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Far from the purpose of his coming thither,
He makes excuses for his being there.
No cloudy show of stormy blustering weather
Doth yet in his fair welkin once appear;
Till sable Night, mother of Dread and fear,
Upon the world dim darkness doth display,
And in ber vaulty prison stows the day.
For then is Tarquin brought unto his bed,
Intending weariness with beavy spright;
For, after supper, long he questioned
With modest Lucrece, and wore out the night:
Now leaden slumber with life's strength doth fight;
And every one to rest himself betakes,
Save thieves, and cares, and troubled minds that wakes. As one of which doth Tarquin lie revolving The sundry dangers of his will's obtaining; Yet ever to obtain bis will resolving, Thougb weak-built hopes persuade him to abstaining; Despair to gain, doth traffic oft for gaining ;
And when great treasure is the meed proposed,
Though death be abjunct, there's no death supposed. Those that much covet, are with gain so fond, That what they have not (that which they possess) They scatter and uplose it from their bond, And so, by hoping more, they have but less; Or gaining more, the profit of excess
Is but to surfeit, and such griefs sustain,
That they prove bankrupt in this poor-rich gain.
The aim of all is but to nurse the life
With honour, wealth, and ease, in waining age;
And in this aim there is such thwarting strife,
That one for all, or all for one we gage;
As life for honour, in fell battles' rage;
Honour for wealth ; and oft that wealth doth cost
The death of all, and all together lost.
So that in vent'ring ill, we leave to be
The things we are, for that whicb we expect;
And this ambitious foul infirmity,
lo having much, torments us with defect
or that we have: so then we do neglect
The thing we have, and, all for want of wit,
Make something nothing, by augmenting it.
Such hazard now must doting Tarquin make,
Pawning his honour to obtain bis lust;
And for himself, himself he must forsake :
Then where is truth, if there be no self-trust?
When shall be think to find a stranger just,
When he himself bimself confounds, betrays
To slanderous tongues, and wretched hateful days?
Now stole upon the time the dead of night,
When heavy sleep bad clos’d up mortal eyes ;
No comfortable star did lend his light,
No noise but owls' and wolves' death-boding cries :
Now serves the season that they may surprise
The silly lambs; pure thoughts are dead and still,
While lust and murder wake to stain and kill.
And now this lustful lord leap'd from his bed,
Throwing his mantle rudely o'er his arm;
Is madly toss'd between desire and dread;
The one sweetly flatters, the other feareth barm;
But honest Fear, bewitch'd with lust's foul charm,
Doth too too oft betake him to retire,
Beaten away by brain-sick rude Desire.
His falchion on a flint he softly smiteth,
That from the cold stone sparks of fire do fly,
Whereat a waxen torch forthwith he lighteth,
Which must be lode-star to bis lustful eye;
And to the flame thus speaks advisedly:
As from this cold flint I enforc'd this fire,
So Lucrece must I force to my desire. Here pale with fear he doth premeditate The dangers of bis loathsome enterprize, And in his inward mind he doth debate What following sorrow may on this arise : Then looking scornfully, he doth despise
His naked armour of still-slaughter'd lust,
And justly thus controls his thoughts unjust.
Fair torch, burn out thy light, and lend it not
To darken her whose light excelleth thine!
And die anhallow'd thoughts, before you blot
With your uncleanness that which is divine !
Offer pure incense to so pure a shrine :
Let fair humanity abbor the deed
That spots and stains love's modest snow-white weed.
O shame to knighthood and to shining arms!
O foul dishonour to my household's grave!
O impious act, including all foul harms!
A martial man to be soft fancy's slave!
True valour still a true respect should have;
Then my digression is so vile, so base,
That it will live engraven in my face.
Yea, though I die, the scandal will survive,
And be an eye-sore in my golden coat;
Some loathsome dash the herald will contrive,
To cipher me, bow fondly I did dote ;
That my posterity, sham'd with the note,
Shall curse my bones, and hold it for no sin
To wish that I their father bad not been.
What win I, if I gain the thing I seek?
A dream, a breath, a froth of fleeting joy:
Who buys a minute's mirth, to wail a week?
