TO THE RIGHT HONORABLE HENRY WRIOTHESLY Earl of Southamptonand Baron of Tichfield.
The love I dedicate to your lordship is without end; whereof this pamphletwithout beginningis but a superfluous moiety. The warrant I have of your honourable dispositionnot the worth of my untutored linesmakes it assured of acceptance. What I have done is yours; what I have to do is yours; being part in all I havedevoted yours. Were my worth greatermy duty would show greater; meantimeas it isit is bound to your lordship to whom I wish long lifestill lengthened with all happiness.
Your lordship's in all duty WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE.
THE RAPE OF LUCRECE
Lucius Tarquiniusfor his excessive pride surnamed Superbus after he had caused his own father-in-law Servius Tullius to be cruelly murderedandcontrary to the Roman laws and customs not requiring or staying for the people's suffrageshad possessed himself of the kingdomwentaccompanied with his sons and other noblemen of Rometo besiege Ardea. During which siege the principal men of the army meeting one evening at the tent of Sextus Tarquiniusthe king's sonin their discourses after supper every one commended the virtues of his own wife: among whom Collatinus extolled the incomparable chastity of his wife Lucretia. In that pleasant humour they posted to Rome; and intendingby their secret and sudden arrivalto make trial of that which every one had before avouchedonly Collatinus finds his wifethough it were late in the nightspinning amongst her maids: the other ladies were all found dancing and revellingor in several disports. Whereupon the noblemen yielded Collatinus the victoryand his wife the fame. At that time Sextus Tarquinius being inflamed with Lucrece' beautyyet smothering his passions for the presentdeparted with the rest back to the camp; from whence he shortly after privily withdrew himselfand wasaccording to his estateroyally entertained and lodged by Lucrece at Collatium. The same night he treacherously stealeth into her chamberviolently ravished herand early in the morning speedeth away. Lucrecein this lamentable plight hastily dispatcheth messengersone to Rome for her father another to the camp for Collatine. They camethe one accompanied with Junius Brutusthe other with Publius Valerius; and finding Lucrece attired in mourning habitdemanded the cause of her sorrow. Shefirst taking an oath of them for her revengerevealed the actorand whole manner of his dealingand withal suddenly stabbed herself. Which donewith one consent they all vowed to root out the whole hated family of the
Tarquins; and bearing the dead body to RomeBrutus acquainted the people with the doer and manner of the vile deedwith a bitter invective against the tyranny of the king: wherewith the people were so movedthat with one consent and a general acclamation the Tarquins were all exiledand the state government changed from kings to consuls.
THE RAPE OF LUCRECE
FROM the besieged Ardea all in post Borne by the trustless wings of false desire Lust-breathed Tarquin leaves the Roman host And to Collatium bears the lightless fire Whichin pale embers hidlurks to aspire And girdle with embracing flames the waist Of Collatine's fair loveLucrece the chaste.
Haply that name of 'chaste' unhappily set This bateless edge on his keen appetite; When Collatine unwisely did not let To praise the clear unmatched red and white Which triumph'd in that sky of his delight Where mortal starsas bright as heaven's beauties With pure aspects did him peculiar duties.
For he the night beforein Tarquin's tent Unlock'd the treasure of his happy state; What priceless wealth the heavens had him lent In the possession of his beauteous mate; Reckoning his fortune at such high-proud rate That kings might be espoused to more fame But king nor peer to such a peerless dame.
O happiness enjoy'd but of a few! Andif possess'das soon decay'd and done As is the morning's silver-melting dew Against the golden splendor of the sun! An expired datecancell'd ere well begun: Honour and beautyin the owner's arms Are weakly fortress'd from a world of harms.
Beauty itself doth of itself persuade The eyes of men without an orator; What needeth then apologies be made To set forth that which is so singular? Or why is Collatine the publisher Of that rich jewel he should keep unknown From thievish earsbecause it is his own?
Perchance his boast of Lucrece' sovereignty Suggested this proud issue of a king; For by our ears our hearts oft tainted be: Perchance that envy of so rich a thing Braving comparedisdainfully did sting His high-pitch'd thoughtsthat meaner men should vaunt That golden hap which their superiors want.
But some untimely thought did instigate His all-too-timeless speedif none of those: His honourhis affairshis friendshis state
Neglected allwith swift intent he goes To quench the coal which in his liver glows. O rash false heatwrapp'd in repentant cold Thy hasty spring still blastsand ne'er grows old!
When at Collatium this false lord arrived Well was he welcomed by the Roman dame Within whose face beauty and virtue strived Which of them both should underprop her fame: When virtue bragg'dbeauty would blush for shame; When beauty boasted blushesin despite Virtue would stain that o'er with silver white.
But beautyin that white intituled From Venus' doves doth challenge that fair field: Then virtue claims from beauty beauty's red Which virtue gave the golden age to gild Their silver cheeksand call'd it then their shield; Teaching them thus to use it in the fight When shame assail'dthe red should fence the white.
This heraldry in Lucrece' face was seen Argued by beauty's red and virtue's white Of either's colour was the other queen Proving from world's minority their right: Yet their ambition makes them still to fight; The sovereignty of either being so great That oft they interchange each other's seat.
Their silent war of lilies and of roses Which Tarquin view'd in her fair face's field In their pure ranks his traitor eye encloses; Wherelest between them both it should be kill'd The coward captive vanquished doth yield To those two armies that would let him go Rather than triumph in so false a foe.
Now thinks he that her husband's shallow tongue-The niggard prodigal that praised her so-In that high task hath done her beauty wrong Which far exceeds his barren skill to show: Therefore that praise which Collatine doth owe Enchanted Tarquin answers with surmise In silent wonder of still-gazing eyes.
This earthly saintadored by this devil Little suspecteth the false worshipper; For unstain'd thoughts do seldom dream on evil; Birds never limed no secret bushes fear: So guiltless she securely gives good cheer And reverend welcome to her princely guest Whose inward ill no outward harm express'd:
For that he colour'd with his high estate Hiding base sin in plaits of majesty; That nothing in him seem'd inordinate Save something too much wonder of his eye Whichhaving allall could not satisfy; Butpoorly richso wanteth in his store Thatcloy'd with muchhe pineth still for more.
But shethat never coped with stranger eyes Could pick no meaning from their parling looks Nor read the subtle-shining secrecies
Writ in the glassy margents of such books: She touch'd no unknown baitsnor fear'd no hooks; Nor could she moralize his wanton sight More than his eyes were open'd to the light.
He stories to her ears her husband's fame Won in the fields of fruitful Italy; And decks with praises Collatine's high name Made glorious by his manly chivalry With bruised arms and wreaths of victory: Her joy with heaved-up hand she doth express Andwordlessso greets heaven for his success.
Far from the purpose of his coming hither He makes excuses for his being there: No cloudy show of stormy blustering weather Doth yet in his fair welkin once appear; Till sable Nightmother of Dread and Fear Upon the world dim darkness doth display And in her vaulty prison stows the Day.
For then is Tarquin brought unto his bed Intending weariness with heavy spright; Forafter supperlong he questioned With modest Lucreceand wore out the night: Now leaden slumber with life's strength doth fight; And every one to rest themselves betake Save thievesand caresand troubled mindsthat wake.
As one of which doth Tarquin lie revolving The sundry dangers of his will's obtaining; Yet ever to obtain his will resolving Though 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 adjunctthere's no death supposed.
Those that much covet are with gain so fond For what they have notthat which they possess They scatter and unloose it from their bond And soby hoping morethey have but less; Orgaining morethe profit of excess Is but to surfeitand such griefs sustain That they prove bankrupt in this poor-rich gain.
The aim of all is but to nurse the life With honourwealthand easein waning age; And in this aim there is such thwarting strife That one for allor all for one we gage; As life for honour in fell battle's rage; Honour for wealth; and oft that wealth doth cost The death of alland all together lost.
So that in venturing ill we leave to be The things we are for that which we expect; And this ambitious foul infirmity In having muchtorments us with defect Of that we have: so then we do neglect The thing we have; andall for want of wit Make something nothing by augmenting it.
Such hazard now must doting Tarquin make Pawning his honour to obtain his lust; And for himself himself be must forsake:
Then where is truthif there be no self-trust? When shall he think to find a stranger just When he himself himself confoundsbetrays To slanderous tongues and wretched hateful days?
Now stole upon the time the dead of night When heavy sleep had closed 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; Th' one sweetly flattersth' other feareth harm; But honest fearbewitch'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 his lustful eye; And to the flame thus speaks advisedly 'As from this cold flint I enforced this fire So Lucrece must I force to my desire.'
Here pale with fear he doth premeditate The dangers of his loathsome enterprise And in his inward mind he doth debate What following sorrow may on this arise: Then looking scornfullyhe doth despise His naked armour of still-slaughter'd lust And justly thus controls his thoughts unjust:
'Fair torchburn out thy lightand lend it not To darken her whose light excelleth thine: And dieunhallow'd thoughtsbefore you blot With your uncleanness that which is divine; Offer pure incense to so pure a shrine: Let fair humanity abhor 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 actincluding 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 vileso base That it will live engraven in my face.
