the Empress know
This discord's ground, the music would not please.

CHIRON
I care not, I, knew she and all the world:
I love Lavinia more than all the world.

DEMETRIUS
Youngling, learn thou to make some meaner choice:
Lavinia is thine elder brother's hope.

AARON
Why, are ye mad? Or know ye not in Rome
How furious and impatient they be,
And cannot brook competitors in love?
I tell you, lords, you do but plot your deaths
By this device.

CHIRON
Aaron, a thousand deaths
Would I propose to achieve her whom I love.

AARON
To achieve her how?

DEMETRIUS
Why makes thou it so strange?
She is a woman, therefore may be wooed;
She is a woman, therefore may be won;
She is Lavinia, therefore must be loved.
What, man, more water glideth by the mill
Than wots the miller of, and easy it is
Of a cut loaf to steal a shive, we know.
Though Bassianus be the Emperor's brother,
Better than he have worn Vulcan's badge.

AARON
(aside)
Ay, and as good as Saturninus may.

DEMETRIUS
Then why should he despair that knows to court it
With words, fair looks, and liberality?
What, hast not thou full often struck a doe
And borne her cleanly by the keeper's nose?

AARON
Why then, it seems some certain snatch or so
Would serve your turns.

CHIRON
Ay, so the turn were served.

DEMETRIUS
Aaron, thou hast hit it.

AARON
Would you had hit it too,
Then should not we be tired with this ado.
Why, hark ye, hark ye, and are you such fools
To square for this? Would it offend you then
That both should speed?

CHIRON
Faith, not me.

DEMETRIUS
Nor me, so I were one.

AARON
For shame, be friends, and join for that you jar.
'Tis policy and stratagem must do
That you affect, and so must you resolve
That what you cannot as you would achieve,
You must perforce accomplish as you may.
Take this of me: Lucrece was not more chaste
Than this Lavinia, Bassianus' love.
A speedier course than ling'ring languishment
Must we pursue, and I have found the path.
My lords, a solemn hunting is in hand;
There will the lovely Roman ladies troop.
The forest walks are wide and spacious,
And many unfrequented plots there are,
Fitted by kind for rape and villainy.
Single you thither then this dainty doe,
And strike her home by force, if not by words.
This way, or not at all, stand you in hope.
Come, come; our Empress with her sacred wit
To villainy and vengeance consecrate,
Will we acquaint with all that we intend,
And she shall file our engines with advice
That will not suffer you to square yourselves,
But to your wishes' height advance you both.
The Emperor's court is like the house of fame,
The palace full of tongues, of eyes, and ears;
The woods are ruthless, dreadful, deaf, and dull.
There speak and strike, brave boys, and take your turns;
There serve your lust, shadowed from heaven's eye,
And revel in Lavinia's treasury.

CHIRON
Thy counsel, lad, smells of no cowardice.

DEMETRIUS
Sit fas aut nefas, till I find the stream
To cool this heat, a charm to calm these fits,
Per Stygia, per manes vehor.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act II, Scene II
Enter Marcus, Titus Andronicus and his three sons,
Lucius, Quintus, and Martius, making a noise with
hounds and horns

TITUS
The hunt is up, the morn is bright and grey,
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 inspired.
Here a cry of hounds and wind horns in a peal;
then enter Saturninus, Tamora, Bassianus, Lavinia,
Chiron, Demetrius, and their attendants
Many good morrows to your majesty;
Madam, to you as many and as good.
I promised your grace a hunter's peal.

SATURNINUS
And you have rung it lustily, my lords,
Somewhat too early for new-married ladies.

BASSIANUS
Lavinia, how say you?

LAVINIA
I say no:
I have been broad awake two hours and more.

SATURNINUS
Come on then, horse and chariots let us have,
And to our sport. (To Tamora) Madam, now shall ye see
Our Roman hunting.

MARCUS
I have dogs, my lord,
Will rouse the proudest panther in the chase
And climb the highest promontory top.

TITUS
And I have horse will follow where the game
Makes way and run like swallows o'er the plain.

DEMETRIUS
(to Chiron)
Chiron, we hunt not, we, with horse nor hound,
But hope to pluck a dainty doe to ground.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act II, Scene III
Enter Aaron alone with gold

AARON
He that had wit would think that I had none,
To bury so much gold under a tree
And never after to inherit it.
Let him that thinks of me so abjectly
Know that this gold must coin a stratagem
Which, cunningly effected, will beget
A very excellent piece of villainy.
He hides the gold
And so repose, sweet gold, for their unrest
That have their alms out of the Empress' chest.
Enter Tamora alone to the Moor

TAMORA
My lovely Aaron, wherefore look'st thou sad,
When everything doth make a gleeful boast?
The birds chant melody on every bush,
The snake lies rolled in the cheerful sun,
The green leaves quiver with the cooling wind
And make a chequered shadow on the ground.
Under their sweet shade, Aaron, let us sit,
And whilst the babbling echo mocks the hounds,
Replying shrilly to the well-tuned horns,
As if a double hunt were heard at once,
Let us sit down and mark their yellowing noise.
And after conflict such as was supposed
The wand'ring prince and Dido once enjoyed,
When with a happy storm they were surprised
And curtained with a counsel-keeping cave,
We may, each wreathed in the other's arms,
Our pastimes done, possess a golden slumber,
Whiles hounds and horns and sweet melodious birds
Be unto us as is a nurse's song
Of lullaby to bring her babe asleep.

