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Beauty itself doth of itself persuade
The eyes of men without an orator;
What needeth then apology 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 ears, because 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 compare, disdainfully did sting [vaunt
His high-pitch'd thoughts, that meaner men should
That golden hap which their superiors want.
But some untimely thought did instigate
His all-too-timeless speed, if none of those :
His honour, his affairs, his friends, his state,
Neglected all, with swift intent he goes
To quench the coal which in his liver glows.
O rash-false heat, wrapt in repentant cold,
Thy hasty spring still blasts, and ne'er grows old!
When at Collatium this false lord arriv'd,
Well was he welcom'd by the Roman dame,
Within whose face beauty and virtue striv'd
Which of them both should underprop her fame:
When virtue bragg'd,beauty would blush for shame;
When beauty boasted blushes, in despite
Virtue would stain that o'er with silver white.
But beauty, in 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 cheeks, and call'd it then their shield;
Teaching them thus to use it in the fight,-
When shame assail'd, the red should fence the white.
This heraldry in Lucrece' face was seen,
Argued by heauty'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.
This 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;
Where, lest between them both it shonld 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 prais'd her so)
In that high task hath done her beauty wrong,
Which far exceeds his barren skill to shew:
Therefore that praise which Collatine doth owe,
Enchanted Tarquin answers with surmise,
In silent wonder of still-gazing eyes.
This earthly saint, adored by this devil,
Little suspecteth the false worshipper;
For unstain'd thoughts do seldom dream on evil;
Birds never lim'd 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 sometime too much wonder of his eye,
Which, having all, all could not satisfy;
But, poorly rich, so wanteth in his store,
That cloy'd with much, he pineth still for more.
But she, that never cop'd 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 baits, nor fear'd no hooks;
Nor could she moralize his wanton sight,
More than his eyes we re open'd to th
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 arins and wreaths of victory;
Her joy with heav'd-up hand she doth express,
And wordless so, greets heaven for his success.
Far from the purpose of his coming thither,
He makes excuses for his being there.
No cloudy shew of stormy blustering weather,
Doth yet in his fair welkin once appear;
Till sable Night, mother of Dread and Fear,
Upon the world dim darkness doth display,
And in her vaulty prison stows the day.
For then is Tarquin brought unto his bed,
Intending weariness with heavy spright;
For, after supper, long he questioned
With modest Lucrece, and wore out the night;
Now leaden slumber with life's strength doth fight:
And every one to rest himself betakes, [wakes.
Save thieves, and cares, and troubled minds, that
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 abstan
Despair to gain, doth traffic oft for gaining;
And when great treasure is the meed propos'd,
Though death be adjunct, there's no death suppos &
Those that much covet, are with gain so fond,
That what they have not, that which they possess,
They scatter and unloose it from their bond,
And so, by hoping more, they have but less;
Or, gaining more, the profit of excess
Is but to surfeit, and such griefs sustain,
That they prove bankrupt in this poor-rich gain.
The aim of all is but to nurse the life
With honour, wealth, and ease, in waning age;
And in this aim there is such thwarting strife,
That one for all, or all for one we gage;
As life for honour, in fell battles' rage;
Honour for wealth; and oft that wealth doth cast
The death of all, and altogether lost.
So that in vent'ring ill, we leave to be
The things we are for that which we expect;
And this ambitious foul infirmity,
In having much, torments us with defect
Of that we have: so then we do neglect
The thing we have; and, all for want of wit,
Make something nothing, by augmenting it.
Such hazard now must doting Tarquin make,
Pawning his honour to obtain his lust;
And, for himself, himself he must forsake:
Then where is truth, if there be no self-trust?
When shall he think to find a stranger just,
When he himself himself confounds, betrays
To slanderous tongues, and wretched hateful days!
Now stole upon the time the dead of night,
When heavy sleep had clos'd up mortal eyes;
No comfortable star did lend his light,
No noise but owls' and wolves' death-boding cries:
Now serves the season that they may surprise
The silly lambs; pure thoughts are dead and still,
While lust and murder wake, to stain and kill.
And now this lustful lord leap'd from his bed,
Throwing his mantle rudely o'er his arm;
Is madly toss'd between desire and dread;
Th' one sweetly flatters, th' other feareth harm;
But honest Fear, bewitch'd with lust's foul charm,
Doth too too oft betake him to retire,
Beaten away by brain-sick rude Desire.