'Yeathough I diethe scandal will survive And be an eye-sore in my golden coat; Some loathsome dash the herald will contrive To cipher me how fondly I did dote; That my posterityshamed with the note Shall curse my bonesand hold it for no sin To wish that I their father had not bin.
'What win Iif I gain the thing I seek? A dreama breatha 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 beggarbut to touch the crown Would with the sceptre straight be strucken down?
'If Collatinus dream of my intent Will he not wakeand in a desperate rage Post hitherthis vile purpose to prevent? This siege that hath engirt his marriage This blur to youththis sorrow to the sage This dying virtuethis surviving shame Whose crime will bear an ever-during blame?
'Owhat excuse can my invention make When thou shalt charge me with so black a deed? Will not my tongue be mutemy frail joints shake Mine eyes forego their lightmy false heart bleed? The guilt being greatthe fear doth still exceed; And extreme fear 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 friendthis desire Might have excuse to work upon his wife As in revenge or quittal of such strife: But as he is my kinsmanmy dear friend The shame and fault finds no excuse nor end.
'Shameful it is; ayif the fact be known: Hateful it is; there is no hate in loving: I'll beg her love; but she is own: The worst is but denial and reproving: My will is strongpast reason's weak removing. Who fears a sentence or an old man's saw Shall by a painted cloth be kept in awe.'
Thusgracelessholds he disputation 'Tween frozen conscience and hot-burning will And with good thoughts make dispensation Urging the worser sense for vantage still; Which in a moment doth confound and kill All pure effectsand doth so far proceed That what is vile shows like a virtuous deed.
Quoth he'She took me kindly by the hand And gazed for tidings in my eager eyes Fearing some hard news from the warlike band Where her beloved Collatinus lies. Ohow her fear did make her colour rise! First red as roses that on lawn we lay Then white as lawnthe roses took away.
'And how her handin my hand being lock'd Forced it to tremble with her loyal fear! Which struck her sadand then it faster rock'd Until her husband's welfare she did hear; Whereat she smiled with so sweet a cheer That had Narcissus seen her as she stood Self-love had never drown'd him in the flood.
'Why 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 captainand he leadeth; And when his gaudy banner is display'd The coward fights and will not be dismay'd.
'Thenchildish fearavaunt! debatingdie! Respect and reasonwait on wrinkled age! My heart shall never countermand mine eye: Sad pause and deep regard beseem the sage; My part is youthand beats these from the stage: Desire my pilot isbeauty my prize; Then who fears sinking where such treasure lies?'
As corn o'ergrown by weedsso heedful fear Is almost choked by unresisted lust. Away he steals with open listening ear Full of foul hope and full of fond mistrust; Both whichas servitors to the unjust So cross him with their opposite persuasion That now he vows a leagueand now invasion.
Within his thought her heavenly image sits And in the self-same seat sits Collatine: That eye which looks on her confounds his wits; That eye which him beholdsas 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 heartens up his servile powers Whoflatter'd by their leader's jocund show Stuff up his lustas minutes fill up hours; And as their captainso 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 enforcedretires his ward; Butas they openthey all rate his ill Which drives the creeping thief to some regard: The threshold grates the door to have him heard; Night-wandering weasels shriek to see him there; They fright himyet he still pursues his 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 Extinguishing his conduct in this case; But his hot heartwhich fond desire doth scorch Puffs forth another wind that fires the torch:
And being lightedby the light he spies Lucretia's glovewherein her needle sticks: He takes it from the rushes where it lies And griping itthe needle his finger pricks; As who should say 'This glove to wanton tricks Is not inured; return again in haste; Thou see'st our mistress' ornaments are chaste.'
But all these poor forbiddings could not stay him; He in the worst sense construes their denial:
The doorsthe windthe glovethat did delay him He takes for accidental things of trial; Or as those bars which stop the hourly dial Who with a lingering slay his course doth let Till every minute pays the hour his debt.
'Soso' quoth he'these lets attend the time Like little frosts that sometime threat the spring To add a more rejoicing to the prime And give the sneaped birds more cause to sing. Pain pays the income of each precious thing; Huge rockshigh windsstrong piratesshelves and sands The merchant fearsere rich at home he lands.'
Now is he come unto the chamber-door That shuts him from the heaven of his thought Which with a yielding latchand with no more Hath barr'd him from the blessed thing be sought. So from himself impiety hath wrought That for his prey to pray he doth begin As if the heavens should countenance his sin.
But in the midst of his unfruitful prayer Having solicited th' eternal power That his foul thoughts might compass his fair fair And they would stand auspicious to the hour Even there he starts: quoth he'I must deflower: The powers to whom I pray abhor this fact How can they then assist me in the act?
'Then Love and Fortune be my godsmy guide! My will is back'd with resolution: Thoughts are but dreams till their effects be tried; The blackest sin is clear'd with absolution; Against love's fire fear's frost hath dissolution. The eye of heaven is outand misty night Covers the shame that follows sweet delight.'
This saidhis guilty hand pluck'd up the latch And with his knee the door he opens wide. The dove sleeps fast that this night-owl will catch: Thus treason works ere traitors be espied. Who sees the lurking serpent steps aside; But shesound sleepingfearing no such thing Lies at the mercy of his mortal sting.
Into the chamber wickedly he stalks And gazeth on her yet unstained bed. The curtains being closeabout he walks Rolling his greedy eyeballs in his head: By their high treason is his heart misled; Which gives the watch-word to his hand full soon To draw the cloud that hides the silver moon.
Lookas the fair and fiery-pointed sun Rushing from forth a cloudbereaves our sight; Even sothe curtain drawnhis eyes begun To winkbeing blinded with a greater light: Whether it is that she reflects so bright That dazzleth themor else some shame supposed; But blind they areand keep themselves enclosed.
Ohad they in that darksome prison died! Then had they seen the period of their ill;
Then Collatine againby Lucrece' side In his clear bed might have reposed still: But they must opethis blessed league to kill; And holy-thoughted Lucrece to their sight Must sell her joyher lifeher world's delight.
Her lily hand her rosy cheek lies under Cozening the pillow of a lawful kiss; Whotherefore angryseems to part in sunder Swelling on either side to want his bliss; Between whose hills her head entombed is: Wherelike a virtuous monumentshe lies To be admired of lewd unhallow'd eyes.
Without the bed her other fair hand was On the green coverlet; whose perfect white Show'd like an April daisy on the grass With pearly sweatresembling dew of night. Her eyeslike marigoldshad sheathed their light And canopied in darkness sweetly lay Till they might open to adorn the day.
Her hairlike golden threadsplay'd with her breath; O modest wantons! wanton modesty! Showing life's triumph in the map of death And death's dim look in life's mortality: Each in her sleep themselves so beautify As if between them twain there were no strife But that life lived in deathand death in life.
Her breastslike ivory globes circled with blue A pair of maiden worlds unconquered Save of their lord no bearing yoke they knew And him by oath they truly honoured. These worlds in Tarquin new ambition bred; Wholike a foul ursurperwent about From this fair throne to heave the owner out.
What could he see but mightily he noted? What did he note but strongly he desired? What he beheldon that he firmly doted And in his will his wilful eye he tired. With more than admiration he admired Her azure veinsher alabaster skin Her coral lipsher snow-white dimpled chin.
As the grim lion fawneth o'er his prey Sharp hunger by the conquest satisfied So o'er this sleeping soul doth Tarquin stay His rage of lust by gazing qualified; Slack'dnot suppress'd; for standing by her side His eyewhich late this mutiny restrains Unto a greater uproar tempts his veins:
And theylike straggling slaves for pillage fighting Obdurate vassals fell exploits effecting In bloody death and ravishment delighting Nor children's tears nor mothers' groans respecting Swell in their pridethe onset still expecting: Anon his beating heartalarum striking Gives the hot charge and bids them do their liking.
His drumming heart cheers up his burning eye His eye commends the leading to his hand;
His handas proud of such a dignity Smoking with pridemarch'd on to make his stand On her bare breastthe heart of all her land; Whose ranks of blue veinsas his hand did scale Left there round turrets destitute and pale.
Theymustering to the quiet cabinet Where their dear governess and lady lies Do tell her she is dreadfully beset And fright her with confusion of their cries: Shemuch amazedbreaks ope her lock'd-up eyes Whopeeping forth this tumult to behold Are by his flaming torch dimm'd and controll'd.
Imagine her as one in dead of night From forth dull sleep by dreadful fancy waking That thinks she hath beheld some ghastly sprite Whose grim aspect sets every joint a-shaking; What terror or 'tis! but shein worser taking From sleep disturbedheedfully doth view The sight which makes supposed terror true.
