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RAPE OF LUCRECE.
“ Guilty thou art of murder and of theft;
Guilty of incest, that abomination :
An accessary by thine inclination
To all sins past, and all that are to come,
From the creation to the general doom.
Eater of youth, false slave to false delight,
Thou nursest all, and murderest all that are.
To endless date of never-ending woes?
Time's office is to fine the hate of foes;
To eat up errour by opinion bred,
Not spend the dowry of a lawful bed.
“ Time's glory is to calm contending kings,
“ To fill with worm-holes stately monuments,
To pluck the quills from ancient ravens' wings,
And turn the giddy round of Fortune's wheel:
To make the child a man, the inan a child,
To slay the tiger that doth live by slaughter,
To mock the subtle, in themselves beguild;
To cheer the ploughman with increaseful crops,
And waste huge stones with little water-drops.
I could prevent this storm, and shun this wrack!
Devise extremes beyond extremity,
To make him curse this cursed crimeful night:
And let mild women to him lose their mildness,
“ Let him have time to tear his curled hair, " In vain," quoth she, “ I live, and seek in vain Let him bave time against himself to rave,
Some happy mean to end a hapless life. Let him have time of time's help to despair, I fear'd by Tarquin's falchion to be slain, Let him have time to live a loathed slave,
Yet for the self-same purpose seek a knife: Let him have time a beggar's orts to crave;
But when I fear'd, I was a loyal wife; And time to see one that by alıns doth live, So am I now :-O no, that cannot be; Disdain to him disdained scraps to give.
Of that true type bath 'Tarquin rifled me.
And therefore now I need not fear to die.
A dying life to living infamy;
Poor helpless help, the treasure stolen away, Have time to wail the abusing of his time. To burn the guiltless casket where it lay! “ O Time, thou tutor both to good and bad, “ Well, well, dear Collatine, thou shalt not know Teach me to curse him that thou taught'st this ill! The stained taste of violated troth; At his own shadow let the thief run mad,
I will not wrong thy true affection so, Himself himself seek every hour to kill ! [spill: To flatter thee with an infringed oath; Such wretched hands such wretched blood should This bastard graff shall never come to growth : For who so base would such an office bave
He shall not boast, who did thy stock pollute, As slanderous death's-man to so base a slave ? That thou art doting fatber of his fruit. “ The baser is he, coming from a king,
« Nor shall he smile at thee in secret thought, To sbame his hope with deeds degenerate;
Nor laugh with his companions at thy state; The mightier man, the mightier is the thing But thou shalt know thy interest was not bought That makes him honour'd, or begets him hate; Basely with gold, but stolen from forth thy gate.. For greatest scandal waits on greatest state. For me, I am the mistress of my fate, The Moon being clouded presently is miss'd, And with my trespass never will dispense, But little stars may hide them when they list. Till life to death acquit my forc'd offence. “ The crow may bathe his coal-black wings in mire, “ I will not poison thee with my attaint, And unperceiv'd fly with the filth away;
Nor fold my fault in cleanly-coin'd excuses; But if the like the snow-white swan desire,
My sable ground of sin I will not paint, The stain upon his silver down will stay.
To hide the truth of this false night's abuses : Poor grooms are sightless night, kings glorious day. My tongue shall utter all; mine eyes, like sluices, Gnats are unnoted wheresoe'er they fiy,
As from a mountain-spring that feeds a dale, But eagles gaz'd upon with every eye.
Shall gush pure streams to purge my impure tale." " Out idle words, servants to shallow fools !
By this, lamenting Philomel had ended Unprofitable sounds, weak arbitrators!
The well-tun'd warble of her nightly sorrow, Busy yourselves in skill-contending schools; And solemn night with slow-sad gait descended Debate where leisure serves with dull debaters; To ugly Hell; when lo, the blushing morrow To trembling clients be you mediators :
Lends light to all fair eyes that light will borrow: For me, I force not argument a straw,
But cloudy Lucrece shames herself to see, Since that my case is past the help of law.