His falchion on a flint he softly smiteth,
That from the cold stone sparks of fire do fly;
Whereat a waxen torch forthwith he lighteth,
Which must be lode-star to his lustful eye;
And to the flame thus speaks advisedly:
As from this cold flint I enforc'd this fire,
So Lucrece must I force to my desire.
Here pale with fear he doth premeditate
The dangers of his loathsome enterprise,
And in his inward mind he doth debate
What following sorrow may on this arise:
Then looking scornfully, he doth despise
His naked armour of still-slaughter'd lust,
And justly thus controls his thoughts unjust.
Fair torch, burn out thy light, and lend it not
To darken her whose light excelleth thine!
And die, unhallow'd thoughts, before 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
O shame to knighthood and to shining arms!
O foul dishonour to my household's grave!
O impious act, including all foul harms!
A martial man to be soft fancy's slave!
True valour still a true respect should have;
Then my digression is so vile, so base,
That it will live engraven in my face.
Yea, though I die, the scandal will survive,
And be an eye-sore in my golden coat;
Some loathsome dash the herald will contrive,
To cipher me, how fondly I did dote;
That my posterity, sham'd with the note,
Shall curse my bones, and hold it for no sin
To wish that I their father had not been.
What win I, if I gain the thing I seek?
A dream, a breath, a froth of fleeting joy.
Who buys a minute's mirth, to wail a week?
Or sells eternity, to get a toy?
For one sweet grape who will the vine destroy?
Or what fond beggar, but to touch the crown,
Would with the sceptre straight be strucken down?
If Collatinus dream of my intent,
Will he not wake, and in a desperate rage
Post hither, this vile purpose to prevent?
This siege that hath engirt his marriage,
This blur to youth, this sorrow to the sage,
This dying virtue, this surviving shame,
Whose crime will bear an ever-during blame?
O, what excuse can my invention make,
When thou shalt charge me with so black a deed?
Will not my tongue be mute, my frail joints shake?
Mine eyes forego their light, my false heart bleed?
The guilt being great, the fear doth still exceed;
And extreme 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 friend, this desire
Might have excuse to work upon his wife;
As in revenge or quittal of such strife:
But as he is my kinsinan, my dear friend,
The shame and fault finds no excuse nor end.
Shameful it is;-ay, if the fact be known:
Hateful it is;-there is no hate in loving:
I'll beg her love;-but she is not her own:
The worst is but denial, and reproving:
My will is strong, past reason's weak removing:
Who fears a sentence, or an old man's saw,
Shall by a painted cloth be kept in awe.
Thus, graceless, holds he disputation,
"Tween frozen conscience and hot burning will,
And with good thoughts makes dispensation,
Urging the worser sense for vantage still;
Which in a moment doth confound and kill
All pure effects, and doth so far proceed,
That what is vile shews like a virtuous deed.
Quoth he, she took me kindly by the hand,
And gaz'd for tidings in my eager eyes;
Fearing some hard news from the warlike band,
Where her beloved Collatinus lies.
O, how her fear did make her colour rise!
First red as roses that on lawn we lay,
Then white as lawn, the roses took away.
And how her hand, in my hand being lock'd,
Fore'd it to tremble with her loyal fear?
Which struck her sad, and then it faster rock'd,
Until her husband's welfare she did hear;
Whereat she smiled with so sweet a cheer,
That 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 captain, and he leadeth;
And when his gaudy banner is display'd,
The coward fights, and will not be dismay'd.
Then childish fear, avaunt! debating, die!
Respect and reason, wait on wrinkled age!
My heart shall never countermand mine eye:
Sad pause and deep regard beseem the sage;
My part is youth, and beats these from the stage:
Desire my pilot is, beauty my prize;
Then who fears sinking, where such treasure lies?
As corn o'er-grown by weeds, so heedful fear
Is almost chok'd by unresisted lust.
Away he steals with open listening ear,
Full of foul hope, and full of fond mistrust;
Both which, as servitors to the unjust,
So cross him with their opposite persuasion,
That now he vows a league, and now invasion.
Within his thought her heavenly image sits,
And in the self-same seat sits Collatine:
That eye which looks on her, confounds his wits;
That eye which him beholds, as more divine,
Unto a view so false will not incline;
But with a pure appeal seeks to the heart,
Which once corrupted, takes the worser part;
And therein heartens up his servile powers,
Who, flatter'd by their leader's jocund shew,
Stuff up his lust, as minutes fill up hours;
And as their captain, so their pride doth grow,
Paying more slavish tribute than they owe.
