Document: All > Shakespeare > Tragedies > Titus Andronicus > Act IV, scene III
[Enter TITUS, bearing arrows with letters at the
ends of them; with him, MARCUS, Young LUCIUS,
PUBLIUS, SEMPRONIUS, CAIUS, and other Gentlemen,
TITUS ANDRONICUS: Come, Marcus; come, kinsmen; this is the way.
Sir boy, now let me see your archery;
Look ye draw home enough, and 'tis there straight.
Terras Astraea reliquit:
Be you remember'd, Marcus, she's gone, she's fled.
Sirs, take you to your tools. You, cousins, shall
Go sound the ocean, and cast your nets;
Happily you may catch her in the sea;
Yet there's as little justice as at land:
No; Publius and Sempronius, you must do it;
'Tis you must dig with mattock and with spade,
And pierce the inmost centre of the earth:
Then, when you come to Pluto's region,
I pray you, deliver him this petition;
Tell him, it is for justice and for aid,
And that it comes from old Andronicus,
Shaken with sorrows in ungrateful Rome.
Ah, Rome! Well, well; I made thee miserable
What time I threw the people's suffrages
On him that thus doth tyrannize o'er me.
Go, get you gone; and pray be careful all,
And leave you not a man-of-war unsearch'd:
This wicked emperor may have shipp'd her hence;
And, kinsmen, then we may go pipe for justice.
MARCUS ANDRONICUS: O Publius, is not this a heavy case,
To see thy noble uncle thus distract?
PUBLIUS: Therefore, my lord, it highly us concerns
By day and night to attend him carefully,
And feed his humour kindly as we may,
Till time beget some careful remedy.
MARCUS ANDRONICUS: Kinsmen, his sorrows are past remedy.
Join with the Goths; and with revengeful war
Take wreak on Rome for this ingratitude,
And vengeance on the traitor Saturnine.
TITUS ANDRONICUS: Publius, how now! how now, my masters!
What, have you met with her?
PUBLIUS: No, my good lord; but Pluto sends you word,
If you will have Revenge from hell, you shall:
Marry, for Justice, she is so employ'd,
He thinks, with Jove in heaven, or somewhere else,
So that perforce you must needs stay a time.
TITUS ANDRONICUS: He doth me wrong to feed me with delays.
I'll dive into the burning lake below,
And pull her out of Acheron by the heels.
Marcus, we are but shrubs, no cedars we
No big-boned men framed of the Cyclops' size;
But metal, Marcus, steel to the very back,
Yet wrung with wrongs more than our backs can bear:
And, sith there's no justice in earth nor hell,
We will solicit heaven and move the gods
To send down Justice for to wreak our wrongs.
Come, to this gear. You are a good archer, Marcus;
[He gives them the arrows]
'Ad Jovem,' that's for you: here, 'Ad Apollinem:'
'Ad Martem,' that's for myself:
Here, boy, to Pallas: here, to Mercury:
To Saturn, Caius, not to Saturnine;
You were as good to shoot against the wind.
To it, boy! Marcus, loose when I bid.
Of my word, I have written to effect;
There's not a god left unsolicited.
MARCUS ANDRONICUS: Kinsmen, shoot all your shafts into the court:
We will afflict the emperor in his pride.
TITUS ANDRONICUS: Now, masters, draw.
O, well said, Lucius!
Good boy, in Virgo's lap; give it Pallas.
MARCUS ANDRONICUS: My lord, I aim a mile beyond the moon;
Your letter is with Jupiter by this.
TITUS ANDRONICUS: Ha, ha!
Publius, Publius, what hast thou done?
See, see, thou hast shot off one of Taurus' horns.
MARCUS ANDRONICUS: This was the sport, my lord: when Publius shot,
The Bull, being gall'd, gave Aries such a knock
That down fell both the Ram's horns in the court;
And who should find them but the empress' villain?
She laugh'd, and told the Moor he should not choose
But give them to his master for a present.
TITUS ANDRONICUS: Why, there it goes: God give his lordship joy!
[Enter a Clown, with a basket, and two pigeons in
News, news from heaven! Marcus, the post is come.
Sirrah, what tidings? have you any letters?
Shall I have justice? what says Jupiter?
Clown: O, the gibbet-maker! he says that he hath taken
them down again, for the man must not be hanged till
the next week.
TITUS ANDRONICUS: But what says Jupiter, I ask thee?
Clown: Alas, sir, I know not Jupiter; I never drank with him
in all my life.
TITUS ANDRONICUS: Why, villain, art not thou the carrier?
Clown: Ay, of my pigeons, sir; nothing else.
TITUS ANDRONICUS: Why, didst thou not come from heaven?
Clown: From heaven! alas, sir, I never came there God
forbid I should be so bold to press to heaven in my
young days. Why, I am going with my pigeons to the
tribunal plebs, to take up a matter of brawl
betwixt my uncle and one of the emperial's men.
MARCUS ANDRONICUS: Why, sir, that is as fit as can be to serve for
your oration; and let him deliver the pigeons to
the emperor from you.
TITUS ANDRONICUS: Tell me, can you deliver an oration to the emperor
with a grace?
Clown: Nay, truly, sir, I could never say grace in all my life.
TITUS ANDRONICUS: Sirrah, come hither: make no more ado,
But give your pigeons to the emperor:
By me thou shalt have justice at his hands.
Hold, hold; meanwhile here's money for thy charges.
Give me pen and ink. Sirrah, can you with a grace
deliver a supplication?
Clown: Ay, sir.
TITUS ANDRONICUS: Then here is a supplication for you. And when you
come to him, at the first approach you must kneel,
then kiss his foot, then deliver up your pigeons, and
then look for your reward. I'll be at hand, sir; see
you do it bravely.
Clown: I warrant you, sir, let me alone.
TITUS ANDRONICUS: Sirrah, hast thou a knife? come, let me see it.
Here, Marcus, fold it in the oration;
For thou hast made it like an humble suppliant.
And when thou hast given it the emperor,
Knock at my door, and tell me what he says.
Clown: God be with you, sir; I will.
TITUS ANDRONICUS: Come, Marcus, let us go. Publius, follow me.