Or sells eternity, to get a toy?
For one sweet grape who will the vine destroy?
Or what fond beggar, but to touch the crown,
Would with the scepter straight be strucken down? If Collatinus dream of my intent, Will be not wake, and in a desperate rage Post hither, this vile purpose to prevent? This siege that hath engirt his marriage, This blur to youth, this sorrow to the sage,
This dying virtue, this surviving shame
Whose crime will bear an ever-during blame? O what excuse can my invention make, When thou shalt charge me with so black a deed ? Will not my tongue be mute, my frail joints shake? Mine eyes forego their light, my false heart bleed! The guilt being great, the fear doth still exceed;
And extreme fcar can neither fight nor fly,
But coward-like with trembling terror die.
Had Collatinus kill'd my son or sire,
Or lain in ambush to betray my life,
Or were he not my dear friend, this desire
Might have excuse to work upon his wife ;
As in revenge or quittal of such strife :
But as he is my kinsman, my dear friend,
The shame and fault finds no excuse nor end.
Shameful it is ;-ay, if the fact be known:
Hateful it is ;-there is no hate in loving:
I'll beg her love ;--but she is not her own :
The worst is but denial, and reproving :
My will is strong, past reason's weak removing.
Who fears a sentence or an old man's saw,
Shall by a painted cloth be kept in awe.
Thus graceless, holds be disputation
"Tween frozen conscience, and hot-burning will,
And with good thoughts makes dispensation,
Urging the worser sense for vantage still;
Which in a moment doth confound and kill
All pure effects, and doth so far proceed,
That what is vile shows like a virtuous deed.
Quoth he, she took me kindly by the hand,
And gaz'd for tidings in my eager eyes,
Fearing some hard news from the warlike band
Where her beloved Collatinus lies.
O bow her fear did make her colour rise !
First red as roses that on lawn we lay,
Then white as lawn, the roses took away.
And how her hand, in my hand being lock’d,
Forc'd it to tremble with her loyal fear!
Which struck her sad, and then it faster rock'd,
Until her husband's welfare she did hear;
Whereat she smiled with so sweet a cheer,
That bad Narcissus seen her as she stood,
Self-love had never drown'd him in the flood.
Wby hunt I then for colour or excuses ?
All orators are dumb, when beauty pleadeth;
Poor wretches have remorse in poor abuses;
Love thrives not in the heart that shadows dreadeth:
Affection is my captain, and he leadeth;
And when his gaudy banner is display'd,
The coward fights, and will not be dismay'd.
Then childish fear avaunt! debating die!
Respect and reason, wait on wrinkled age !
My heart shall never countermand mine eye:
Sad pause and deep regard beseem the sage;
My part is youth, and beats these from the stage :
Desire my pilot is, beauty my prize;
Then who fears sinking where such treasure lies?
As corn o'ergrown by weeds, so heedful fear
Is almost chok'd by unresisted lust.
Away he steals with open listening ear,
Full of foul hope, and full of food mistrust;
Both which, as servitors to the unjust,
So cross him with their opposite persuasion,
That now he vows a league, and now invasion. Within his thought her heavenly image sits, And in the self same seat sits Collatine: That eye wbich looks on ber, confounds bis wits, That eye which him beholds, as more divine, Unto a view so false will not incline ;
But with a pure appeal seeks to the heart,
Which once corrupted, takes the worser part;
And therein beartens up bis servile powers,
Who, fatter'd by their leader's jocund show,
Stuff up his lust, as minutes fill up hours;
And as their captain, so their pride doth grow,
Paying more slavish tribute than they owe.
By reprobate desire thus madly led,
The Roman lord marcheth to Lucrece' bed.
The locks between her chamber and his will,
Each one by him enforc'd, retires his ward;
But as they open, they all rate bis ill,
Which drives the creeping thief to some regard :
The threshold grates the door to have him heard;
Night-wand'ring weesels shriek to see him there;
They fright him, yet be still pursues bis fear. As each unwilling portal yields him way, Through little vents and crannies of the place The wind wars with his torch, to make him stay, And blows the smoke of it into his face, Extinguisbing bis conduct in this case; But