And therefore still in night would cloister'd be. * In vain I rail at Opportunity,
Revealing day through every cranny spies, At Time, at Tarquin, and uncheerful Night; And seems to point her out where she sits weeping: In vain I cavil with mine infamy,
To whom she sobbing speaks: “O eye of eyes, (ing; In vain I spurn at my confirm’d Jespite:
Why pry'st thou through mywindow? leave thy peepThis helpless smoke of words doth me no right. Mock with thy tickling beams eyes that are sleeping; The remedy indeed to do me good,
Brand not my forehead with thy piercing light, Is to let forth my foul defiled blood.
For day hath nought to do what's done by night." “ Poor hand, why quiver'st thou at this decree? Thus cavils she with every thing she sees : Honour thyself to rid me of this shame;
True grief is fond and testy as a child, Por if I die, my honour lives in thee,
Who wayward once, his mood with nought agrees, But if I live, thou liv'st in my defame:
Old woes, not infant sorrows, bear him mild; Since thou could'st not defend thy loyal dame, Continuance tames the one; the other wild, And wast afraid to scratch her wicked foe,
Like an unpractis'il swimmer plunging still, Kill both thyself and her for yielding so."
With too much labour drowns for want of skill. This said, from her be-tumbled couch she starteth, So she, decp-drenched in a sea of care, To find some desperate instrument of death. Holds disputation with each thing she views, But this no-slaughter-house no tool imparteth, Aud to herself all sortow doth compare ; To make more vent for passage of her breath, No object but her passion's strength renews; Which thronging through her lips so vanisheth And as one shifts, another straight ensues: As smoke from Etna, that in air consumes,
Sometime her grief is dumb, and hath no words; Or that which from discharged cannon fumes. Sometime 't is mad, and too much talk affords.
The little birds that tune their morning's joy, “ Her house is sack'd, her qniet interrupted,
Grossly engirt with daring infamy :
Then let it not be call'd impiety, True sorrow then is feelingly suffic'd,
If in this blemish'd fort I make some hole, When with lịke semblance it is sympathiz'd. Through which I may convey this troubled soul. 'T is double death to drown in ken of shore; " Yet die I will not, till my Collatine He ten times pines, that pines beholding food; Have heard the cause of my untimely death; To see the salve doth make the wound ache more; That he may vow, in that sad hour of mine, Great grief grieves most at that would do it good; Revenge on him that made me stop my breath. Deep woes roll forward like a gentle flood, My stained blood to Tarquin I'll bequeath, Who, being stopp'd, the bounding banks o'erflows: Which by him tainted, shall for him be spent, Grief dallied with nor law nor limit knows. And as his due, writ in my testament. "You mockingbirds, "quoth she, “ your tunes entomb “ My honour I'll bequeath unto the knife Within your hollow-swelling feather'd breasts ! That wounds my body so dishonoured. And in my hearing be you mute and dumb!' 'T is honour to deprive dishonour'd life; (My restless discord loves no stops nor rests ;
The one will live, the other being dead : A woful hostess brooks nut merry guests :)
So of shame's ashes shall my fame be bred; Relish your nimble notes to pleasing ears ; For in my death I murder shameful scord: Distress likes dumps when time is kept with tears. My shame so dead, mine honour is new-bord. " Come, Philomel, that sing'st of ravishment, “ Dear lord of that dear jewel I have lost, Make thy sad grove in my dishevel'd hajr. What legacy shall I bequeath to thee? As the dank earth weeps at thy languishment, My resolution, love, shall be thy boast, So I at each sad strain will strain a tear,
By whose example thou revengd may'st be. And with deep groans the diapason bear:
