Page images

Thus ebbs and flows the current of her sorrow,
And time doth weary time with her complaining.
She looks for night, and 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 heavy, yet 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 speut;
Being from the feeling of her own grief brought
By deep surmise of others detriment;
Losing her woes in shews of discontent.
It easeth some, though none it ever cur'd,
To think their dolour others have endur'd.
But now the mindful messenger, come back,
Brings home his lord and other company;
Who finds his Lucrece clad in mourning black:
And round about her tear-distained eye
Blue circles stream'd, like rainbows in the sky;
These water-galls in her dim element
Foretel new storms to those already spent.
Which when her sad-beholding husband saw,
Amazedly in her sad face he stares:
Her eyes, though sod in tears, look'd red and raw,
Her lively colour kill'd with deadly cares.
He hath no power to ask her how she fares;
But stood, like old acquaintance in a trance,
Met far from home, wondering each other's chance.
At last he takes her by the bloodless hand,
And thus begins: What uncouth ill event
Hath thee befal'n, that thou dost trembling stand?
Sweet love, what spite hath thy fair colour spent?
Why art thou thus attir'd in discontent?
Unmask, dear dear, this moody heaviness,
And tell thy grief, that 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 more 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 husband, in the interest of thy bed
A stranger came, and on that pillow lay
Where thou wast wont to rest thy weary head;
And what wrong else may be imagined
By foul enforcement might be done to me,
From that, alas! thy Lucrece is not free.
For in the dreadful dead of dark midnight,
With shining falchion in my chamber came
A creeping creature, with a flaming light,
And softly cry'd, Awake, thou 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 straight, and then I'll slaughter thee,
And swear I found you where you did fulfil
The loathsome act of lust, and so did kill
The lechers in their deed: this act will be
My fame, and thy perpetual infamy.
With this I did begin to start and cry,
And then against my heart he set his sword;
Swearing, unless 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
The adulterate death of Lucrece and her groom.

Mine enemy was strong, my poor self werk,
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 rob'd, the prisoner dies.
O, teach 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 abar.
Immaculate and spotless is my mind;
That was not fore'd; that never was inclin'd
To accessary yieldings, but still pure
Doth in her poison'd closet yet endure.

Lo here, the hopeless merchant of this loss,
With head declin'd, and voice damm'd up with **
With sad-set eyes, and wretched arms seriss
From lips new-waxen pale begins to blow
The grief away, that stops his answer so:
But wretched as he is, he strives in vain;
What he breathes out, his breath drinks up agu
As through an arch the violent roaring tide
Out-runs the eye that doth behold his baste,
Yet in the eddy boundeth in his pride
Back to the strait that fore'd him on so fast;
In rage sent out, recall'd in rage, being past:
Even so his sighs, his sorrows, make a saw,
To push grief on, and back the same grief drs
Which speechless woe of his, poor she attendre.
And his untimely frenzy thus awaketh:
Dear lord, thy 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 woe, one pair of weeping eyes.
And for my sake, when I might charm thee se,
For she that was thy Lucrece,-Low attend me
Be suddenly revenged on my foe,

Thine, mine, his own; suppose thou dost defend
From what is past; the help that thou shalt lend
Comes all too late, yet let the traitor die:
For sparing justice feeds iniquity.

But ere I name him, you 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 mi
For 'tis a meritorious fair design,

To chase injustice with revengeful arms: [har
Knights, by their oaths, should right poor ce
At this request, with 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 she, that yet her sad task hath not said,
The protestation stops. O speak, quoth she,
How may this forced stain be wip'd 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 this they all at once began to say,
Her body's stain her mind untainted clears;
While with a joyless smile she turns away
The face, that map which deep impression beses
Of hard misfortune, carv'd in it with tears.
No, no, quoth she, no dame, hereafter living,
By my excuse shall claim excuse's giving.
Here with a sigh, as if her heart would break.
She throws forth Tarquin's name: He, he, she sa
But more than he her poor tongue could not spe
Till after many accents and delays,
Untimely breathings, sick and short assays,
She utters this: He, he, fair lords, 'tis he,
That guides this hand to give this wound to me

Even here she sheathed in her harmless breast
A harmful knife, that thence her soul unsheath'd:
That blow did bail it from the deep unrest
Of that polluted prison where it breath'd:
Her contrite sighs unto the clouds bequeath'd
Her winged sprite, and through her wounds doth fly
Life's lasting date from cancel'd destiny.
Stone-still, astonish'd with this deadly deed,
Stood Collatine and all his lordly crew;
fill Lucrece' father that beholds her bleed,
Himself on her self-slaughter'd body threw ;
And from the purple fountain Brutus drew
The murderous knife, and as it left the place,
Her blood, in poor revenge, held it in chase;
And bubbling from her breast, it doth divide
n two slow rivers, that the crimson blood
Sircles her body in on every side,