Wrapp'd and confounded in a thousand fears Like to a new-kill'd bird she trembling lies; She dares not look; yetwinkingthere appears Quick-shifting anticsugly in her eyes: Such shadows are the weak brain's forgeries; Whoangry that the eyes fly from their lights In darkness daunts them with more dreadful sights.
His handthat yet remains upon her breast-Rude ramto batter such an ivory wall!-May feel her heart-poor citizen!--distress'd Wounding itself to deathrise up and fall Beating her bulkthat his hand shakes withal. This moves in him more rage and lesser pity To make the breach and enter this sweet city.
Firstlike a trumpetdoth his tongue begin To sound a parley to his heartless foe; Who o'er the white sheet peers her whiter chin The reason of this rash alarm to know Which he by dumb demeanor seeks to show; But she with vehement prayers urgeth still Under what colour he commits this ill.
Thus he replies: 'The colour in thy face That even for anger makes the lily pale And the red rose blush at her own disgrace Shall plead for me and tell my loving tale: Under that colour am I come to scale Thy never-conquer'd fort: the fault is thine For those thine eyes betray thee unto mine.
'Thus I forestall theeif thou mean to chide: Thy beauty hath ensnared thee to this night Where thou with patience must my will abide; My will that marks thee for my earth's delight Which I to conquer sought with all my might; But as reproof and reason beat it dead By thy bright beauty was it newly bred.
'I see what crosses my attempt will bring; I know what thorns the growing rose defends;
I think the honey guarded with a sting; All this beforehand counsel comprehends: But will is deaf and hears no heedful friends; Only he hath an eye to gaze on beauty And dotes on what he looks'gainst law or duty.
'I have debatedeven in my soul What wrongwhat shamewhat sorrow I shall breed; But nothing can affection's course control Or stop the headlong fury of his speed. I know repentant tears ensue the deed Reproachdisdainand deadly enmity; Yet strive I to embrace mine infamy.'
This saidhe shakes aloft his Roman blade Whichlike a falcon towering in the skies Coucheth the fowl below with his wings' shade Whose crooked beak threats if he mount he dies: So under his insulting falchion lies Harmless Lucretiamarking what he tells With trembling fearas fowl hear falcon's bells.
'Lucrece' quoth he'this night I must enjoy thee: If thou denythen force must work my way For in thy bed I purpose to destroy thee: That donesome worthless slave of thine I'll slay To kill thine honour with thy life's decay; And in thy dead arms do I mean to place him Swearing I slew himseeing thee embrace him.
'So thy surviving husband shall remain The scornful mark of every open eye; Thy kinsmen hang their heads at this disdain Thy issue blurr'd with nameless bastardy: And thouthe author of their obloquy Shalt have thy trespass cited up in rhymes And sung by children in succeeding times.
'But if thou yieldI rest thy secret friend: The fault unknown is as a thought unacted; A little harm done to a great good end For lawful policy remains enacted. The poisonous simple sometimes is compacted In a pure compound; being so applied His venom in effect is purified.
'Thenfor thy husband and thy children's sake Tender my suit: bequeath not to their lot The shame that from them no device can take The blemish that will never be forgot; Worse than a slavish wipe or birth-hour's blot: For marks descried in men's nativity Are nature's faultsnot their own infamy.'
Here with a cockatrice' dead-killing eye He rouseth up himself and makes a pause; While shethe picture of pure piety Like a white hind under the gripe's sharp claws Pleadsin a wilderness where are no laws To the rough beast that knows no gentle right Nor aught obeys but his foul appetite.
But when a black-faced cloud the world doth threat In his dim mist the aspiring mountains hiding
From earth's dark womb some gentle gust doth get Which blows these pitchy vapours from their bidding Hindering their present fall by this dividing; So his unhallow'd haste her words delays And moody Pluto winks while Orpheus plays.
Yetfoul night-waking cathe doth but dally While in his hold-fast foot the weak mouse panteth: Her sad behavior feeds his vulture folly A swallowing gulf that even in plenty wanteth: His ear her prayers admitsbut his heart granteth No penetrable entrance to her plaining: Tears harden lustthough marble wear with raining.
Her pity-pleading eyes are sadly fix'd In the remorseless wrinkles of his face; Her modest eloquence with sighs is mix'd Which to her oratory adds more grace. She puts the period often from his place; And midst the sentence so her accent breaks That twice she doth begin ere once she speaks.
She conjures him by high almighty Jove By knighthoodgentryand sweet friendship's oath By her untimely tearsher husband's love By holy human lawand common troth By heaven and earthand all the power of both That to his borrow'd bed he make retire And stoop to honournot to foul desire.
Quoth she'Reward not hospitality With such black payment as thou hast pretended; Mud not the fountain that gave drink to thee; Mar not the thing that cannot be amended; End thy ill aim before thy shoot be ended; He is no woodman that doth bend his bow To strike a poor unseasonable doe.
'My husband is thy friend; for his sake spare me: Thyself art mighty; for thine own sake leave me: Myself a weakling; do not then ensnare me: Thou look'st not like deceit; do not deceive me. My sighslike whirlwindslabour hence to heave thee: If ever man were moved with woman moans Be moved with my tearsmy sighsmy groans:
'All which togetherlike a troubled ocean Beat at thy rocky and wreck-threatening heart To soften it with their continual motion; For stones dissolved to water do convert. Oif no harder than a stone thou art Melt at my tearsand be compassionate! Soft pity enters at an iron gate.
'In Tarquin's likeness I did entertain thee: Hast thou put on his shape to do him shame? To all the host of heaven I complain me Thou wrong'st his honourwound'st his princely name. Thou art not what thou seem'st; and if the same Thou seem'st not what thou arta goda king; For kings like gods should govern everything.
'How will thy shame be seeded in thine age When thus thy vices bud before thy spring!
If in thy hope thou darest do such outrage What darest thou not when once thou art a king? Obe remember'dno outrageous thing From vassal actors can be wiped away; Then kings' misdeeds cannot be hid in clay.
'This deed will make thee only loved for fear; But happy monarchs still are fear'd for love: With foul offenders thou perforce must bear When they in thee the like offences prove: If but for fear of thisthy will remove; For princes are the glassthe schoolthe book Where subjects' eyes do learndo readdo look.
'And wilt thou be the school where Lust shall learn? Must he in thee read lectures of such shame? Wilt thou be glass wherein it shall discern Authority for sinwarrant for blame To privilege dishonour in thy name? Thou black'st reproach against long-living laud And makest fair reputation but a bawd.
'Hast thou command? by him that gave it thee From a pure heart command thy rebel will: Draw not thy sword to guard iniquity For it was lent thee all that brood to kill. Thy princely office how canst thou fulfil Whenpattern'd by thy faultfoul sin may say He learn'd to sinand thou didst teach the way?
'Think but how vile a spectacle it were To view thy present trespass in another. Men's faults do seldom to themselves appear; Their own transgressions partially they smother: This guilt would seem death-worthy in thy brother. Ohow are they wrapp'd in with infamies That from their own misdeeds askance their eyes!
'To theeto theemy heaved-up hands appeal Not to seducing lustthy rash relier: I sue for exiled majesty's repeal; Let him returnand flattering thoughts retire: His true respect will prison false desire And wipe the dim mist from thy doting eyne That thou shalt see thy state and pity mine.'
'Have done' quoth he: 'my uncontrolled tide Turns notbut swells the higher by this let. Small lights are soon blown outhuge fires abide And with the wind in greater fury fret: The petty streams that pay a daily debt To their salt sovereignwith their fresh falls' haste Add to his flowbut alter not his taste.'
'Thou art' quoth she'a seaa sovereign king; Andlothere falls into thy boundless flood Black lustdishonourshamemisgoverning Who seek to stain the ocean of thy blood. If all these pretty ills shall change thy good Thy sea within a puddle's womb is hearsed And not the puddle in thy sea dispersed.
'So shall these slaves be kingand thou their slave; Thou nobly basethey basely dignified;
Thou their fair lifeand they thy fouler grave: Thou loathed in their shamethey in thy pride: The lesser thing should not the greater hide; The cedar stoops not to the base shrub's foot But low shrubs wither at the cedar's root.
'So let thy thoughtslow vassals to thy state'-No more' quoth he; 'by heavenI will not hear thee: Yield to my love; if notenforced hate Instead of love's coy touchshall rudely tear thee; That donedespitefully I mean to bear thee Unto the base bed of some rascal groom To be thy partner in this shameful doom.'
This saidhe sets his foot upon the light For light and lust are deadly enemies: Shame folded up in blind concealing night When most unseenthen most doth tyrannize. The wolf hath seized his preythe poor lamb cries; Till with her own white fleece her voice controll'd Entombs her outcry in her lips' sweet fold:
For with the nightly linen that she wears He pens her piteous clamours in her head; Cooling his hot face in the chastest tears That ever modest eyes with sorrow shed. Othat prone lust should stain so pure a bed! The spots whereof could weeping purify Her tears should drop on them perpetually.