How 'Tarquin must be us’d, read it in me: For burtben-wise I'll hum on Tarquin still, Myself, thy friend, will kill myself, thy foe, While thou on Tereus descant'st, better skill. And, for my sake, serve thou false Tarquin so. “ And whiles against a thom thou bear'st thy part, “ This brief abridgement of my will I make: To keep thy sharp wues waking, wretched I, My soul and body to the skies and ground; To imitate thee well, against my heart,
My resolution, husband, do you take ; Will fix a sharp knife, to affright mine eye; Mine honour be the knife's, that makes my wound; Who, if it wink, shall thereon fall and die. My shame be his that did my fame confound; These means, as frets upon an instrument,
And all my fame that lives, disbursed be Shall tune our beart-strings to true languishment. To those that live, and think no shame of me. a And for, poor bird, thou sing’st not in the day, “ Thou, Collatine, shalt oversee this will; As shaming any eye should thee behold,
How was I overseen, that thou shalt see it! Some dark deep desert, seated from the way,
My blood shall wash the slander of mine ill; That knows nor parching heat nor freezing cold, My life's foul deed, my life's fair end shall free it. Will we find out; and there we will unfold Paint not, faint beart, but stoutly say, so be it. To creatures stern sad tunes, to change their kinds: Yield to my hand; my hand shall conquer thee; Since men prove beasts, let beasts bear gentle minds. Thou dead, both die, and both shall victors be.” “ As the poor frighted deer, that stands at gaze, This plot of death when sadly she had laid, Wildly determining which way to fly,
And wip'd the brinish pearl from her bright eyes, Or one encompass'd with a winding maze, With untun'd tongue she hoarsely call'd her maid, That cannot tread the way out readily ;
Whose swift obedience to her mistress hies; So with herself is she in mutiny,
For fleet-wing'd duty with thought's feathers fies. To live or die which of the twain were better, Poor Lucrece cheeks unto her maid seem so When life is sham'd, and Death Reprnach's debtor. As winter meads when Sun doth melt their snow. " To kill myself," quoth she, “alack! what were it, Her mistress she doth give demure good-morrow, But with my body my poor soul's pollution? With soft-slow tongue, true mark of modesty, They that lose half, with greater patience bear it, And sorts a sad look to her lady's sorrow, Than they whose whole is swallow'd in confusion. (For why? her face wore sorrow's livery ;) That mother tries a merciless conclusion,
But durst not ask of her audaciously Who, having two sweet babes, when death takes one, Why her two suns were cloud-eclipsed so, Will slay the other, and be nurse to none. Nor why her fair cheeks over-wash'd with woe. “ My body or my soul, which was the dearer? But as the earth doth weep, the Sun being set, When the one pure, the other made divine. Each flower moisten'd like a melting eye; Whose love of either to myself were nearer? Even so the maid with swelling drops 'gan wet When both were kept for Heaven and Collatine. Her circled eyne, enforc'd by simpathy Ah me! the bark peeld from the lofty pine, Of those fair suns, set in her mistress' sky, His leaves will wither, and his sap decay;
Who in a salt-wav'd ocean quench their light, Sa mast my soul, ber bark being peeld away.
Which makes the maid weep like the dewy night.
A pretty while these pretty creatures stand, Her maid is gone, and she prepares to write,
First hovering o'er the paper with her quill :
This is too curious-good, this blunt and ill : Grieving themselves to guess at others' smarts, Much like a press of people at a door, And then they drown their eyes,or break their hearts: Throng her inventions, which shall go before. For men have marble, women waxen minds, At last she thus begins : “Thou worthy lord And therefore are they form'd as marble will; Of that unworthy wife that greeteth thee, The weak oppress'd, the impression of strange kinds Health to thy person! next vouchsafe to afford Is form'd in them by force, by fraud, or skill: (If ever, love, thy Lucrece thou wilt see) Then call them not the authors of their ill,
Some present speed to come and visit me:
Her certain sorrow writ uncertainly.
