William Shakespeare: 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, with bows
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kinsmen, shoot all your shafts into the court: We will afflict the emperor in his pride.
Now, masters, draw.
O, well said, Lucius! Good boy, in Virgo's lap; give it Pallas.
Ha, ha! Publius, Publius, what hast thou done? See, see, thou hast shot off one of Taurus' horns.
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.
Why, there it goes: God give his lordship joy!
Enter a Clown, with a basket, and two pigeons in it
News, news from heaven! Marcus, the post is come. Sirrah, what tidings? have you any letters? Shall I have justice? what says Jupiter?
O, the gibbet-maker! he says that he hath taken them down again, for the man must not be hanged till the next week.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.