But she hath lost a dearer thing than life And he hath won what he would lose again: This forced league doth force a further strife; This momentary joy breeds months of pain; This hot desire converts to cold disdain: Pure Chastity is rifled of her store And Lustthe thieffar poorer than before.
Lookas the full-fed hound or gorged hawk Unapt for tender smell or speedy flight Make slow pursuitor altogether balk The prey wherein by nature they delight; So surfeit-taking Tarquin fares this night: His taste deliciousin digestion souring Devours his willthat lived by foul devouring.
Odeeper sin than bottomless conceit Can comprehend in still imagination! Drunken Desire must vomit his receipt Ere he can see his own abomination. While Lust is in his prideno exclamation Can curb his heat or rein his rash desire Till like a jade Self-will himself doth tire.
And then with lank and lean discolour'd cheek With heavy eyeknit browand strengthless pace Feeble Desireall recreantpoorand meek Like to a bankrupt beggar wails his case: The flesh being proudDesire doth fight with Grace For there it revels; and when that decays The guilty rebel for remission prays.
So fares it with this faultful lord of Rome Who this accomplishment so hotly chased;
For now against himself he sounds this doom That through the length of times he stands disgraced: Besideshis soul's fair temple is defaced; To whose weak ruins muster troops of cares To ask the spotted princess how she fares.
She saysher subjects with foul insurrection Have batter'd down her consecrated wall And by their mortal fault brought in subjection Her immortalityand made her thrall To living death and pain perpetual: Which in her prescience she controlled still But her foresight could not forestall their will.
Even in this thought through the dark night he stealeth A captive victor that hath lost in gain; Bearing away the wound that nothing healeth The scar that willdespite of cureremain; Leaving his spoil perplex'd in greater pain. She bears the load of lust he left behind And he the burden of a guilty mind.
He like a thievish dog creeps sadly thence; She like a wearied lamb lies panting there; He scowls and hates himself for his offence; Shedesperatewith her nails her flesh doth tear; He faintly fliessneaking with guilty fear; She staysexclaiming on the direful night; He runsand chides his vanish'dloathed delight.
He thence departs a heavy convertite; She there remains a hopeless castaway; He in his speed looks for the morning light; She prays she never may behold the day 'For day' quoth she'nights scapes doth open lay And my true eyes have never practised how To cloak offences with a cunning brow.
'They think not but that every eye can see The same disgrace which they themselves behold; And therefore would they still in darkness be To have their unseen sin remain untold; For they their guilt with weeping will unfold And gravelike water that doth eat in steel Upon my cheeks what helpless shame I feel.'
Here she exclaims against repose and rest And bids her eyes hereafter still be blind. She wakes her heart by beating on her breast And bids it leap from thencewhere it may find Some purer chest to close so pure a mind. Frantic with grief thus breathes she forth her spite Against the unseen secrecy of night:
'O comfort-killing Nightimage of hell! Dim register and notary of shame! Black stage for tragedies and murders fell! Vast sin-concealing chaos! nurse of blame! Blind muffled bawd! dark harbour for defame! Grim cave of death! whispering conspirator With close-tongued treason and the ravisher!
'O hatefulvaporousand foggy Night! Since thou art guilty of my cureless crime
Muster thy mists to meet the eastern light Make war against proportion'd course of time; Or if thou wilt permit the sun to climb His wonted heightyet ere he go to bed Knit poisonous clouds about his golden head.
'With rotten damps ravish the morning air; Let their exhaled unwholesome breaths make sick The life of puritythe supreme fair Ere he arrive his weary noon-tide prick; And let thy misty vapours march so thick That in their smoky ranks his smother'd light May set at noon and make perpetual night.
'Were Tarquin Nightas he is but Night's child The silver-shining queen he would distain; Her twinkling handmaids tooby him defiled Through Night's black bosom should not peep again: So should I have co-partners in my pain; And fellowship in woe doth woe assuage As palmers' chat makes short their pilgrimage.
'Where now I have no one to blush with me To cross their arms and hang their heads with mine To mask their brows and hide their infamy; But I alone alone must sit and pine Seasoning the earth with showers of silver brine Mingling my talk with tearsmy grief with groans Poor wasting monuments of lasting moans.
'O Nightthou furnace of foul-reeking smoke Let not the jealous Day behold that face Which underneath thy black all-hiding cloak Immodestly lies martyr'd with disgrace! Keep still possession of thy gloomy place That all the faults which in thy reign are made May likewise be sepulchred in thy shade!
'Make me not object to the tell-tale Day! The light will showcharacter'd in my brow The story of sweet chastity's decay The impious breach of holy wedlock vow: Yea the illiteratethat know not how To cipher what is writ in learned books Will quote my loathsome trespass in my looks.
'The nurseto still her childwill tell my story And fright her crying babe with Tarquin's name; The oratorto deck his oratory Will couple my reproach to Tarquin's shame; Feast-finding minstrelstuning my defame Will tie the hearers to attend each line How Tarquin wronged meI Collatine.
'Let my good namethat senseless reputation For Collatine's dear love be kept unspotted: If that be made a theme for disputation The branches of another root are rotted And undeserved reproach to him allotted That is as clear from this attaint of mine As Iere thiswas pure to Collatine.
'O unseen shame! invisible disgrace! O unfelt sore! crest-woundingprivate scar!
Reproach is stamp'd in Collatinus' face And Tarquin's eye may read the mot afar How he in peace is woundednot in war. Alashow many bear such shameful blows Which not themselvesbut he that gives them knows!
'IfCollatinethine honour lay in me From me by strong assault it is bereft. My honour lostand Ia drone-like bee Have no perfection of my summer left But robb'd and ransack'd by injurious theft: In thy weak hive a wandering wasp hath crept And suck'd the honey which thy chaste bee kept.
'Yet am I guilty of thy honour's wrack; Yet for thy honour did I entertain him; Coming from theeI could not put him back For it had been dishonour to disdain him: Besidesof weariness he did complain him And talk'd of virtue: O unlook'd-for evil When virtue is profaned in such a devil!
'Why should the worm intrude the maiden bud? Or hateful cuckoos hatch in sparrows' nests? Or toads infect fair founts with venom mud? Or tyrant folly lurk in gentle breasts? Or kings be breakers of their own behests? But no perfection is so absolute That some impurity doth not pollute.
'The aged man that coffers-up his gold Is plagued with cramps and gouts and painful fits; And scarce hath eyes his treasure to behold But like still-pining Tantalus he sits And useless barns the harvest of his wits; Having no other pleasure of his gain But torment that it cannot cure his pain.
'So then he hath it when he cannot use it And leaves it to be master'd by his young; Who in their pride do presently abuse it: Their father was too weakand they too strong To hold their cursed-blessed fortune long. The sweets we wish for turn to loathed sours Even in the moment that we call them ours.
'Unruly blasts wait on the tender spring; Unwholesome weeds take root with precious flowers; The adder hisses where the sweet birds sing; What virtue breeds iniquity devours: We have no good that we can say is ours But ill-annexed Opportunity Or kills his life or else his quality.
'O Opportunitythy guilt is great! 'Tis thou that executest the traitor's treason: Thou set'st the wolf where he the lamb may get; Whoever plots the sinthou 'point'st the season; 'Tis thou that spurn'st at rightat lawat reason; And in thy shady cellwhere none may spy him Sits Sinto seize the souls that wander by him.
'Thou makest the vestal violate her oath; Thou blow'st the fire when temperance is thaw'd;
Thou smother'st honestythou murder'st troth; Thou foul abettor! thou notorious bawd! Thou plantest scandal and displacest laud: Thou ravisherthou traitorthou false thief Thy honey turns to gallthy joy to grief!
'Thy secret pleasure turns to open shame Thy private feasting to a public fast Thy smoothing titles to a ragged name Thy sugar'd tongue to bitter wormwood taste: Thy violent vanities can never last. How comes it thenvile Opportunity Being so badsuch numbers seek for thee?
'When wilt thou be the humble suppliant's friend And bring him where his suit may be obtain'd? When wilt thou sort an hour great strifes to end? Or free that soul which wretchedness hath chain'd? Give physic to the sickease to the pain'd? The poorlameblindhaltcreepcry out for thee; But they ne'er meet with Opportunity.
'The patient dies while the physician sleeps; The orphan pines while the oppressor feeds; Justice is feasting while the widow weeps; Advice is sporting while infection breeds: Thou grant'st no time for charitable deeds: Wrathenvytreasonrapeand murder's rages Thy heinous hours wait on them as their pages.
'When Truth and Virtue have to do with thee A thousand crosses keep them from thy aid: They buy thy help; but Sin ne'er gives a fee He gratis comes; and thou art well appaid As well to hear as grant what he hath said. My Collatine would else have come to me When Tarquin didbut he was stay'd by thee.
Guilty thou art of murder and of theft Guilty of perjury and subornation Guilty of treasonforgeryand shift Guilty of incestthat abomination; An accessary by thine inclination To all sins pastand all that are to come From the creation to the general doom.
