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O night, thou 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 sepulcher'd in thy shade! Make me not object to the tell-tale day! The light will shew, charácter'd in my brow, The story of sweet chastity's decay, The impious breach of holy wedlock vow: Yea, the illiterate that know not how To 'ciper what is writ in learned books, Will quote my loathsome trespass in my looks. The nurse, to still her child, will tell my story, And fright her crying babe with Tarquin's name; The orator, to deck his oratory,
Will couple my reproach to Tarquin's shame :
Feast-finding minstrels, tuning my defame,
Will tie the hearers to attend each line,
How Tarquin wronged me, I Collatine.
Let my good name, that 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 undeserv'd reproach to him allotted,
That is as clear from this attaint of mine,
As I, ere this, was pure to Collatine.
O unseen shame! invisible disgrace!
O unfelt sore! crest-wounding, private scar!
Reproach is stamp'd in Collatinus' face,
And Tarquin's eye may read the mot afar,
How he in peace is wounded, not in war.
Alas, how many bear such shameful blows,
Which not themselves, but he that gives them,knows!
"If, Collatine, thine honour lay in me,
From me by strong assault it is bereft.
My honey lost, and I, a 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 guiltless of thy honour's wreck;
Yet for thy honour did I entertain him;
Coming from thee, I could not put him back,
For it had been dishonour to disdain him:
Besides of weariness he did complain him,
And talk'd of virtue:-0, unlook'd-for evil,
When virtue is profan'd 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 plagu'd with cramps, and gouts, and painful fits;
And scarce bath 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 weak, and 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, Opportunity! thy guilt is great:
"Tis thou that execut'st the traitor's treason;
Thou set'st the wolf where he the lamb may get;
Whoever plots the sin, thou 'point'st the season;
"Tis thou that spurn'st at right, at law, at reason;
And in thy shady cell, where none may spy him,
Sits Sin, to seize the souls that wander by him.
Thou mak'st the vestal violate her oath:
Thou blow'st the fire when temperance is thaw'd;
Thou smother'st honesty, thou murder'st troth;
Thou foul abettor! thou notorious bawd!
Thou plantest scandal, and displacest land:
Thou ravisher, thou traitor, thou false thief,
Thy honey turns to gall, thy 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 then, vile Opportunity,
Being so bad, such 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 sick, ease to the pain'd?
The poor, lame, blind, halt, creep, cry 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:
Wrath, envy, treason, rape, and 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 appay'd,
As well to hear as grant what he hath said.
My Collatine would else have come to me
When Tarquin did, but he was stay'd by thee.
Guilty thou art of murder and of theft;
Guilty of perjury and subornation;
Guilty of treason, forgery, and shift;
Guilty of incest, that abomination:
An accessary by thine inclination
To all sins past, and all that are to come,
From the creation to the general doom.
Mis-shapen Time, copesmate of ugly night,
Swift subtle post, carrier of grisly care;
Eater of youth, false slave to false delight,
Base watch of woes, sin's pack-horse, virtue's snare;
Thou nursest all, and murderest all that are.
O hear me then, injurious, shifting Time!
Be guilty of my death, since of my crime.
Why bath thy servant, Opportunity,
Betray'd the hours thou gav'st me to repose?
Cancel'd my fortunes, and 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 shew the beldame daughters of her daughter,
To make the child a man, the 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 beguil'd;
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 could'st 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: [back,
O, this dread night, would'st thou one hour come
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 sorrow, and how swift and short
His time of folly, and his time of sport:
And ever let his unrecalling crime
Have time to wail the abusing of his time.
O Time, thou 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
For who so base would such an office have
As slanderous death's-man to so base a slave?
The baser is he, coming from a king,
To shame his hope with deeds degenerate.
The mightier man, the mightier is the thing
That makes him honour'd, or 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 unperceiv'd fly with the filth away
But if the like the snow-white swan desire,
The stain upon his silver down will stay.