By reprobate desire thus madly led,
The Roman lord marcheth to Lucrece' bed.
The locks between her chamber and his will,
Each one by him enforc'd, retires his ward;
But as they open, they all rate 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 him, yet 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 heart, which fond desire doth scorch,
Puffs forth another wind that fires the torch:
And being lighted, by the light he spies
Lucretia's glove, wherein her needle sticks;
He takes it from the rushes where it lies;
And griping it, the neeld his finger pricks:
As who should say, this glove to wanton tricks
Is not inur'd; return again in haste;
Thou seest our mistress' ornaments are chaste.
But all these poor forbiddings could not stay him;
He in the worst sense construes their denial:
The doors, the wind, the glove, that did delay him,
He takes for accidental things of trial;
Or as those bars which stop the hourly dial;
Who with a ling'ring stay his course doth let,
Till every minute pays the hour his debt.
So, so, 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; [sands,
Huge rocks, high winds, strong pirates, shelves and
The merchant fears, ere 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 latch, and with no more,
Hath barr'd him from the blessed thing he 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 the eternal power
That his foul thoughts might compass bis fair fair,
And they would stand auspicious to the hour,
Even there he starts:-quoth he, I must deflour;
The powers to whom I pray, abhor this fact,
How can they then assist me in the act?
Then Love and Fortune be my gods, my 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 out, and misty night
Covers the shame that follows sweet delight.
This said, his 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 espy'd.
Who sees the lurking serpent, steps aside;
But she, sound sleeping, fearing 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 close, about he walks,
Rolling his greedy eye-balls 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.
Look, as the fair and fiery-pointed sun,
Rushing from forth a cloud, bereaves our sight;
Even so, the curtain drawn, his eyes begun
To wink, being blinded with a greater light:
Whether it is, that she reflects so bright,
That dazzleth them, or else some shame supposed;
But blind they are, and keep themselves enclosed.
O, had they in that darksome prison died,
Then had they seen the period of their ill!
Then Collatine again, by Lucrece' side,
In his clear bed might have reposed still:
But they must ope, this blessed league to kill;
And holy-thoughted Lucrece to their sight
Must sell her joy, her life, her world's delight.
Her lily hand ber rosy cheek lies under,
Cozening the pillow of a lawful kiss ;
Who, therefore angry, seems to part in sunder,
Swelling on either side, to want his bliss ;
Between whose hills her head intombed is:
Where, like a virtuous monument, she lies,
To be admir'd of lewd unhallow'd eyes.
Without the bed her other fair hand was,
On the green coverlet: whose perfect white
Shew'd like an April daisy on the grass,
With pearly sweat, resembling dew of night.
like marigolds, had sheath'd their light;
And, canopied in darkness, sweetly lay,
Till they might open to adorn the day.
Her hair, like golden threads, play'd with her
O modest wantons! wanton modesty!
Shewing 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 liv'd in death, and death in life.
Her breasts, like 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;
Who, like a foul usurper, went 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 desir'd?
What he beheld, on that he firmly doted,
And in his will his wilful eye he tir'd.
With more than admiration he admir'd
Her azure veins, her alabaster skin,
Her coral lips, her 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'd, not suppress'd; for standing by her side
His eye, which late this mutiny restrains,
Unto a greater uproar tempts his veins :
And they, like 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 pride, the onset still expecting:
Anon his beating heart, alarum striking,
Gives the hot charge, and bids them do their likin
His drumming heart chears up his burning eye.
His eye commends the leading to his hand;
His hand, as proud of such a dignity,
Smoking with pride, march'd on to make his stud
On her bare breast, the heart of all her land;
Whose ranks of blue veins, as his hand did sesh,
Left their round turrets destitute and pale.
They mustering 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:
She, much amaz'd, breaks ope her lock'd-up ers
Who, peeping forth this tumult to behold,
Are by his flaming torch dimm'd and controll'è.
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 aspéct sets every joint a shaking,
What terror 'tis! but she, in worser taking,
From sleep disturbed, heedfully doth view
The sight which makes supposed terror tree.