Her grief, but not her grief's true quality:
No man inveigh against the wither'd flower,
Besides, the life and feeling of her passion
The precedent whereof in Lucrece view,
To see sad sights moves more than bear them told; Assail'd by night with circumstances strong For then the eye interprets to the ear Of present death, and shame that might ensue The heavy motion that it doth behold, By that her death, to do her husband wrong: When every part a part of woe doth bear. Such danger to resistance did belong,
'T is but a part of sorrow that we hear : That dying fear through all her body spread; Deep sounds make lesser noise than shallow fords, And who cannot abuse a body dead?
And sorrow ebbs, being blown with wind of words. By this, mild patience bid fair Lucrece speak Her letter now is seal'd, and on it writ, To the poor counterfeit of her complaining : At Ardea to my lord with more than haste : “My girl," quoth she, “ on what occasion break The post attends, and she delivers it, Those tears from thee, that down thy cheeks are rain-Charging the sour-fac'd groom to hie as fast If thou dost weep for grief of my sustaining, (ing? As lagging fowls before the northern blast. Know, gentle wench, it small avails my mood : Speed more than speed, but dull and slow she deems : If tears could help, mine own would do me good. Extremity still urgeth such extremes. “But tell me, girl,when went,”-andthere she stay'd | The homely villain curt'sies to her low; Till after a deep groan--" Tarquin from hence?" And blushing on her, with a stedfast eye “ Madam, ere I was up," reply'd the maid, Receives the scroll, without or yea or no, “ The more to blame my sluggard negligence:
And forth with bashfull innocence doth hie.
But they whose guilt within their bosoms lie,
For Lucrece thought he blush'd to see her shame. “ But, lady, if your maid may be so bold, When, silly groom, God wot, it was defect She would request to know your heaviness." Of spirit, life, and bold audacity. “O peace !" quoth Lucrece; “ if it should be told, Such harmless creatures have a true respect The repetition cannot make it less;
To talk in deeds, while others saucily For more it is than I can well express:
Promise more speed, but do it leisurely : And that deep torture may be call'd a Hell, Even so, this pattern of the worn-out age When more is felt than one hath power to tell. Pawn'd honest looks, but laid no words to gage. " Go, get me hither paper, ink, and pen- His kindled duty kindled ber mistrust, Yet save that labour, for I have them here.
That two red fires in both their faces blazed; What should I say?-One of my husband's men, She thought he blush'd, as knowing Tarquin's lust, Bid thou be ready, by-and-by, to bear
And, blushing with him, wistly on him gazed; A letter to my lord, my love, my dear;
Her earnest eye did make him more amazed : Bid him with speed prepare to carry it:
The more she saw the blood his cheeks replenish, The cause craves haste, and it will soon be writ.” The more she thought he spy'd in her some blemish,
But long she thinks till he return again,
For much imaginary work was there ; And yet the duteous rassal scarce is gone. Conceit deceitful, so compact, so kind, The reary time she cannot entertain,
That for Achilles' image stood bis spear, For now 't is stale to sigh, to weep, and groan : Grip'd in an armed hand; himself, behind, So woe hath wearied woe, moan tired moan, Was left unseen, save to the eye of mind: That she her plaints a little while doth stay, A hand, a foot, a face, a leg, a head, Pausing for means to mourn some newer way. Stood for the whole to be imagined. At last she calls to mind where hangs a piece And from the walls of strong besiged Troy Of skilful painting, made for Priam's Troy ; When their brave hope, bold Hector, march'd to "Before the which is drawn the power of Greece, Stood many Trojan mothers, sharing joy [field, For Helen's rape the city to destroy,
To see their youthful sons bright weapons wield; Threatening cloud-kissing Ilion with annoy ; And to their hope they such odd action yield, Which the conceited painter drew so proud, That, through their light joy, seemed to appear As Heaven (it seem'd) to kiss the turrets bowd. (Like bright things stain'd) a kind of heavy fear. A thousand lamentable objects there,