'Mis-shapen Timecopesmate of ugly Night Swift subtle postcarrier of grisly care Eater of youthfalse slave to false delight Base watch of woessin's pack-horsevirtue's snare; Thou nursest all and murder'st all that are: Ohear me theninjuriousshifting Time! Be guilty of my deathsince of my crime.
'Why hath thy servantOpportunity Betray'd the hours thou gavest me to repose Cancell'd my fortunesand enchained me To endless date of never-ending woes? Time's office is to fine the hate of foes; To eat up errors by opinion bred Not spend the dowry of a lawful bed.
'Time's glory is to calm contending kings To unmask falsehood and bring truth to light
To stamp the seal of time in aged things To wake the morn and sentinel the night To wrong the wronger till he render right To ruinate proud buildings with thy hours And smear with dust their glittering golden towers;
'To fill with worm-holes stately monuments To feed oblivion with decay of things To blot old books and alter their contents To pluck the quills from ancient ravens' wings To dry the old oak's sap and cherish springs To spoil antiquities of hammer'd steel And turn the giddy round of Fortune's wheel;
'To show the beldam daughters of her daughter To make the child a manthe man a child To slay the tiger that doth live by slaughter To tame the unicorn and lion wild To mock the subtle in themselves beguiled To cheer the ploughman with increaseful crops And waste huge stones with little water drops.
'Why work'st thou mischief in thy pilgrimage Unless thou couldst return to make amends? One poor retiring minute in an age Would purchase thee a thousand thousand friends Lending him wit that to bad debtors lends: Othis dread nightwouldst thou one hour come back I could prevent this storm and shun thy wrack!
'Thou ceaseless lackey to eternity With some mischance cross Tarquin in his flight: Devise extremes beyond extremity To make him curse this cursed crimeful night: Let ghastly shadows his lewd eyes affright; And the dire thought of his committed evil Shape every bush a hideous shapeless devil.
'Disturb his hours of rest with restless trances Afflict him in his bed with bedrid groans; Let there bechance him pitiful mischances To make him moan; but pity not his moans: Stone him with harden'd hearts harder than stones; And let mild women to him lose their mildness Wilder to him than tigers in their wildness.
'Let him have time to tear his curled hair Let him have time against himself to rave Let him have time of Time's help to despair Let him have time to live a loathed slave Let him have time a beggar's orts to crave And time to see one that by alms doth live Disdain to him disdained scraps to give.
'Let him have time to see his friends his foes And merry fools to mock at him resort; Let him have time to mark how slow time goes In time of sorrowand how swift and short His time of folly and his time of sport; And ever let his unrecalling crime Have time to wail th' abusing of his time.
'O Timethou tutor both to good and bad Teach me to curse him that thou taught'st this ill!
At his own shadow let the thief run mad Himself himself seek every hour to kill! Such wretched hands such wretched blood should spill; For who so base would such an office have As slanderous death's-man to so base a slave?
'The baser is hecoming from a king To shame his hope with deeds degenerate: The mightier manthe mightier is the thing That makes him honour'dor begets him hate; For greatest scandal waits on greatest state. The moon being clouded presently is miss'd But little stars may hide them when they list.
'The crow may bathe his coal-black wings in mire And unperceived fly with the filth away; But if the like the snow-white swan desire The stain upon his silver down will stay. Poor grooms are sightless nightkings glorious day: Gnats are unnoted wheresoe'er they fly But eagles gazed upon with every eye.
'Outidle wordsservants to shallow fools! Unprofitable soundsweak arbitrators! Busy yourselves in skill-contending schools; Debate where leisure serves with dull debaters; To trembling clients be you mediators: For meI force not argument a straw Since that my case is past the help of law.
'In vain I rail at Opportunity At Timeat Tarquinand uncheerful Night; In vain I cavil with mine infamy In vain I spurn at my confirm'd despite: This helpless smoke of words doth me no right. The remedy indeed to do me good Is to let forth my foul-defiled blood.
'Poor handwhy quiver'st thou at this decree? Honour thyself to rid me of this shame: For if I diemy honour lives in thee; But if I livethou livest in my defame: Since thou couldst not defend thy loyal dame And wast afeard to scratch her wicked foe Kill both thyself and her for yielding so.'
This saidfrom her be-tumbled couch she starteth To find some desperate instrument of death: But this no slaughterhouse no tool imparteth To make more vent for passage of her breath; Whichthronging through her lipsso vanisheth As smoke from AEtnathat in air consumes Or that which from discharged cannon fumes.
'In vain' quoth she'I liveand seek in vain Some happy mean to end a hapless life. I fear'd by Tarquin's falchion to be slain Yet for the self-same purpose seek a knife: But when I fear'd I was a loyal wife: So am I now: O nothat cannot be; Of that true type hath Tarquin rifled me.
'Othat is gone for which I sought to live And therefore now I need not fear to die.
To clear this spot by deathat least I give A badge of fame to slander's livery; A dying life to living infamy: Poor helpless helpthe treasure stol'n away To burn the guiltless casket where it lay!
'Wellwelldear Collatinethou shalt not know The stained taste of violated troth; I will not wrong thy true affection so To flatter thee with an infringed oath; This bastard graff shall never come to growth: He shall not boast who did thy stock pollute That thou art doting father of his fruit.
'Nor shall he smile at thee in secret thought Nor laugh with his companions at thy state: But thou shalt know thy interest was not bought Basely with goldbut stol'n from forth thy gate. For meI am the mistress of my fate And with my trespass never will dispense Till life to death acquit my forced offence.
'I will not poison thee with my attaint Nor fold my fault in cleanly-coin'd excuses; My sable ground of sin I will not paint To hide the truth of this false night's abuses: My tongue shall utter all; mine eyeslike sluices As from a mountain-spring that feeds a dale Shall gush pure streams to purge my impure tale.'
By thislamenting Philomel had ended The well-tuned warble of her nightly sorrow And solemn night with slow sad gait descended To ugly hell; whenlothe blushing morrow Lends light to all fair eyes that light will borrow: But cloudy Lucrece shames herself to see And therefore still in night would cloister'd be.
Revealing day through every cranny spies And seems to point her out where she sits weeping; To whom she sobbing speaks: 'O eye of eyes Why pry'st thou through my window? leave thy peeping: Mock with thy tickling beams eyes that are sleeping: Brand not my forehead with thy piercing light For day hath nought to do what's done by night.'
Thus cavils she with every thing she sees: True grief is fond and testy as a child Who wayward oncehis mood with nought agrees: Old woesnot infant sorrowsbear them mild; Continuance tames the one; the other wild Like an unpractised swimmer plunging still With too much labour drowns for want of skill.
So shedeep-drenched in a sea of care Holds disputation with each thing she views And to herself all sorrow doth compare; No object but her passion's strength renews; And as one shiftsanother straight ensues: Sometime her grief is dumb and hath no words; Sometime 'tis mad and too much talk affords.
The little birds that tune their morning's joy Make her moans mad with their sweet melody:
For mirth doth search the bottom of annoy; Sad souls are slain in merry company; Grief best is pleased with grief's society: True sorrow then is feelingly sufficed When with like semblance it is sympathized.
'Tis double death to drown in ken of shore; He ten times pines that pines beholding food; To see the salve doth make the wound ache more; Great grief grieves most at that would do it good; Deep woes roll forward like a gentle flood Who being stopp'dthe bounding banks o'erflows; Grief dallied with nor law nor limit knows.
'You mocking-birds' quoth she'your tunes entomb Within your hollow-swelling feather'd breasts And in my hearing be you mute and dumb: My restless discord loves no stops nor rests; A woeful hostess brooks not merry guests: Relish your nimble notes to pleasing ears; Distress likes dumps when time is kept with tears.
'ComePhilomelthat sing'st of ravishment Make thy sad grove in my dishevell'd hair: As the dank earth weeps at thy languishment So I at each sad strain will strain a tear And with deep groans the diapason bear; For burden-wise I'll hum on Tarquin still While thou on Tereus descant'st better skill.
'And whiles against a thorn thou bear'st thy part To keep thy sharp woes wakingwretched I To imitate thee wellagainst my heart Will fix a sharp knife to affright mine eye; Whoif it winkshall thereon fall and die. These meansas frets upon an instrument Shall tune our heart-strings to true languishment.
'And forpoor birdthou sing'st not in the day As shaming any eye should thee behold Some dark deep desertseated from the way That knows not parching heat nor freezing cold Will we find out; and there we will unfold To creatures stern sad tunesto change their kinds: Since men prove beastslet beasts bear gentle minds.'
As the poor frighted deerthat stands at gaze Wildly determining which way to fly Or one encompass'd with a winding maze That cannot tread the way out readily; So with herself is she in mutiny To live or die which of the twain were better When life is shamedand death reproach's debtor.