AARON
Madam, though Venus govern your desires,
Saturn is dominator over mine.
What signifies my deadly-standing eye,
My silence, and my cloudy melancholy,
My fleece of woolly hair that now uncurls
Even as an adder when she doth unroll
To do some fatal execution?
No, madam, these are no venereal signs.
Vengeance is in my heart, death in my hand,
Blood and revenge are hammering in my head.
Hark, Tamora, the empress of my soul,
Which never hopes more heaven than rests in thee,
This is the day of doom for Bassianus.
His Philomel must lose her tongue today;
Thy sons make pillage of her chastity
And wash their hands in Bassianus' blood.
He holds up a letter
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.
Enter Bassianus and Lavinia

TAMORA
Ah, my sweet Moor, sweeter to me than life!

AARON
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.
Exit

BASSIANUS
Who have we here? Rome's royal Empress,
Unfurnished 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?

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

LAVINIA
Under your patience, gentle Empress,
'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 today:
'Tis pity they should take him for a stag.

BASSIANUS
Believe me, Queen, your swart Cimmerian
Doth make your honour of his body's hue,
Spotted, detested, and abominable.
Why are you sequestered from all your train,
Dismounted from your snow-white goodly steed.
And wandered hither to an obscure plot,
Accompanied but with a barbarous Moor,
If foul desire had not conducted you?

LAVINIA
And being intercepted in your sport,
Great reason that my noble lord be rated
For sauciness. (To Bassianus) I pray you, let us hence,
And let her joy her raven-coloured love.
This valley fits the purpose passing well.

BASSIANUS
The King my brother shall have note of this.

LAVINIA
Ay, for these slips have made him noted long.
Good king, to be so mightily abused!

TAMORA
Why have I patience to endure all this.
Enter Chiron and Demetrius

DEMETRIUS
How now, dear sovereign and our gracious mother,
Why doth your highness look so pale and wan?

TAMORA
Have I not reason, think you, to look pale?
These two have 'ticed 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 mistletoe;
Here never shines the sun, here nothing breeds,
Unless the nightly owl or fatal raven.
And when they showed 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,
Would make such fearful and confused cries
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 dismal yew
And leave me to this miserable death.
And then they called 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 called my children.

DEMETRIUS
This is a witness that I am thy son.
He stabs Bassianus

CHIRON
And this for me, struck home to show my strength.
He also stabs Bassianus, who dies.
Tamora threatens Lavinia

LAVINIA
Ay, come, Semiramis, nay, barbarous Tamora,
For no name fits thy nature but thy own.

TAMORA
Give me the poniard. You shall know, my boys,
Your mother's hand shall right your mother's wrong.

DEMETRIUS
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 quaint hope braves your mightiness.
And shall she carry this unto her grave?

CHIRON
And 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.

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

CHIRON
I warrant you, madam, we will make that sure.
Come, mistress, now perforce we will enjoy
That nice-preserved honesty of yours.

LAVINIA
O Tamora, thou bearest a woman's face –

TAMORA
I will not hear her speak. Away with her!

LAVINIA
Sweet lords, entreat her hear me but a word.

DEMETRIUS
(to Tamora)
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.

LAVINIA (to Demetrius)
(to Demetrius)
When did the tiger's young ones teach the dam?
O, do not learn her wrath. She taught it thee:
The milk thou sucked'st from her did turn to marble,
Even at thy teat thou hadst thy tyranny.
(To Chiron) Yet every mother breeds not sons alike:
Do thou entreat her show a woman's pity.

CHIRON
What, wouldst thou have me prove myself a bastard?

LAVINIA
'Tis true, the raven doth not hatch a lark.
Yet have I heard – O, could I find it now! –
The lion, moved with pity, did endure
To have his princely paws pared 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.

TAMORA
I know not what it means; away with her!

LAVINIA
O, 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.

TAMORA
Hadst thou in person ne'er offended me,
Even for his sake am I pitiless.
Remember, boys, I poured 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 loved of me.

LAVINIA
(clasping Tamora)
O Tamora, be called a gentle queen,
And with thine own hands kill me in this place,
For 'tis not life that I have begged so long.
Poor I was slain when Bassianus died.