And, from the strond of Dardan where they fought, In scorn of Nature, art gave lifeless life:
To Simois' reedy banks the red blood ran, Many a dry drop seem'd a weeping tear,
Whose waves to imitate the battle sought Shed for the slaughter'd husband by the wife: With swelling ridges; and their ranks began The red blood reek'd to show the painter's strife; To break upon the galled shore, and then And dying eyes gleam'd forth their ashy lights, Retire again, till meeting greater ranks Like dying coals burnt out in tedious nights. They jou, and shoot their foam at Simois' banks. There might you see the labouring pioneer To this well-painted piece is Lucrece come, Begrim'd with sweat, and smeared all with dust; To find a face where all distress is stel’d. And from the towers of Troy there would appear Many she sees, where cares have carved some,
The very eyes of men through loop-holes thrust, But none where all distress and dolour dwell’d, Gazing upon the Greeks with little lust :
Till she despairing Hecuba beheld, Such sweet observance in this work was had, Staring on Priam's wounds with her old eyes, That one might see those far-off eyes look sad. Which bleeding under Pyrrhus' proud foot lies. la great commanders grace and majesty
In her the painter had anatomis'd You might behold triumphing in their faces; Time's ruin, beauty's wreck, and grim care's reign; In youth, quick bearing and dexterity;
Her cheeks with chaps and wrinkles were disguis’d; And here and there the painter interlaces
Of what she was, no semblance did remain : Pale cowards, marching on with trembling paces; Her blue blood chang'd to black in every vein, Which heartless peasants did so well resemble, [ble. Wanting the spring that those shrunk pipes had fed, That one would swear he saw them quake and trem- Show'd life imprison'd in a body dead. In Ajax and Ulysses, O what art
On this sad shadow Lucrece spends her eyes, Of physiognomy might one behold!
And sbapes her sorrow to the beldame's woes, The face of either 'cipher'd either's heart; Who nothing wants to answer her but cries, Their face their manners most expressly told: And witter words to ban her cruel foes: In Ajax' eyes blunt rage and rigour rolld; The painter was no god to lend her those; But the mild glance that sly Ulysses lent,
And therefore Lucrece swears he did her wrong, Show'd deep regard and smiling government. To give her so much grief, and not a tongue. Tbere pleading might you see grave Nestor stand, “ Poor instrument,” quoth she, “ without a sound, As 't were encouraging the Greeks to fight; I'll tune thy woes with my lamenting tongue: Making such sober action with his hand,
And drop sweet balm in Priam's painted wound, That it beguild attention, charm'd the sight: And rail on Pyrrhus that hath done him wrong. In speech, it seem'd, bis beard, all silver white, And with my tears quench Troy that burns so long; Wagg'd up and down, and from his lips did fly And with my knife scratch out the angry eyes Thin winding breath, which purl'd up to the sky. Of all the Greeks that are thine enemies. About him were a press of gaping faces,
“ Show me the strumpet that began this stir, Which seem'd to swallow up his sound advice; That with my nails her beauty I may tear. All jointly listening, but with several graces, Thy heat of lust, fond Paris, did incur As if some mermaid did their ears entice;
This load of wrath that burning Troy doth bear; Some high, some low, the painter was so nice : Thy eye kindled the fire that burneth bere: The scalps of many, almost hid behind,
And bere in Troy, for trespass of thine eye, To jump up higher seem'd, to mock the mind. The sire, the son, the dame, and daughter, die. Here one man's hand lean'd on another's head, “ Why should the private pleasure of some one His nose being shadow'd by his neighbour's ear; Become the public plague of many moe? Here one being throng'd bears back, all blown and Let sio, alone committed, light alone Another, smother'd, seems to pelt and swear; [red; Upon his head that hath transgressed so. And in their rage such signs of rage they bear, Let guiltless souls be freed from guilty woe: As, but for loss of Nestor's golden words,
For one's offence why should so many fall, It seem'd they would debate with angry swords, To plague a private sin in general ?