Who like a late-sack'd island vastly stood,
Bare and unpeopled, in this fearful flood.
ome of her blood still pure and red remain'd,
And some look'd black, and that false Tarquin stain'd.
fbout the mourning and congealed face
of that black blood, a watry rigol goes,
Which seems to weep upon the tainted place:
and ever since, as pitying Lucrece' woes,
orrupted blood some watery token shews;
nd blood untainted still doth red abide,
Blushing at that which is so putrify'd.
aughter, dear daughter, old Lucretius cries,
hat life was mine, which thou hast here depriv'd.
f in the child the father's image lies,
Where shall I live, now Lucrece is unliv'd?
hou wast not to this end from me deriv'd.
children pre-decease progenitors,

We are their offspring, and they none of ours. oor broken glass, I often did behold

a thy sweet semblance my old age new-born; ut now that fair fresh mirror, dim and old, hews me a bare-bon'd death by time out-worn; from thy cheeks my image thou hast torn! nd shiver'd all the beauty of my glass, hat I no more can see what once I was.


time, cease thou thy course, and last no longer, they surcease to be, that should survive, all rotten death make conquest of the stronger, nd leave the faltering feeble souls alive? he old bees die, the young possess their hive: en live sweet Lucrece, live again, and see ay father die, and not thy father thee!

y this starts Collatine as from a dream, ad bids Lucretius give his sorrow place; nd then in key-cold Lucrece' bleeding stream e falls, and bathes the pale fear in his face, ad counterfeits to die with her a space; Il manly shame bids him possess his breath, ad live to be revenged on her death.

e deep vexation of his inward soul ath serv'd a dumb arrest upon his tongue; ho mad that sorrow should his use control, r keep him from heart-easing words so long, egins to talk; but through his lips do throng eak words, so thick come, in his poor heart's aid, at no man could distinguish what he said.

Yet sometime Tarquin was pronounced plain,
But through his teeth, as if the name he tore.
This windy tempest, till it blow up rain,
Held back his sorrow's tide, to make it more;
At last it rains, and busy winds give o'er :
Then son and father weep with equal strife,
Who should weep most for daughter or for wife.
The one doth call her his, the other his,
Yet neither may possess the claim they lay.
The father says, she's mine: O, mine she is,
Replies the husband: Do not take away
My sorrow's interest; let no mourner say
He weeps for her, for 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.
Woe, woe, quoth Collatine, she was my wife,
I ow'd her, and 'tis mine that she hath kill'd,'
My daughter and my wife with clamours fill'd
The dispers'd air, who holding Lucrece' life,
Answer'd their cries, my daughter and my wife.
Brutus, who 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 shew.
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 check the tears in Collatinus' eyes.
Thou wronged lord of Rome, quoth he, arise;
Let my unsounded self, suppos'd a fool,
Now set thy long-experienc'd wit to school.
Why, Collatine, is woe the cure for woe? [deeds?
Do wounds help wounds, or grief help grievous
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 herself, that should have slain her foe.
Courageous Roman, do 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 disgrac'd,
By our strong arms from forth her fair streets chas'd.
Now by 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 us, and by this bloody knife,
We will revenge the death of this true wife.
This said, he struck his hand upon his breast,
And kiss'd the fatal knife, to end his vow;
And to his protestation urg'd the rest,
Who wondering at him, did his words allow :
Then jointly to the ground their knees they bow;
And that deep vow which Brutus made before,
He doth again repeat, and that they swore.

[blocks in formation]





From fairest creatures we desire increase,
That thereby beauty's rose might never die,
But as the riper should by time decease,
His tender heir might bear his memory:
But thou, contracted to thine own bright eyes,
Feed'st thy light's flame with self-substantial fuel,
Making a famine where abundance lies,
Thyself thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel,
Thou that art now the world's fresh ornament,
And only herald to the gaudy spring,
Within thine own bud buriest thy content,
And, tender churl, mak'st waste in niggarding.
Pity the world, or else this glutton be,
To eat the world's due, by the grave and thee.


When forty winters shall besiege thy brow,
And dig deep trenches in thy beauty's field,
Thy youth's proud livery, so gaz'd on now,
Will be a tatter'd weed, of small worth held:
Then, being ask'd where all thy beauty lies,
Where all the treasure of thy lusty days;
To say, within thine own deep-sunken eyes,
Were an all-eating shame, and thriftless praise.
How much more praise deserv'd thy beauty's use,
If thou could'st answer-"This fair child of mine
Shall sum my count, and make my old excuse,"
Proving his beauty by succession thine.
This were to be new made, when thou art old,
And see thy blood warm, when thou feel'st it cold.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]


Those hours, that with gentle work did frame, The lovely gaze where every eye doth dwell, Will play the tyrants to the very same, And that unfair, which fairly doth excel; For never-resting time leads summer on To hideous winter and confounds him there; Sap check'd with frost, and lusty leaves quite gone, Beauty o'er-snow'd, and bareness every where: Then, were not summer's distillation left, A liquid prisoner pent in walls of glass, Beauty's effect with beauty were bereft, Nor it, nor no remembrance what it was: But flowers distill'd, though they with winter meet, Leese but theirshew; their substance still lives sweet. VI.