TAMORA
What begg'st thou then, fond woman? Let me go!

LAVINIA
'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 my body.
Do this, and be a charitable murderer.

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

DEMETRIUS
(to Lavinia)
Away, for thou hast stayed us here too long.

LAVINIA
No grace? No womanhood? Ah, beastly creature,
The blot and enemy to our general name,
Confusion fall –

CHIRON
Nay then, I'll stop your mouth.
He seizes Lavinia
(To Demetrius) Bring thou her husband.
This is the hole where Aaron bid us hide him.
Demetrius drags the body of Bassianus into the pit and
covers the opening

TAMORA
Farewell, my sons. See that you make her sure.
Exeunt Chiron and Demetrius with Lavinia
Ne'er let my heart know merry cheer indeed
Till all the Andronici be made away.
Now will I hence to seek my lovely Moor,
And let my spleenful sons this trull deflower.
Exit
Enter Aaron with two of Titus's sons, Quintus and
Martius

AARON
Come on, my lords, the better foot before.
Straight will I bring you to the loathsome pit
Where I espied the panther fast asleep.

QUINTUS
My sight is very dull, whate'er it bodes.

MARTIUS
And mine, I promise you. Were it not for shame,
Well could I leave our sport to sleep awhile.
He falls into the pit

QUINTUS
What, art thou fallen? What subtle hole is this,
Whose mouth is covered with rude-growing briers,
Upon whose leaves are drops of new-shed blood
As fresh as morning dew distilled on flowers?
A very fatal place it seems to me.
Speak, brother, hast thou hurt thee with the fall?

MARTIUS
O brother, with the dismall'st object hurt
That ever eye with sight made heart lament.

AARON
(aside)
Now will I fetch the King to find them here,
That he thereby may have a likely guess
How these were they that made away his brother.
Exit

MARTIUS
Why dost not comfort me and help me out
From this unhallowed and blood-stained hole?

QUINTUS
I am surprised with an uncouth fear:
A chilling sweat o'erruns my trembling joints;
My heart suspects more than mine eye can see.

MARTIUS
To prove thou hast a true-divining heart,
Aaron and thou look down into this den
And see a fearful sight of blood and death.

QUINTUS
Aaron is gone, and my compassionate heart
Will not permit mine eyes once to behold
The thing whereat it trembles by surmise.
O tell me who it is, for ne'er till now
Was I a child to fear I know not what.

MARTIUS
Lord Bassianus lies berayed in blood
All on a heap, like to a slaughtered lamb,
In this detested, dark, blood-drinking pit.

QUINTUS
If it be dark, how dost thou know 'tis he?

MARTIUS
Upon his bloody finger he doth wear
A precious ring that lightens all this hole,
Which like a taper in some monument
Doth shine upon the dead man's earthy cheeks,
And shows the ragged entrails of this pit.
So pale did shine the moon on Pyramus
When he by night lay bathed in maiden blood.
O brother, help me with thy fainting hand –
If fear hath made thee faint, as me it hath –
Out of this fell devouring receptacle,
As hateful as Cocytus' misty mouth.

QUINTUS
Reach me thy hand, that I may help thee out,
Or, wanting strength to do thee so much good,
I may be plucked into the swallowing womb
Of this deep pit, poor Bassianus' grave.
I have no strength to pluck thee to the brink –

MARTIUS
Nor I no strength to climb without thy help.

QUINTUS
Thy hand once more; I will not loose again
Till thou art here aloft or I below.
Thou canst not come to me – I come to thee.
He falls in.
Enter the Emperor with attendants and Aaron, the
Moor

SATURNINUS
Along with me. I'll see what hole is here,
And what he is that now is leapt into it.
Say, who art thou that lately didst descend
Into this gaping hollow of the earth?

MARTIUS
The unhappy sons of old Andronicus,
Brought hither in a most unlucky hour
To find thy brother Bassianus dead.

SATURNINUS
My brother dead? I know thou dost but jest.
He and his lady both are at the lodge
Upon the north side of this pleasant chase.
'Tis not an hour since I left them there.

MARTIUS
We know not where you left them all alive,
But, out alas, here have we found him dead.
Enter Tamora, Titus Andronicus, and Lucius

TAMORA
Where is my lord the King?

SATURNINUS
Here, Tamora, though grieved with killing grief.

TAMORA
Where is thy brother Bassianus?

SATURNINUS
Now to the bottom dost thou search my wound:
Poor Bassianus here lies murdered.

TAMORA
Then all too late I bring this fatal writ,
The complot of this timeless tragedy,
And wonder greatly that man's face can fold
In pleasing smiles such murderous tyranny.
She gives Saturninus a letter

SATURNINUS
(reads)
And if we miss to meet him handsomely,
Sweet huntsman – Bassianus 'tis we mean –
Do thou so much as dig the grave for him.
Thou know'st our meaning. Look for thy reward
Among the nettles at the elder tree
Which overshades the mouth of that same pit
Where we decreed to bury Bassianus.
Do this and purchase us thy lasting friends.
O Tamora, was ever heard the like?
This is the pit, and this the elder tree.
Look, sirs, if you can find the huntsman out
That should have murdered Bassianus here.

