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It did me good, before the palace gate,
To brave the tribune in his brother's hearing.

Dem. But me more good, to see so great a lord Basely insinuate, and send us gifts.

Aaron. Had he not reason, lord Demetrius ? Did you not use his daughter very friendly?

Dem. I would, we had a thousand Roman dames At such a bay, by turn to serve our lust.

Chi. A charitable wish, and full of love!
Aaron. Here lacks but your mother for to say

Chi. And that would she for twenty thousand


Dem. Come, let us go; and pray to all the

gods For our beloved mother in her pains. Aaron. Pray to the devils : the gods have given us o'er.

[aside. Florish. Dem. Why do the emperor's trumpets florish

thus ? Chi. Belike, for joy the emperor hath a son. Dem. Soft; who comes here?

Enter NURSE, with a blackamoor Child in her arms. Nurse.

Good morrow,

lords. O, tell me, did you see Aaron the Moor?

Aaron. Well, more or less, or ne'er a whit at all, Here Aaron is : and what with Aaron now?

Nurse. O, gentle Aaron, we are all undone. Now help, or woe betide thee evermore !


Aaron. Why, what a caterwauling dost thou

keep! What dost thou wrap and fumble in thy arms ? Nurse. O, that which I would hide from heaven's

eye, Our empress' shame, and stately Rome's disgrace: She is deliver’d, lords, she is deliver'd.

Aaron. To whom?
Nurse. I mean, she's brought to bed.

Give her good rest! What hath he sent her?

A devil. Aaron. Why, then she's the devil's dam; a

joyful issue. Nurse. A joyless, dismal, black, and sorrowful

issue. Here is the babe, as loathsome as a toad Amongst the fairest breeders of our clime. The empress

sends it thee, thy stamp, thy seal, And bids thee christen it with thy dagger's point. Aaron. Out, you whore! is black so base a

hue ? Sweet blowse, you are a beauteous blossom, sure.

Dem. Villain, what hast thou done?

Done! that which thou
Canst not undo.

Thou hast undone our mother, Aaron. Villain, I have done thy mother.

Dem. And therein, hellish dog, thou hast undone. Woe to her chance, and damn'd her loathed choice!

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Accursed the offspring of so foul a fiend !

Chi. It shall not live.

It shall not die.
Nurse. Aaron, it must; the mother wills it so.
Aaron. What, must it, nurse ? then let no man

but I Do execution on my flesh and blood. Dem. I'll broach 1 the tadpole on my rapier's

point. Nurse, give it me; my sword shall soon despatch it. Aaron. Sooner this sword shall plough thy boweis


(takes the Child from the Nurse, and draws. Stay, murderous villains ! will


Now, by the burning tapers of the sky,
That shone so brightly when this boy was got,
He dies upon my scimitar's sharp point,
That touches this my first-born son and heir !
I tell you, younglings, not Enceladus,
With all his threatening band of Typhon's brood,
Nor great Alcides, nor the god of war,
Shall seise this prey out of his father's hands.
What, what! ye sanguine, shallow-hearted boys !
Ye white-limed walls ! ye alehouse painted signs !
Coal-black is better than another hue,
In that it scorns to bear another hue :
For all the water in the ocean
Can never turn a swan's black legs to white,

1 Spit.

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