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 bough
Basely with gold, but stolen from forth thy gar
For me, I am the mistress of my fate;
And with my trespass never will dispense,
Till life to death acquit my forc'd 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 eyes, like sluite
As from a mountain-spring that feeds a dale,
Shall gush pure streams to purge my impure t
By this, lamenting Philomel had ended
The well-tun'd warble of her nightly sorrow,
And solemn night with slow-sad gait descended
To ugly hell; when lo, the blushing morrow
Lends light to all fair eyes that light will borres
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 weep.
To whom she sobbing speaks: O eye of eyes,
Why pry'st thou through my window? leave thy pe
Poor grooms are sightless night, kings glorious day. Mock with thy tickling beams eyes that are sleepte
Gnats are unnoted wheresoe'er they fly,
But eagles gaz'd upon with every eye.
Out, idle words, servants to shallow fools!
Unprofitable sounds, weak arbitrators!
Busy yourselves in skill-contending schools;
Debate where leisure serves with dull debaters;
To trembling clients be you mediators:
For me, I force not argument a straw,
Since that my case is past the help of law.
Brand not my forehead with thy piercing light.
For day hath nought to do what's done by nigh
Thus cavils she with every thing she sees:
True grief is fond and testy as a child,
Who wayward once, his mood with nought ag
Old woes, not infant sorrows, bear them mild; 14!
Continuance tames the one; the other wild,
Like an unpractis'd swimmer plunging still,
With too much labour drowns for want of skill
So she, deep-drenched in a sea of care,
Holds disputation with each thing she views,
And to herself all sorrow doth compare ;
No object but her passions strength renews;
And as one shifts, another straight ensues:
Sometime her grief is dumb, and hath no words
Sometime 'tis mad, and too much talk affords.
Poor hand, why quiver'st thou at this decree!
Honour thyself to rid me of this shame;
For if I die, my honour lives in thee,
But if I live, thou liv'st in my defame;
Since thou could'st not defend thy loyal dame,
And wast afear'd to scratch her wicked foe,
Kill both thyself and her for yielding so.
This said, from her be-tumbled couch she started.
To find some desperate instrument of death.
But this no slaughter-house no tool imparteth,
To make more vent for passage of her breath;
Which, thronging through her lips, so vanishe
As smoke from Etna, that in air consumes,
Or that which from discharged cannon fumes.
In vain, quoth she, I live, and 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 no, that cannot be;
Of that true type hath Tarquin rifled me.
O! that is gone, for which I sought to live,
And therefore now I need not fear to die.
To clear this spot by death, at least I give
A badge of fame to slander's livery;
A dying life to living infamy:
Poor helpless help, the treasure stol'n away,
To burn the guiltless casket where it lay!
Well, well, dear Collatine, thou 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 pollate,
That thou art doating father of his fruit.
In vain I rail at opportunity,
At time, at Tarquin, and 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.
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 pleas'd with grief's society:
True sorrow then is feelingly suffic'd,
When with like semblance it is sympathiz'd.
"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 ake more;
Great grief grieves most at that would do it good:
Deep woes roll forward like a gentle flood,
Who, being stopp'd, the 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. Come, Philomel, that sing'st of ravishment, Make thy sad grove in my dishevel'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 burthen-wise I'll ham on Tarquin still, While thou on Tereus descant'st, better skill. And whiles against a thorn thou bear'st thy part, 'o keep thy sharp woes waking, wretched I, 'o imitate thee well, against my heart Vill fix a sharp knife, to affright mine eye: Vho, if it wink, shall thereon fall and die. 'hese means, as frets upon an instrument, hall tune our heart-strings to true languishment. nd for, poor bird, thou sing'st not in the day, s shaming any eye should thee behold, ome dark deep desert, seated from the way, hat knows not parching heat nor freezing cold, Will we find out; and there we will unfold o creatures stern sad tunes, to change their kinds; ince men prove beasts, let beasts bear gentle minds. s the poor frighted deer, that stands at gaze, Vildly determining which way to fly; r one incompass'd with a winding maze, hat cannot tread the way out readily; with herself is she in mutiny,
o live or die which of the twain were better, ✔hen life is sham'd, and death reproaches debtor.
