Lord Strange's men” on April 11, 1591. The play is marked "ne" (i. e. "new"). Similarly, a "Titus and Andronicus” is described as a new play by Henslowe under the date of January 22, 1593–1594.

Under any circumstances, Titus Andronicus stands outside the regular early Shakespearean dramas,—the gentle "love-plays” of his first period; its value, however, in literary history, is this :-crude as it is, it certainly belongs to the same type of play, as the greater tragedy of Hamlet; the machinery in both plays is much the same; both are Kydian dramas of Revenge ; Nemesis triumphs in the end, entangling in her meshes the innocent as well as the guilty, the perpetrators of crime as well as the agents of venge



It is remarkable that popular as was the story of Titus Andronicus in the sixteenth century, no direct source of the play has yet been discovered, and nothing can be added to Theobald's comment. “The story," he observes, “we are to suppose merely fictitious. Andronicus is a surname of pure Greek derivation. Tamora is neither mentioned by Ammianus Marcellinus, nor anybody else that I can find. Nor had Rome, in the time of her emperors, any war with the Goths that I know of; not till after the translation of the Empire, I mean to Byzantium. And yet the scene is laid at Rome, and Saturninus is elected to the empire at the Capitol."

The ballad given in Percy's Reliques was evidently based on the present play, though formerly considered as its source. 1

1 Cf. Roxburghe Ballads (Ballad Society), Vol. 1; the version cannot, according to Chappell, be earlier than the reign of James I, and is more probably of that of Charles I. The title of the ballad is "The lamentable and tragical history of Titus Andronicus. With the fall of his Sons in the Wars with the Goths, with the manner of the Ravishment of his daughter Lavinia,” etc.


The period covered by the play is four days represented on the stage; with, possibly, two intervals.

Day 1. Act I; Act II, sc. i.
Day 2. Act II, sc. ii-iv; Act III, sc. i. Interval.
Day 3. Act III, sc. ï. Interval.

Day 4. Acts IV and V (v. P. A. Daniel's Time-Analysis, p. 190).

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The Lamentable Tragedy of Titus Andronicus, as it is called in the folio of 1623, is extant in two editions, published during Shakespeare's life, and bearing date 1600 and 1611. Of the first of these only two copies are now known, one of which, as Mr. Collier informs us, is in the collection of Lord Francis Egerton, the other in the Signet Library at Edinburgh, and but lately discovered. The first edition is a quarto pamphlet of forty leaves, with a title-page reading as follows: "The most lamentable Roman Tragedy of Titus Andronicus. As it hath sundry times been played by the Right Honourable the Earl of Pembroke, the Earl of Derby, the Earl of Sussex, and the Lord Chamberlain their Servants. At London, Printed by J. R. for Edward White, and are to be sold at his shop, at the little North door of Paul's, at the sign of the Gun. 1600.” The only considerable change in the title-page of 1611 has reference to the acting of the play, merely saying,—“As it hath sundry times been played by the King's Majesty's Servants”; which, as we have repeatedly seen, was the same company that was known as the Lord Chamberlain's Servants, till the accession of James I, in 1603.

Though no earlier edition than 1600 is now known to exist, it is altogether probable the play was printed in 1594, as Langbaine, in his Account of the English Dramatick Poets, published in 1691, speaks of an edition of that date. That there were copies of such an edition known to Langbaine, only ninety-seven years after, and now lost, might very well be, seeing only two copies of the edition of 1600 have survived till our time. Besides, his statement is con

firmed by an entry at the Stationers' to John Danter, February 6, 1594, of “a book entitled a noble Roman History of Titus Andronicus."

In the folio of 1623, Titus Andronicus stands the third in the division of Tragedies, and is printed with a fair text, having the acts duly marked, but not the scenes. The folio copy has one scene, not in the earlier copies, the second in Act III: otherwise, it appears to have been reprinted from the edition of 1611. Whether the scene in question were omitted in the earlier copies, or added in the later, we have no means of ascertaining.

As to the date of the composition, our most important testimony is furnished by the Induction to Ben Jonson's Bartholomew Fair, which was written in 1614: "He that will swear, Jeronimo or Andronicus are the best plays yet, shall pass unexcepted at here, as a man whose judgment shows it is constant, and hath stood still these five-andtwenty or thirty years. Though it be an ignorance, it is a virtuous and staid ignorance; and, next to truth, a confirmed error does well: such a one the author knows where to find him.” Taking the shortest period here spoken of, twenty-five years, we are thrown back to the year 1589, as the time when the play was first on the boards. Shakespeare was then twenty-five years old; and from the internal evidence of the play we should conclude it to have been written when he certainly was not past that age. That Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus was the one referred to by Jonson, may be reasonably inferred, from the known fact of its great and long-continued popularity on the stage, and as there was no other play with that title, that we know of, having sufficient foothold in the popular favor to make his reference anywise appropriate.

But it has been much questioned whether Titus Andronicus were written by Shakespeare. This question seems to have been started by Ravenscroft, who, having altered and of course improved the play, revived it on the stage about the time of the Popish Plot, in 1678. In the Prologue then supplied, Ravenscroft speaks as follows:

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"To-day the Poet does not fear your rage;
Shakespeare, by him reviv'd, now treads the stage:
Under his sacred laurels he sits down,

Safe from the blast of any critic's frown.”
Ravenscroft published his Titus Andronicus in 1687, but
suppressed the Prologue of 1678; and gave a preface, stat-
ing, among other things, how he had been told by some
anciently conversant with the stage, that the play was not
originally Shakespeare's, but brought by a private author
to be acted, and he only gave some master-touches to one
or two of the principal characters": but Shadwell intimates
that Ravenscroft got up this story with a view to exalt his
own merit in having altered it.

Howbeit, a large number of critics and editors, from Theobald to Singer, agree in the opinion that the play was not written by Shakespeare; though Theobald and one or two others think he added “a few fine touches” to it. Their judgment in the matter is thus pronounced by Johnson: “All the editors and critics agree in supposing this play spurious. I see no reason for differing from them; for the color of the style is wholly different from that of the other plays, and there is an attempt at regular versification, and artificial closes, not always inelegant, yet seldom pleasing. The barbarity of the spectacles and the general massacre, which are here exhibited, can scarcely be conceived tolerable to any audience, yet we are told by Jonson that they were not only borne but praised. That Shakespeare wrote any part of it, though Theobald declares it incontestable, I see no reason for believing." The latest critic of much weight who pronounces the same way, is Hallam. “Titus Andronicus,” says he, “is now, by common consent, denied to be, in any sense, a production of Shakespeare; and

very few passages,

I should think not one, resemble his manner.” These are pretty strong declarations, but there are two facts which they do not tell us how to get along with. One is, that Francis Meres, in his Palladis Tamia, 1598, names Titus Andronicus as one of Shakespeare's tragedies. Meres seems to have been fully competent for the work

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