Wrapp'd and confounded in a thousand fears,
Like to a new-kill'd bird she trembling lies;
She dares not look; yet, winking, there appe
Quick-shifting antics, ugly in her eyes;
Such shadows are the weak brain's forgeries;
Who, angry that the eyes fly from their lights.
In darkness daunts them with more dreadful sig
His hand, that yet remains upon her breast,
(Rude ram, to batter such an ivory wall!)
May feel her heart (poor citizen!) distress'd,
Wounding itself to death, rise up and fall,
Beating her bulk, that his hand shakes withal.
This moves in him more rage, and lesser pity.
To make the breach, and enter this sweet city.
First, like a trumpet, doth his tongue begin
To sound a parley to his heartless foe;
Who, o'er the white sheet peers her whiter ch
The reason of this rash alarm to know,
Which he by dumb demeanour seeks to shew;
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 thee, if thou mean to ehide:
Thy beauty hath ensnar'd 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 debated, even in my soul,
What wrong, what shame, what sorrow I shall
But nothing can affection's course control,
Or stop the headlong fury of his speed.
I know repentant tears ensue the deed;
Reproach, disdain, and deadly enmity;
Yet strive I to embrace mine infamy.
This said, he shakes aloft his Roman blade,
Which, like 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 Lucretia, marking what he tells,
With trembling fear, as fowl hear falcon's bells.
Lucrece, quoth he, this night I must enjoy thee:
If thou deny, then force must work my way,
For in thy bed I purpose to destroy thee;
That done, some 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 bim,
Swearing I slew him, seeing 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 thou, the author of their obloquy,
Shalt have thy trespass cited up in rhymes,
And sung by children in succeeding times.
But if thou yield, I 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.
Then for 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 faults, not their own infamy.
Here with a cockatrice' dead-killing eye,
He rouseth up himself, and makes a pause;
While she, the picture of
Like a white hind under the grype's sharp claws,
Pleads in a wilderness, where are no laws,
To the rough beast that knows no gentle right,
Nor aught obeys but his foul appetite.
Look, when a black-fac'dcloud the world doth threat,
In his dim mist the aspiring mountains hiding,
From earth's dark womb some gentle dust doth get,
Which blows these pitchy vapours from their biding,
Hindering their present fall by this dividing:
So his unhallow'd haste her words delays,
And moody Pluto winks while Orpheus plays.
Yet, foul night-waking cat, he doth but dally,
While in his hold-fast foot the weak mouse panteth:
Her sad behaviour feeds his vulture folly,
A swallowing gulf that even in plenty wanteth:
His ear her prayers admits, but his heart granteth
No penetrable entrance to her plaining:
Tears harden lust, though 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 knighthood, gentry, and sweet friendship's oath,
By her untimely tears, her husband's love,
By holy human law, and common troth,
By heaven and earth, aud all the power of both,
That to his borrow'd bed he make retire,
And stoop to honour, not 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 wood-man 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 sighs, likewhirlwinds, labourhence to heave thee.
If ever man were mov'd with woman's moans,
Be moved with my tears, my sighs, my groans;
All which together, like a troubled ocean,
Beat at thy rocky and wreck-threat'ning heart,
To soften it with their continual motion;
For stones dissolv'd to water do convert.
O, if no harder than a stone thou art,
Melt at my tears and 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, [name.
Thou wrong'st his honour, wound'st his princely
Thou art not what thou seem'st; and if the same,
Thou seem'st not what thou art, a god, a king;
For kings like gods should govern every thing.
How will thy shame be seeded in thine age,
When thus thy vices bud before thy spring?
If in thy hope thou dar'st do such outrage,
What dar'st thou not, when once thou art a king?
O, be remember'd, no outrageous thing
From vassal actors can be wip'd away;
Then kings' misdeeds cannot be hid in clay.
This deed will make thee only lov'd 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 this, thy will remove;
For princes are the glass, the school, the book,
Where subjects' eyes do learn, do read, do 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 sin, warrant for blame,
To privilege dishonour in thy name?
Thou back'st reproach against long-lived laud,
And mak'st 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,
When, pattern'd by thy fault, foul Sin may say,
He learn'd to sin, and thon 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.
O, how are they wrapp'd in with infamies,
That from their own misdeeds ask aunce their eyes!