kill myself, quoth she, alack! what were it, ut with my body my poor soul's pollution? ney that lose half, with greater patience bear it, an they whose whole is swallow'd in confusion. at mother tries a merciless conclusion, ho having two sweet babes, when death takes one, Will slay the other, and be nurse to none. y body or my soul, which was the dearer? hen the one pure, the other made divine. hose love of either to myself was nearer? heu both were kept for heaven and Collatine.
me! the bark peel'd from the lofty pine, is leaves will wither, and his sap decay;
must my soul, her bark being peel'd away. ver house is sack'd, her quiet interrupted, er mansion batter'd by the enemy; er sacred table spotted, spoil'd, corrupted, ossly engirt with daring infamy: en let it not be call'd impiety,
in this blemish'd fort I make some hole, rough which I may convey this troubled soul. :t die I will not, till my Collatine
ve heard the cause of my untimely death; at he may vow, in that sad hour of mine, evenge on him that made me stop my breath. y stained blood to Tarquin I'll bequeath, hich by him tainted, shall for him be spent, Fid 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 live, the other being dead:
So of shame's ashes shall my fame be bred;
For in my death I murder shameful scorn:
My shame so dead, mine honour is new-born.
Dear lord of that dear jewel I have lost,
What legacy shall I bequeath to thee?
My resolution, love, shall be thy boast,
By whose example thou reveng'd may'st be.
How Tarquin must be us'd, read it in me:
Myself, thy friend, will kill myself, thy foe,
And, for my sake, serve thou false Tarquin so.
This brief abridgment of my will I make :
My soul and body to the skies and ground;
My resolution, husband, do 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 live, and think no shame of me.
Thou, Collatine, shalt 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 deed, my life's fair end shall free it.
Faint not, faint heart, but stoutly say, so be it.
Yield to my hand; my hand shall conquer thee;
Thou dead, both die, and both shall victors be.
This plot of death when sadly she had laid,
And wip'd the brinish pearl from her bright eyes,
With untun'd tongue she horsely call'd 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 tongue, true 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 weep, the sun being set,
Each flower moisten'd like a melting eye;
Even so the maid with swelling drops 'gan wet
Her circled eyne, enforc'd by sympathy
Of those fair suns, set in her mistress sky,
Who in a salt-wav'd 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 cause, but company, of 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 marble, women waxen, minds,
And therefore are they form'd as marble will;
The weak oppres'd, the impression of strange kinds
Is form'd in them by force, by fraud, or 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 smoothness, like a goodly champaign plain,
Lays open all the little worms that creep;
In men, as in a rough-grown grove, remain
Cave-keeping evils that obscurely sleep:
Through chrystal walls each little mote will peep:
Though men can cover crimes with bold stern looks,
Poor women's faces are their own faults' books.
No man inveigh against the wither'd flower,
But chide rough winter that the flower hath kill'd!
Not that devour'd, but that which doth devour,
Is worthy blame. O, let it not be hild
Poor women's faults, that they are so fulfill'd
With men's abuses: those proud lords, to blame,
Make weak-made women tenants to their shame.
