Anonymous Olde English

Titus Andronicus's Complaint - Poem by Anonymous Olde English

The Lamentable and Tragical History of Titus Adronicus, &c.

You noble minds, and famous martiall wights,
That in defence of native country fights,
Give eare to me, that ten yeeres fought for Rome,
Yet reapt disgrace at my returning home.

In Rome I lived in fame fulle threescore yeeres,
My name beloved was of all my peeres;
Full five-and-twenty valiant soones I had,
Whose forwarde vertues made their father glad.

For when Romes foes their warlike forces bent,
Against them stille my sonnes and I were sent;
Agains the Goths full ten yeeres weary warre
We spent, receiving many a bloudy scarre.

Just two-and-twenty of my sonnes were slaine
Before we did returne to Rome againe:
Of five-and-twenty sonnes, I brought but three
Alive, the stately towers of Rome to see.

When wars were done, I conquest home did bring,
And did present my prisoners to the king,
The Queene of Goths, her sons, and eke a Moore,
Which did such murders, like was nere before.

The emperour did make this queene his wife,
Which bred in Rome debate and deadlie strife;
The Moore, with her two sonnes, did growe soe proud,
That none like them in Rome might bee allowd.

The Moore soe pleas'd this new-made empress' eie,
That she consented to him secretlye
For to abuse her husbands marriage-bed,
And soe in time a blackamore she bred.

Then she, whose thoughts to murder were inclinde,
Consented with the Moore of bloody minde
Against myselfe, my kin, and all my friendes,
In cruell sort to bring them to their endes.

Soe when in age I thought to live in peace,
Both care and griefe began then to increase:
Amongst my sonnes I had one daughter bright,
Which joy'd and pleased best my sight.

My deare Lavinia was betrothed than
To Cesars sonne, a young and noble man:
Who, in a hunting by the emperours wife
And her two sonnes, bereaved was of life.

He, being slaine, was cast in cruel wise
Into a darksome den from light of skies:
The cruell Moore did come that way as then
With my three sonnes, who fell into the den.

The Moore then fetcht the emperour with speed,
For to accuse them of that murderous deed;
And when my sonnes within the den were found
In wrongfull prison they were cast and bound.

But nowe behold what wounded most my mind:
The empresses two sonnes, of savage kind,
My daughter ravished without remorse,
And took away her honour, quite perforce.

When they had tasted of soe sweete a flowre,
Fearing this sweete should shortly turn to sowre,
They cutt her tongue, whereby she could not tell
How that dishonoure unto her befell.

Then both her hands they basely cutt off quite,
Whereby their wickednesse she could not write,
Nor with her needle on her sampler sowe
The bloudye workers of her direfull woe.

My brother Marcus found her in the wood,
Staining the grassie ground with purple bloud,
That trickled from her stumpes and bloudlesse armes:
Noe tongue at all she had to tell her harmes.

But when I sawe her in that woefull case,
With teares of bloud I wet mine aged face:
For my Lavinia I lamented more
Then for my two-and-twenty sonnes before.

When as I sawe she could not write nor speake,
With grief mine aged heart began to breake;
We spred an heape of sand upon the ground,
Whereby those bloudy tryants out we found.

For with a staffe, without the helpe of hand,
She writt these wordes upon the plat of sand:
'The lustfull sonnes of the proud emperesse
Are doers of this hateful wickednesse.'

I tore the milk-white hairs from off mine head,
I curst the houre wherein I first was bred;
I wisht this hand, that fought for countrie's fame,
In cradle rockt, had first been stroken lame.

The Moore, delighting still in villainy,
Did say, to sett my sonnes from prison free,
I should unto the king my right hand give,
And then my three imprisoned sonnes should live.

The Moore I caus'd to strike it off with speede,
Whereat I grieved not to see it bleed,
But for my sonnes would willingly impart,
And for their ransome send my bleeding heart.

But as my life did linger thus in paine,
They sent to me my bootlesse hand againe,
And therewithal the heades of my three sonnes,
Which filld my dying heart with fresher moanes.

Then, past reliefe, I upp and downe did goe,
And with my teares writ in the dust my woe:
I shot my arrowes towards heaven hie,
And for revenge to hell often did crye.

The empresse then, thinking that I was mad,
Like Furies she and both her sonnes were clad,
(She nam'd Revenge, and Rape and Murder they)
To undermine and heare what I would say.

I fed their foolish veines a certaine space,
Untill my friendes did find a secret place,
Where both her sonnes unto a post were bound,
And just revenge in cruell sort was found.

I cut their throates, my daughter held the pan
Betwixt her stumpes, wherein the bloud it ran:
And then I ground their bones to powder small,
And made a paste for pyes streight therewithall.

Then with their fleshe I made two mighty pyes,
And at a banquet served in stately wise,
Before the empresse set this loathsome meat;
So of her sonnes own flesh she well did eat.

Myselfe bereav'd my daughter then of life,
The empresse then I slewe with bloudy knife,
And stabb'd the emperour immediatelie,
And then myself: even soe did Titus die.

Then this revenge against the Moore was found:
Alive they sett him halfe into the ground,
Whereas he stood untill such time he starv'd:
And soe God send all murderers may be serv'd.

Comments about Titus Andronicus's Complaint by Anonymous Olde English

There is no comment submitted by members..

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 7, 2010

[Report Error]