AARON
My gracious lord, here is the bag of gold.

SATURNINUS
(to Titus)
Two of thy whelps, fell curs of bloody kind,
Have here bereft my brother of his life.
Sirs, drag them from the pit unto the prison.
There let them bide until we have devised
Some never-heard-of torturing pain for them.
Attendants pull Quintus, Martius, and Bassianus's
body from the pit

TAMORA
What are they in this pit? O wondrous thing!
How easily murder is discovered!

TITUS
(kneeling)
High Emperor, upon my feeble knee
I beg this boon, with tears not lightly shed,
That this fell fault of my accursed sons –
Accursed if the faults be proved in them –

SATURNINUS
If it be proved? You see it is apparent.
Who found this letter? Tamora, was it you?

TAMORA
Andronicus himself did take it up.

TITUS
I did, my lord; yet let me be their bail,
For by my fathers' reverend tomb I vow
They shall be ready at your highness' will
To answer their suspicion with their lives.

SATURNINUS
Thou shalt not bail them. See thou follow me.
Titus rises
Some bring the murdered body, some the murderers.
Let them not speak a word, the guilt is plain;
For, by my soul, were there worse end than death,
That end upon them should be executed.

TAMORA
Andronicus, I will entreat the King;
Fear not thy sons, they shall do well enough.

TITUS
Come, Lucius, come; stay not to talk with them.
Exeunt with Martius and Quintus under guard,
and attendants with the body of Bassianus
Modern text
Act II, Scene IV
Enter the Empress' sons, Chiron and Demetrius, with
Lavinia, her hands cut off, and her tongue cut out,
and ravished

DEMETRIUS
So now go tell, and if thy tongue can speak,
Who 'twas that cut thy tongue and ravished thee.

CHIRON
Write down thy mind, bewray thy meaning so,
And if thy stumps will let thee play the scribe.

DEMETRIUS
See how with signs and tokens she can scrawl.

CHIRON
(to Lavinia)
Go home, call for sweet water, wash thy hands.

DEMETRIUS
She hath no tongue to call, nor hands to wash,
And so let's leave her to her silent walks.

CHIRON
An 'twere my cause, I should go hang myself.

DEMETRIUS
If thou hadst hands to help thee knit the cord.
Exeunt Chiron and Demetrius
Wind horns. Enter Marcus from hunting to Lavinia

MARCUS
Who is this? My niece, that flies away so fast?
Cousin, a word. Where is your husband?
If I do dream, would all my wealth would wake me;
If I do wake, some planet strike me down
That I may slumber an eternal sleep.
Speak, gentle niece, what stern ungentle hands
Have lopped and hewed and made thy body bare
Of her two branches, those sweet ornaments,
Whose circling shadows kings have sought to sleep in,
And might not gain so great a happiness
As half thy love? Why dost not speak to me?
Alas, a crimson river of warm blood,
Like to a babbling fountain stirred with wind,
Doth rise and fall between thy rosed lips,
Coming and going with thy honey breath.
But sure some Tereus hath deflowered thee,
And, lest thou shouldst detect him, cut thy tongue.
Ah, now thou turn'st away thy face for shame,
And notwithstanding all this loss of blood,
As from a conduit with three issuing spouts,
Yet do thy cheeks look red as Titan's face
Blushing to be encountered with a cloud.
Shall I speak for thee? Shall I say 'tis so?
O that I knew thy heart, and knew the beast,
That I might rail at him to ease my mind!
Sorrow concealed, like an oven stopped,
Doth burn the heart to cinders where it is.
Fair Philomela, why she but lost her tongue
And in a tedious sampler sewed her mind;
But, lovely niece, that mean is cut from thee.
A craftier Tereus, cousin, hast thou met,
And he hath cut those pretty fingers off
That could have better sewed than Philomel.
O, had the monster seen those lily hands
Tremble like aspen leaves upon a lute
And make the silken strings delight to kiss them,
He would not then have touched them for his life.
Or had he heard the heavenly harmony
Which that sweet tongue hath made,
He would have dropped his knife and fell asleep,
As Cerberus at the Thracian poet's feet.
Come, let us go and make thy father blind,
For such a sight will blind a father's eye.
One hour's storm will drown the fragrant meads;
What will whole months of tears thy father's eyes?
Do not draw back, for we will mourn with thee.
O, could our mourning ease thy misery.
Exeunt
SHAKESPEARE'S WORDS © 2018 DAVID CRYSTAL & BEN CRYSTAL