The precedent whereof in Lucrece view,
Assail'd by night, with circumstances strong
Of present death, and shame that might ensue
By that her death, to 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 this, mild patience bid fair Lucrece speak To the poor counterfeit of her complaining; My girl, quoth she, on what occasion break Those tears from thee, that down thy cheeks are If thou dost weep for grief of my sustaining, [raining? Know, gentle wench, it small avails my mood: If tears could help, mine own would do me good. But tell me, girl, when went-(and there she stay'd❘ Till after a deep groan) Tarquin from hence; Madam, ere I was up, reply'd 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, And, ere I rose, was Tarquin gone away. But lady, if your maid may be so bold, She would request to know your heaviness. O peace! 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 cafl'd a hell, When more is felt than one hath power to tell. Go, get me hither paper, ink, and pen,Yet save that labour, for I have them here. What should I say?-One of my husband's men Bid thou be ready, by and by, to bear A letter to my lord, my love, my dear; Bid him with speed prepare to carry it: The cause craves haste, and it will soon be writ. Her maid is gone, and 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-good, this blunt and ill: Much like a press of people at a door, Throng her inventions, which 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 ever, love, thy Lucrece thou wilt see,) Some present speed, to come and visit me: So I commend me from our house in grief; My woes are tedious, though my words are brief." Here folds she up the tenour of her woe, Her certain sorrow writ uncertainly. By this short schedule Collatine may know Her grief, but 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. Besides, the life and feeling of her passion She hoards, to spend when he is by to hear her; When sighs and groans and tears may grace the Of her disgrace, the better so to clear her [fashion From that suspicion which the world mightbear her. To shun this blot, she would not blot the letter With words, till action might become them better. To see sad sights moves more than hear them told; For then the 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 ebbs, being blown with wind of words. Her letter now is seal'd, and on it writ, At Ardea to my lord, with more than haste: The post attends, and she delivers it, Charging the sour-fac'd 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 villein courtsies to her low;
And blushing on her, with a stedfast 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 be blush'd to see her share
When, silly groom! God wot, it was defect
Of spirit, life, and bold audacity.
Such harmless creatures have a true respect
To talk in deeds, while others saucily
Promise more speed, but do it leisurely:
Even so, this pattern of the worn-out age
Pawn'd honest looks, but lay'd no words to gas
His kindled duty kindled her mistrust,
That two red fires in both their faces blaz'd;
She thought he blush'd, as knowing Tarquin'sh
And, blushing with him, wistly on him gaz'd;
Her earnest eye did make him more amaz'd:
The more she saw the blood his cheeks replent.
The more she thought he spy'd in her some blenst
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 sigh, to weep, and gros:
So woe hath wearied woe, moan 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 painting, made for Priam's Troy;
Before the which is drawn the power of Grees,
For Helen's rape the city to destroy,
Threatening cloud-kissing Ilion with annoy;
Which the conceited painter drew so proud,
As heaven (it seem'd) to kiss the turrets bow'd
A thousand lamentable objects there,
In scorn of nature, art 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'd, to shew the painter's str
And dying eyes gleam'd forth their ashy lights,
Like dying coals burnt out in tedious nights.
There might you see the labouring pioneer
Begrim'd with sweat, and smeared all with dis
And from the towers of Troy there would app
The very eyes of men through loop-holes thres
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 behold, triumphing in their faces;
In youth, quick bearing and dexterity;
And here and there the painter interlaces
Pale cowards, marching on with trembling p
Which heartless peasants did so well resemble
That one would swear he saw them quake and trem
In Ajax and Ulysses, O, what 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 rigour roll'd;
But the mild glance that sly Ulysses lent,
Shew'd deep regard and smiling government.
There pleading might you see grave Nestor st
As 'twere encouraging the Greeks to fight;
Making such sober action ith his hand,
That it beguil'd attention, charm'd the sight:
In speech, it seem'd, his beard, all silver white.
Wagg'd up and down, and from his lips did f
Thin winding breath, which purl'd up to the s
About him were a press of gaping faces,
Which seem'd to swallow up his sound advice;
All jointly listning, but with several graces,
As if some mermaid did their ears entice;
Some high, some low; the painter was so nice,
The scalps of many almost bid behind,
To jump up higher seem'd, to 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 back, all boll'n and Another, smother'd, seems to pelt and swear; [red; And in their rage such signs of rage they bear, As, but for loss of Nestor's golden words, 3 It seem'd they would debate with angry swords. For much imaginary work was there; Conceit deceitful, so compact, so kind, That for Achilles' image stood his spear, Grip'd in an armed hand; himself, behind, Was left unseen, save to the eye of mind: A hand, a foot, a face, a leg, a head, Stood for the whole to be imagined.