To thee, to thee, my heav'd-up hands appeal,
Not to seducing lust, thy rash relier;
I sue for exil'd majesty's repeal;
Let him return, and 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 be; my uncontrolled tide
Turns not, but swells the higher by this let.
Small lights are soon blown out, huge fires abide,
And with the wind in greater fury fret:
The petty streams that pay a daily debt
She says, her subjects with foul insurrection
Have batter'd down her consecrated wall,
And by their mortal fault brought in subjection
Her immortality, and made her thrall
To living death, and pain perpetual :
To their salt sovereign, with their fresh falls' haste, Which in her prescience she controlled still,
Add to his flow, but alter not his taste.
Thou art, quoth she, a sea, a sovereign king!
And lo, there falls into thy boundless flood
Black lust, dishonour, shame, misgoverning,
Who seek to stain the ocean of thy blood.
If all these petty ills shall change thy good,
Thy sea within a puddle's womb is hers'd,
And not the puddle in thy sea dispers'd.
So shall these slaves be king, and thou their slave;
Thou nobly base, they basely dignified;
Thon their fair life, and they thy fouler grave:
Thou loathed in their shame, they 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 thoughts, low vassals to thy state-
No more, quoth he, by heaven, I will not hear thee;
Yield to my love; if not, enforced hate,
Instead of love's coy touch, shall rudely tear thee;
That done, despitefully I mean to bear thee
Unto the base bed of some rascal groom,
To be thy partner in this shameful doom.
This said, be sets his foot upon the light,
For light and lust are deadly enemies:
Shame folded up in blind concealing night,
When most unseen, then most doth tyrannise.
The wolf hath seiz'd his prey, the 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.
O, that 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 lust, the thief, far poorer than before.
Look, as the full-fed hound or gorged hawk,
Unapt for tender smell or speedy flight,
Make slow pursuit, or altogether balk
The prey wherein by nature they delight;
So surfeit-taking Tarquin fares this night:
His taste delicious, in digestion souring,
Devours his will, that liv'd by foul devouring.
O deeper 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 pride, no 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 eye, knit brow, and strengthless pace,
Feeble Desire, all recreant, poor, and meek,
Like to a bankrupt beggar wails his case:
The flesh being proud, Desire 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 chas'd;
For now against himself he sounds this doom,-
That through the length of times he stands disgrac'd:
Besides, his soul's fair temple is defac'd ;
To whose weak ruins muster troops of cares,
To ask the spotted princess how she fares.
But her fore-sight could not fore-stall their will.
Even in this thought, through the dark night he steal
A captive victor, that bath lost in gain;
Bearing away the wound that nothing health,
The scar that will, despite of cure, remain;
Leaving his spoil perplex'd in greater pain.
She bears the load of lust he left behind,
And he the burthen of a guilty mind.
He, like a thievish dog, creeps sadly thence,
She like a weary'd lamb lies panting there;
He scowls, and hates himself for his offence,
She desperate, with her nails her flesh doth tear
He faintly flies, sweating with guilty fear;
She stays, exclaiming on the direful night;
He runs, and chides his vanish'd, loath'd, delight
He thence departs a heavy convertite,
She there remains a hopeless cast-away:
He in his speed looks for the morning light,
She prays she never may behold the day:
For day, quoth she, night's scapes doth open lay,
And my true eyes have never practis'd bow
To cloke offences with a cunning brow.
They think not but that every eye can see
The same disgrace which they themselves bebold,
And therefore would they still in darkness be,
To have their unseen sin remain untold;
For they their guilt with weeping will unfold,
And grave, like 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 thence, where it may find
Some purer chest, to close so pure a mind.
Frantic with grief thus breathes she forth her spar
Against the unseen secrecy of night.
O, comfort-killing night, image 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-tongu'd treason and the ravisher!
O, hateful, vaporous, and 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 wouted height, yet ere he go to bed,
Knit poisonous clouds about his golden bead.
With rotten damps ravish the morning air;
Let their exhal'd'un wholesome breaths make si
The life of purity, the 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 night, (as he is but night's child.
The silver-shining queen he would distain;
Her twinkling handmaids too, by him defil'd,
Through night's black bosom should not peep agai
So should I have copartners in my pain:
And fellowship in woe doth woe assuage,
As palmers' chat make short their pilgrimage.
Where now I have no one to blush with me,
To cross their arms, and hang their heads with
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 tears, my grief with groa
Poor wasting monuments of lasting moans.