'To kill myself' quoth she'alackwhat were it But with my body my poor soul's pollution? They that lose half with greater patience bear it Than they whose whole is swallow'd in confusion. That mother tries a merciless conclusion Whohaving two sweet babeswhen death takes one Will slay the other and be nurse to none.
'My body or my soulwhich was the dearer When the one purethe other made divine?
Whose love of either to myself was nearer When both were kept for heaven and Collatine? Ay me! the bark peel'd from the lofty pine His leaves will wither and his sap decay; So must my soulher bark being peel'd away.
'Her house is sack'dher quiet interrupted Her mansion batter'd by the enemy; Her sacred temple spottedspoil'dcorrupted Grossly engirt with daring infamy: Then let it not be call'd impiety If in this blemish'd fort I make some hole Through which I may convey this troubled soul.
'Yet die I will not till my Collatine Have heard the cause of my untimely death; That he may vowin that sad hour of mine Revenge on him that made me stop my breath. My stained blood to Tarquin I'll bequeath Which by him tainted shall for him be spent And as his due writ in my testament.
'My honour I'll bequeath unto the knife That wounds my body so dishonoured. 'Tis honour to deprive dishonour'd life; The one will livethe other being dead: So of shame's ashes shall my fame be bred; For in my death I murder shameful scorn: My shame so deadmine honour is new-born.
'Dear lord of that dear jewel I have lost What legacy shall I bequeath to thee? My resolutionloveshall be thy boast By whose example thou revenged mayest be. How Tarquin must be usedread it in me: Myselfthy friendwill kill myselfthy foe And for my sake serve thou false Tarquin so.
'This brief abridgement of my will I make: My soul and body to the skies and ground; My resolutionhusbanddo thou take; Mine honour be the knife's that makes my wound; My shame be his that did my fame confound; And all my fame that lives disbursed be To those that liveand think no shame of me.
'ThouCollatineshalt oversee this will; How was I overseen that thou shalt see it! My blood shall wash the slander of mine ill; My life's foul deedmy life's fair end shall free it. Faint notfaint heartbut stoutly say 'So be it:' Yield to my hand; my hand shall conquer thee: Thou deadboth dieand both shall victors be.'
This Plot of death when sadly she had laid And wiped the brinish pearl from her bright eyes With untuned tongue she hoarsely calls her maid Whose swift obedience to her mistress hies; For fleet-wing'd duty with thought's feathers flies. Poor Lucrece' cheeks unto her maid seem so As winter meads when sun doth melt their snow.
Her mistress she doth give demure good-morrow With soft-slow tonguetrue mark of modesty
And sorts a sad look to her lady's sorrow For why her face wore sorrow's livery; But durst not ask of her audaciously Why her two suns were cloud-eclipsed so Nor why her fair cheeks over-wash'd with woe.
But as the earth doth weepthe sun being set Each flower moisten'd like a melting eye; Even so the maid with swelling drops gan wet Her circled eyneenforced by sympathy Of those fair suns set in her mistress' sky Who in a salt-waved ocean quench their light Which makes the maid weep like the dewy night.
A pretty while these pretty creatures stand Like ivory conduits coral cisterns filling: One justly weeps; the other takes in hand No causebut companyof her drops spilling: Their gentle sex to weep are often willing; Grieving themselves to guess at others' smarts And then they drown their eyes or break their hearts.
For men have marblewomen waxenminds And therefore are they form'd as marble will; The weak oppress'dthe impression of strange kinds Is form'd in them by forceby fraudor skill: Then call them not the authors of their ill No more than wax shall be accounted evil Wherein is stamp'd the semblance of a devil.
Their smoothnesslike a goodly champaign plain Lays open all the little worms that creep; In menas in a rough-grown groveremain Cave-keeping evils that obscurely sleep: Through crystal walls each little mote will peep: Though men can cover crimes with bold stern looks Poor women's faces are their own fault's books.
No man inveigh against the wither'd flower But chide rough winter that the flower hath kill'd: Not that devour'dbut that which doth devour Is worthy blame. Olet it not be hild Poor women's faultsthat they are so fulfill'd With men's abuses: those proud lordsto blame Make weak-made women tenants to their shame.
The precedent whereof in Lucrece view Assail'd by night with circumstances strong Of present deathand shame that might ensue By that her deathto do her husband wrong: Such danger to resistance did belong That dying fear through all her body spread; And who cannot abuse a body dead?
By thismild patience bid fair Lucrece speak To the poor counterfeit of her complaining: 'My girl' quoth she'on what occasion break Those tears from theethat down thy cheeks are raining? If thou dost weep for grief of my sustaining Knowgentle wenchit small avails my mood: If tears could helpmine own would do me good.
'But tell megirlwhen went'--and there she stay'd
Till after a deep groan--'Tarquin from hence?' 'Madamere I was up' replied the maid 'The more to blame my sluggard negligence: Yet with the fault I thus far can dispense; Myself was stirring ere the break of day Andere I rosewas Tarquin gone away.
'Butladyif your maid may be so bold She would request to know your heaviness.' 'Opeace!' quoth Lucrece: 'if it should be told The repetition cannot make it less; For more it is than I can well express: And that deep torture may be call'd a hell When more is felt than one hath power to tell.
'Goget me hither paperinkand pen: Yet save that labourfor I have them here. What should I say? One of my husband's men Bid thou be readyby and byto bear A letter to my lordmy lovemy dear; Bid him with speed prepare to carry it; The cause craves hasteand it will soon be writ.'
Her maid is goneand she prepares to write First hovering o'er the paper with her quill: Conceit and grief an eager combat fight; What wit sets down is blotted straight with will; This is too curious-goodthis blunt and ill: Much like a press of people at a door Throng her inventionswhich shall go before.
At last she thus begins: 'Thou worthy lord Of that unworthy wife that greeteth thee Health to thy person! next vouchsafe t' afford-If everlovethy Lucrece thou wilt see-Some present speed to come and visit me. SoI commend me from our house in grief: My woes are tediousthough my words are brief.'
Here folds she up the tenor of her woe Her certain sorrow writ uncertainly. By this short schedule Collatine may know Her griefbut not her grief's true quality: She dares not thereof make discovery Lest he should hold it her own gross abuse Ere she with blood had stain'd her stain'd excuse.
Besidesthe life and feeling of her passion She hoardsto spend when he is by to hear her: When sighs and groans and tears may grace the fashion Of her disgracethe better so to clear her From that suspicion which the world might bear her. To shun this blotshe would not blot the letter With wordstill action might become them better.
To see sad sights moves more than hear them told; For then eye interprets to the ear The heavy motion that it doth behold When every part a part of woe doth bear. 'Tis but a part of sorrow that we hear: Deep sounds make lesser noise than shallow fords And sorrow ebbsbeing blown with wind of words.
Her letter now is seal'dand on it writ
'At Ardea to my lord with more than haste.' The post attendsand she delivers it Charging the sour-faced groom to hie as fast As lagging fowls before the northern blast: Speed more than speed but dull and slow she deems: Extremity still urgeth such extremes.
The homely villain court'sies to her low; Andblushing on herwith a steadfast eye Receives the scroll without or yea or no And forth with bashful innocence doth hie. But they whose guilt within their bosoms lie Imagine every eye beholds their blame; For Lucrece thought he blush'd to her see shame:
Whensilly groom! God wotit was defect Of spiritLifeand bold audacity. Such harmless creatures have a true respect To talk in deedswhile others saucily Promise more speedbut do it leisurely: Even so this pattern of the worn-out age Pawn'd honest looksbut laid no words to gage.
His kindled duty kindled her mistrust That two red fires in both their faces blazed; She thought he blush'das knowing Tarquin's lust Andblushing with himwistly on him gazed; Her earnest eye did make him more amazed: The more she saw the blood his cheeks replenish The more she thought he spied in her some blemish.
But long she thinks till he return again And yet the duteous vassal scarce is gone. The weary time she cannot entertain For now 'tis stale to sighto weepand groan: So woe hath wearied woemoan tired moan That she her plaints a little while doth stay Pausing for means to mourn some newer way.
At last she calls to mind where hangs a piece Of skilful paintingmade for Priam's Troy: Before the which is drawn the power of Greece. For Helen's rape the city to destroy Threatening cloud-kissing Ilion with annoy; Which the conceited painter drew so proud As heavenit seem'dto kiss the turrets bow'd.
A thousand lamentable objects there In scorn of natureart gave lifeless life: Many a dry drop seem'd a weeping tear Shed for the slaughter'd husband by the wife: The red blood reek'dto show the painter's strife; And dying eyes gleam'd forth their ashy lights Like dying coals burnt out in tedious nights.
There might you see the labouring pioner Begrimed with sweatand smeared all with dust; And from the towers of Troy there would appear The very eyes of men through loop-holes thrust Gazing upon the Greeks with little lust: Such sweet observance in this work was had That one might see those far-off eyes look sad.