And from the walls of strong-besieged Troy
When their brave hope, bold Hector, march'd to
Stood many Trojan mothers, sharing 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'd) a kind of heavy fear.
And, from the strond of Dardan where 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 shore, and than
Retire again, till meeting 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 stêl'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 anatomiz'd
Time's ruin, beauty's wreck, and grim care's reign;
Her cheeks with chaps and wrinkles were disguis'd;
Of what she was, no semblance did remain:
Her blue blood chang'd to black in every vein,
Wanting the spring that those shrunk pipes had fed,
Shew'd life imprison'd in a body dead.
On this sad shadow Lucrece spends her eyes,
And shapes her sorrow to the beldame'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.
Shew me the strumpet that began this stir,
That with my nails her beauty I may tear.
Thy heat of lust, fond Paris, did incur
This load of wrath that burning Troy doth bear;
Thy eye kindled the fire that burneth here:
And here in Troy, for trespass of thine eye,
The sire, the son, the dame, and daughter, die.
Why should the private pleasure of some one
Become the public plague of many mo?
Let sin, alone committed, light alone
Upon his head that hath trangressed 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?
Lo, here weeps Hecuba, here Priam dies,
Here manly Hector faints, here 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 check'd his son's desire,
Troy had been bright with fame, and not with fire.
Here feelingly she weeps Troy's painted woes:
For sorrow, like a heavy-hanging bell,
Once set on ringing, with his own weight goes;
Then little strength rings out the doleful knell;
So Lucrece set a-work, sad tales doth tell
To pencil'd pensiveness and colour'd sorrow; [row.
She lends them words, and she their looks doth bor-
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 face, though full of cares, yet shew'd content.
Onward to Troy with the blunt swains he goes,
So mild, that Patience seem'd to scorn his woes.
In him the painter labour'd with his skill
To hide deceit, and give the harmless shew,
An humble gait, calm looks, eyes wailing still,
A brow unbent, that seem'd to welcome woe;
Cheeks, neither red nor pale, but mingled so
That blushing red no guilty instance gave,
Nor ashy pale the fear that false hearts have.
But, like a constant and confirmed devil,
He entertained a shew so seeming just,
And therein so ensconc'd his secret evil,
That jealousy itself could not mistrust,
False-creeping craft and perjury should thrust
Into so bright a day such black-fac'd storms,
Or blot with hell-born sin such saint-like forms.
The well-skill'd workman this mild image drew
For perjur'd Sinon, whose enchanting story
The credulous old Priam after slew;
Whose words, like wild-fire, burnt the shining glory
Of rich-built Ilion, that the skies were sorry,
And little stars shot from their fixed places,
When their glass fell, wherein theyview'd their faces.
This picture she advisedly perus'd,
And chid the painter for his wond'rous skill;
Saying, some shape in Sinon's was abus'd,
So fair a form lodg'd not a mind so ill;
And still on him she gaz'd; and gazing still,
Such signs of truth in his plain face she spy'd,
That she concludes the picture was bely'd.
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 be, I find,
But such a face should bear a wicked mind:"
For even as subtle Sinon here is painted,
So sober-sad, so weary, and so mild,
(As if with grief or travail he had fainted,)
To me came Tarquin armed; so beguil'd
With outward honesty, but yet defil'd
With inward vice: as Priam him did cherish,
So did I Tarquin; so my Troy did perish.
Look, look, how listening Priam wets his eyes,
To see those borrow'd tears that Sinon sheds.
Priam, why art thou old, and yet not wise?
For every tear he falls, a Trojan bleeds;
His eye drops fire, no water thence proceeds:
Those round clear pearls of his, that 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.
Here, all enrag'd, such 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;
Fool! fool! quoth she, his wounds will not be sore.