In great commanders grace and majesty
You might beholdtriumphing in their faces; In youthquick bearing and dexterity; Pale cowardsmarching on with trembling paces; Which heartless peasants did so well resemble That one would swear he saw them quake and tremble.
In Ajax and UlyssesOwhat art Of physiognomy might one behold! The face of either cipher'd either's heart; Their face their manners most expressly told: In Ajax' eyes blunt rage and rigor roll'd; But the mild glance that sly Ulysses lent Show'd deep regard and smiling government.
There pleading might you see grave Nestor stand As 'twere encouraging the Greeks to fight; Making such sober action with his hand That it beguiled attentioncharm'd the sight: In speechit seem'dhis beardall silver white Wagg'd up and downand from his lips did fly Thin winding breathwhich purl'd up to the sky.
About him were a press of gaping faces Which seem'd to swallow up his sound advice; All jointly listeningbut with several graces As if some mermaid did their ears entice Some highsome lowthe painter was so nice; The scalps of manyalmost hid behind To jump up higher seem'dto mock the mind.
Here one man's hand lean'd on another's head His nose being shadow'd by his neighbour's ear; Here one being throng'd bears backall boll'n and red; Another smother'd seems to pelt and swear; And in their rage such signs of rage they bear Asbut for loss of Nestor's golden words It seem'd they would debate with angry swords.
For much imaginary work was there; Conceit deceitfulso compactso kind That for Achilles' image stood his spear Griped in an armed hand; himselfbehind Was left unseensave to the eye of mind: A handa foota facea lega head Stood for the whole to be imagined.
And from the walls of strong-besieged Troy When their brave hopebold Hectormarch'd to field Stood many Trojan motherssharing joy To see their youthful sons bright weapons wield; And to their hope they such odd action yield That through their light joy seemed to appear Like bright things stain'da kind of heavy fear.
And from the strand of Dardanwhere they fought To Simois' reedy banks the red blood ran Whose waves to imitate the battle sought With swelling ridges; and their ranks began To break upon the galled shoreand than Retire againtillmeeting greater ranks They join and shoot their foam at Simois' banks.
To this well-painted piece is Lucrece come To find a face where all distress is stell'd. Many she sees where cares have carved some But none where all distress and dolour dwell'd Till she despairing Hecuba beheld Staring on Priam's wounds with her old eyes Which bleeding under Pyrrhus' proud foot lies.
In her the painter had anatomized Time's ruinbeauty's wreckand grim care's reign: Her cheeks with chaps and wrinkles were disguised; Of what she was no semblance did remain: Her blue blood changed to black in every vein Wanting the spring that those shrunk pipes had fed Show'd life imprison'd in a body dead.
On this sad shadow Lucrece spends her eyes And shapes her sorrow to the beldam's woes Who nothing wants to answer her but cries And bitter words to ban her cruel foes: The painter was no god to lend her those; And therefore Lucrece swears he did her wrong To give her so much grief and not a tongue.
'Poor instrument' quoth she'without a sound I'll tune thy woes with my lamenting tongue; And drop sweet balm in Priam's painted wound And rail on Pyrrhus that hath done him wrong; And with my tears quench Troy that burns so long; And with my knife scratch out the angry eyes Of all the Greeks that are thine enemies.
'Show me the strumpet that began this stir That with my nails her beauty I may tear. Thy heat of lustfond Parisdid incur This load of wrath that burning Troy doth bear: Thy eye kindled the fire that burneth here; And here in Troyfor trespass of thine eye The sirethe sonthe dameand daughter die.
'Why should the private pleasure of some one Become the public plague of many moe? Let sinalone committedlight alone Upon his head that hath transgressed so; Let guiltless souls be freed from guilty woe: For one's offence why should so many fall To plague a private sin in general?
'Lohere weeps Hecubahere Priam dies Here manly Hector faintshere Troilus swounds Here friend by friend in bloody channel lies And friend to friend gives unadvised wounds And one man's lust these many lives confounds: Had doting Priam cheque'd his son's desire Troy had been bright with fame and not with fire.'
Here feelingly she weeps Troy's painted woes: For sorrowlike a heavy-hanging bell Once set on ringingwith his own weight goes; Then little strength rings out the doleful knell: So Lucreceset a-worksad tales doth tell To pencill'd pensiveness and colour'd sorrow; She lends them wordsand she their looks doth borrow.
She throws her eyes about the painting round And whom she finds forlorn she doth lament. At last she sees a wretched image bound That piteous looks to Phrygian shepherds lent: His facethough full of caresyet show'd content; Onward to Troy with the blunt swains he goes So mildthat Patience seem'd to scorn his woes.
In him the painter labour'd with his skill To hide deceitand give the harmless show An humble gaitcalm lookseyes wailing still A brow unbentthat seem'd to welcome woe; Cheeks neither red nor palebut mingled so That blushing red no guilty instance gave Nor ashy pale the fear that false hearts have.
Butlike a constant and confirmed devil He entertain'd a show so seeming just And therein so ensconced his secret evil That jealousy itself could not mistrust False-creeping craft and perjury should thrust Into so bright a day such black-faced storms Or blot with hell-born sin such saint-like forms.
The well-skill'd workman this mild image drew For perjured Sinonwhose enchanting story The credulous old Priam after slew; Whose words like wildfire burnt the shining glory Of rich-built Ilionthat the skies were sorry And little stars shot from their fixed places When their glass fell wherein they view'd their faces.
This picture she advisedly perused And chid the painter for his wondrous skill Sayingsome shape in Sinon's was abused; So fair a form lodged not a mind so ill: And still on him she gazed; and gazing still Such signs of truth in his plain face she spied That she concludes the picture was belied.
'It cannot be' quoth she'that so much guile'-She would have said 'can lurk in such a look;' But Tarquin's shape came in her mind the while And from her tongue 'can lurk' from 'cannot' took: 'It cannot be' she in that sense forsook And turn'd it thus' It cannot beI find But such a face should bear a wicked mind.
'For even as subtle Sinon here is painted. So sober-sadso wearyand so mild As if with grief or travail he had fainted To me came Tarquin armed; so beguiled With outward honestybut yet defiled With inward vice: as Priam him did cherish So did I Tarquin; so my Troy did perish.
'Looklookhow listening Priam wets his eyes To see those borrow'd tears that Sinon sheds! Priamwhy art thou old and yet not wise? For every tear he falls a Trojan bleeds: His eye drops fireno water thence proceeds; Those round clear pearls of histhat move thy pity Are balls of quenchless fire to burn thy city.
'Such devils steal effects from lightless hell; For Sinon in his fire doth quake with cold And in that cold hot-burning fire doth dwell; These contraries such unity do hold Only to flatter fools and make them bold: So Priam's trust false Sinon's tears doth flatter That he finds means to burn his Troy with water.'
Hereall enragedsuch passion her assails That patience is quite beaten from her breast. She tears the senseless Sinon with her nails Comparing him to that unhappy guest Whose deed hath made herself herself detest: At last she smilingly with this gives o'er; 'Foolfool!' quoth she'his wounds will not be sore.'
Thus ebbs and flows the current of her sorrow And time doth weary time with her complaining. She looks for nightand then she longs for morrow And both she thinks too long with her remaining: Short time seems long in sorrow's sharp sustaining: Though woe be heavyyet it seldom sleeps And they that watch see time how slow it creeps.
Which all this time hath overslipp'd her thought That she with painted images hath spent; Being from the feeling of her own grief brought By deep surmise of others' detriment; Losing her woes in shows of discontent. It easeth somethough none it ever cured To think their dolour others have endured.
But now the mindful messengercome back Brings home his lord and other company; Who finds his Lucrece clad in mourning black: And round about her tear-stained eye Blue circles stream'd; like rainbows in the sky: These water-galls in her dim element Foretell new storms to those already spent.
Which when her sad-beholding husband saw Amazedly in her sad face he stares: Her eyesthough sod in tearslook'd red and raw Her lively colour kill'd with deadly cares. He hath no power to ask her how she fares: Both stoodlike old acquaintance in a trance Met far from homewondering each other's chance.
At last he takes her by the bloodless hand And thus begins: 'What uncouth ill event Hath thee befall'nthat thou dost trembling stand? Sweet lovewhat spite hath thy fair colour spent? Why art thou thus attired in discontent? Unmaskdear dearthis moody heaviness And tell thy griefthat we may give redress.'
Three times with sighs she gives her sorrow fire Ere once she can discharge one word of woe: At length address'd to answer his desire She modestly prepares to let them know Her honour is ta'en prisoner by the foe; While Collatine and his consorted lords With sad attention long to hear her words.
And now this pale swan in her watery nest Begins the sad dirge of her certain ending; 'Few words' quoth she'Shall fit the trespass best Where no excuse can give the fault amending: In me moe woes than words are now depending; And my laments would be drawn out too long To tell them all with one poor tired tongue.
'Then be this all the task it hath to say Dear husbandin the interest of thy bed A stranger cameand on that pillow lay Where thou was wont to rest thy weary head; And what wrong else may be imagined By foul enforcement might be done to me From thatalasthy Lucrece is not free.
'For in the dreadful dead of dark midnight With shining falchion in my chamber came A creeping creaturewith a flaming light And softly cried 'Awakethou Roman dame And entertain my love; else lasting shame On thee and thine this night I will inflict If thou my love's desire do contradict.
' 'For some hard-favour'd groom of thine' quoth he 'Unless thou yoke thy liking to my will I'll murder straightand then I'll slaughter thee And swear I found you where you did fulfil The loathsome act of lustand so did kill The lechers in their deed: this act will be My fame and thy perpetual infamy.'
'With thisI did begin to start and cry; And then against my heart he sets his sword Swearingunless I took all patiently I should not live to speak another word; So should my shame still rest upon record And never be forgot in mighty Rome Th' adulterate death of Lucrece and her groom.
'Mine enemy was strongmy poor self weak And far the weaker with so strong a fear: My bloody judge forbade my tongue to speak; No rightful plea might plead for justice there: His scarlet lust came evidence to swear That my poor beauty had purloin'd his eyes; And when the judge is robb'd the prisoner dies.
'Oteach me how to make mine own excuse! Or at the least this refuge let me find; Though my gross blood be stain'd with this abuse Immaculate and spotless is my mind; That was not forced; that never was inclined To accessary yieldingsbut still pure Doth in her poison'd closet yet endure.'
Loherethe hopeless merchant of this loss With head declinedand voice damm'd up with woe With sad set eyesand wretched arms across From lips new-waxen pale begins to blow The grief away that stops his answer so: Butwretched as he ishe strives in vain; What he breathes out his breath drinks up again.
As through an arch the violent roaring tide Outruns the eye that doth behold his haste Yet in the eddy boundeth in his pride Back to the strait that forced him on so fast; In rage sent outrecall'd in ragebeing past: Even so his sighshis sorrowsmake a saw To push grief onand back the same grief draw.
Which speechless woe of his poor she attendeth And his untimely frenzy thus awaketh: 'Dear lordthy sorrow to my sorrow lendeth Another power; no flood by raining slaketh. My woe too sensible thy passion maketh More feeling-painful: let it then suffice To drown one woeone pair of weeping eyes.
'And for my sakewhen I might charm thee so For she that was thy Lucrecenow attend me: Be suddenly revenged on my foe Thineminehis own: suppose thou dost defend me From what is past: the help that thou shalt lend me Comes all too lateyet let the traitor die; For sparing justice feeds iniquity.
'But ere I name himyou fair lords' quoth she Speaking to those that came with Collatine 'Shall plight your honourable faiths to me With swift pursuit to venge this wrong of mine; For 'tis a meritorious fair design To chase injustice with revengeful arms: Knightsby their oathsshould right poor ladies' harms.'
At this requestwith noble disposition Each present lord began to promise aid As bound in knighthood to her imposition Longing to hear the hateful foe bewray'd. But shethat yet her sad task hath not said The protestation stops. 'Ospeak' quoth she 'How may this forced stain be wiped from me?
'What is the quality of mine offence Being constrain'd with dreadful circumstance? May my pure mind with the foul act dispense My low-declined honour to advance? May any terms acquit me from this chance? The poison'd fountain clears itself again; And why not I from this compelled stain?'
With thisthey all at once began to say Her body's stain her mind untainted clears; While with a joyless smile she turns away The facethat map which deep impression bears Of hard misfortunecarved in it with tears. 'Nono' quoth she'no damehereafter living By my excuse shall claim excuse's giving.'
Here with a sighas if her heart would break She throws forth Tarquin's name; 'Hehe' she says But more than 'he' her poor tongue could not speak; Till after many accents and delays Untimely breathingssick and short assays She utters this'Hehefair lords'tis he That guides this hand to give this wound to me.'
Even here she sheathed in her harmless breast A harmful knifethat thence her soul unsheathed: That blow did that it from the deep unrest Of that polluted prison where it breathed: Her contrite sighs unto the clouds bequeath'd Her winged spriteand through her wounds doth fly Life's lasting date from cancell'd destiny.
Stone-stillastonish'd with this deadly deed Stood Collatine and all his lordly crew; Till Lucrece' fatherthat beholds her bleed Himself on her self-slaughter'd body threw; And from the purple fountain Brutus drew The murderous knifeandas it left the place Her bloodin poor revengeheld it in chase;
And bubbling from her breastit doth divide In two slow riversthat the crimson blood Circles her body in on every side Wholike a late-sack'd islandvastly stood Bare and unpeopled in this fearful flood. Some of her blood still pure and red remain'd And some look'd blackand that false Tarquin stain'd.
About the mourning and congealed face Of that black blood a watery rigol goes Which seems to weep upon the tainted place: And ever sinceas pitying Lucrece' woes Corrupted blood some watery token shows; And blood untainted still doth red abide Blushing at that which is so putrified.
'Daughterdear daughter' old Lucretius cries 'That life was mine which thou hast here deprived. If in the child the father's image lies Where shall I live now Lucrece is unlived? Thou wast not to this end from me derived. If children predecease progenitors We are their offspringand they none of ours.
'Poor broken glassI often did behold In thy sweet semblance my old age new born; But now that fresh fair mirrordim and old Shows me a bare-boned death by time out-worn: Ofrom thy cheeks my image thou hast torn And shivered all the beauty of my glass That I no more can see what once I was!
'O timecease thou thy course and last no longer If they surcease to be that should survive. Shall rotten death make conquest of the stronger And leave the faltering feeble souls alive? The old bees diethe young possess their hive: Then livesweet Lucrecelive again and see Thy father dieand not thy father thee!
By thisstarts Collatine as from a dream And bids Lucretius give his sorrow place; And then in key-cold Lucrece' bleeding stream He fallsand bathes the pale fear in his face And counterfeits to die with her a space; Till manly shame bids him possess his breath And live to be revenged on her death.
The deep vexation of his inward soul Hath served a dumb arrest upon his tongue; Whomad that sorrow should his use control Or keep him from heart-easing words so long Begins to talk; but through his lips do throng Weak wordsso thick come in his poor heart's aid That no man could distinguish what he said.
Yet sometime 'Tarquin' was pronounced plain But through his teethas if the name he tore. This windy tempesttill it blow up rain Held back his sorrow's tideto make it more; At last it rainsand busy winds give o'er: Then son and father weep with equal strife Who should weep mostfor daughter or for wife.
The one doth call her histhe other his Yet neither may possess the claim they lay. The father says 'She's mine.' 'Omine she is' Replies her husband: 'do not take away My sorrow's interest; let no mourner say He weeps for herfor she was only mine And only must be wail'd by Collatine.'
'O' quoth Lucretius' I did give that life Which she too early and too late hath spill'd.' 'Woewoe' quoth Collatine'she was my wife I owed herand 'tis mine that she hath kill'd.' 'My daughter' and 'my wife' with clamours fill'd The dispersed airwhoholding Lucrece' life Answer'd their cries'my daughter' and 'my wife.'
Brutuswho pluck'd the knife from Lucrece' side Seeing such emulation in their woe Began to clothe his wit in state and pride Burying in Lucrece' wound his folly's show. He with the Romans was esteemed so As silly-jeering idiots are with kings For sportive words and uttering foolish things:
But now he throws that shallow habit by Wherein deep policy did him disguise; And arm'd his long-hid wits advisedly To cheque the tears in Collatinus' eyes. 'Thou wronged lord of Rome' quoth be'arise: Let my unsounded selfsupposed a fool Now set thy long-experienced wit to school.
'WhyCollatineis woe the cure for woe? Do wounds help woundsor grief help grievous deeds? Is it revenge to give thyself a blow For his foul act by whom thy fair wife bleeds? Such childish humour from weak minds proceeds: Thy wretched wife mistook the matter so To slay herselfthat should have slain her foe.
'Courageous Romando not steep thy heart In such relenting dew of lamentations; But kneel with me and help to bear thy part To rouse our Roman gods with invocations That they will suffer these abominations Since Rome herself in them doth stand disgraced By our strong arms from forth her fair streets chased.
'Nowby the Capitol that we adore And by this chaste blood so unjustly stain'd By heaven's fair sun that breeds the fat earth's store By all our country rights in Rome maintain'd And by chaste Lucrece' soul that late complain'd Her wrongs to usand by this bloody knife We will revenge the death of this true wife.'
This saidhe struck his hand upon his breast And kiss'd the fatal knifeto end his vow; And to his protestation urged the rest Whowondering at himdid his words allow: Then jointly to the ground their knees they bow; And that deep vowwhich Brutus made before He doth again repeatand that they swore.
When they had sworn to this advised doom They did conclude to bear dead Lucrece thence; To show her bleeding body thorough Rome And so to publish Tarquin's foul offence: Which being done with speedy diligence The Romans plausibly did give consent To Tarquin's everlasting banishment.