Then let not winter's ragged hand deface
In thee thy summer, ere thou be distill'd:
Make sweet some phial, treasure thou some place
With beauty's treasure, ere it be self-kill'd."
That use is not forbidden usury,

Which happies those that pay the willing loan;
That's for thyself to breed another thee,
Or ten times happier, be it ten for one;
Ten times thyself were happier than thou art,
If ten of thine ten times refigur'd thee:
Then what could death do, if thou should'st depart,
Leaving thee living in posterity?
Be not self-will'd, for thou art much too fair
To be death's conquest, and make worms thine heir.
Lo, in the orient when the gracious light
Lifts up his burning head, each under eye
Doth homage to his new-appearing sight,
Serving with looks his sacred majesty;
And having climb'd the steep-up heavenly hill,
Resembling strong youth in his middle age,
Yet mortal looks adore his beauty still,
Attending on his golden pilgrimage;
But when from high-most pitch, with weary car,
Like feeble age, he reeleth from the day,
The eyes, 'fore duteous, now converted are
From his low tract, and look another way:
So thou, thyself out-going in thy noon,
Unlook'd on diest, unless thou get a son.


Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly? Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy. Why lov'st thou that which thou receiv'st not gladly? Or else receiv'st with pleasure thine annoy? If the true concord of well-tuned sounds, By unions married, do offend thine ear, They do but sweetly chide thee, who confounds In singleness the parts that thou should'st bear. Mark, how one string, sweet husband to another, Strikes each in each, by mutual ordering; Resembling sire and child and happy mother, Who all in one, one pleasing note do sing: Whose speechless song, being many, seeming one, Sings this to thee, "thou single wilt prove none.'



IX. Is it for fear to wet a widow's That thou consum'st thyself in single life? Ah! if thou issueless shalt hap to die, The world will wail thee, like a makeless wife; The world will be thy widow, and still weep, That thou no form of thee hast left behind, When every private widow well may keep, By children's eyes, her husband's shape in mind. Look, what an unthrift in the world doth spend, Shifts but his place, for still the world enjoys it; But beauty's waste hath in the world an end, And kept unus'd, the user so destroys it. No love towards others in that bosom sits, That on himself such murderous shame commits.


For shame! deny that thou bear'st love to any,
Who for thyself art so unprovident.
Grant if thou wilt, thou art belov'd of many,
But that thou none lov'st, is most evident;
For thou art so possess'd with murderous hate,
That 'gainst thyself thou stick'st not to conspire;
Seeking that beauteous roof to ruinate,
Which to repair should be thy chief desire.
O, change thy thought, that I may change my mind!
Shall hate be fairer lodg'd than gentle love?
Be, as thy presence is, gracious and kind,
Or to thyself, at least, kind-hearted prove:
Make thee another self, for love of me,
That beauty still may live in thine or thee.

As fast as thou shalt wane, so fast thou grow'st
In one of thine, from that which thou departest;
Aud that fresh blood which youngly thou bestow'st,
Thou may'st call thine, when thou from youth con-
Hereinlives wisdom, beauty, and increase; [vertest.
Without this, folly, age, and cold decay:
If all were minded so, the times should cease,
And threescore years would make the world away.
Let those whom nature hath not made for store,
Harsh, featureless, and rude, barrenly perish:
Look, whom she best endow'd, she gave thee more;
Which bounteous gift thou should'st in bounty cher-
She carv'd thee for her seal, and meant thereby [ish:
Thou should'st print more, nor let that copy die.


When I do count the clock that tells the time,
And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;
When I behold the violet past prime,
And sable curls, all silver'd o'er with white;
When lofty trees I see barren of leaves,
Which erst from heat did canopy the herd,
And summer's green all girded up in sheaves,
Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard;
Then of thy beauty do I question make,
That thou among the wastes of time must go,
Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake,
And die as fast as they see others grow;

And nothing 'gainst time's scythe can make defence, Save breed, to brave him, when he takes thee hence.


O, that you were yourself! but, love, you are
No longer your's, than you yourself here live:
Against this coming end you should prepare,
And your sweet semblance to some other give.
So should that beauty which you hold in lease,
Find no determination: then you were
Yourself again, after yourself's decease,
When your sweet issue your sweet form should bear.
Who lets so fair a house fall to decay,
Which husbandry in honour might uphold,
Against the stormy gusts of winter's day,
And barren rage of death's eternal cold?

O! none but unthrifts :-Dear my love, you know, You had a father; let your son say so.


Not from the stars do I my judgment pluck;
And yet methinks I have astronomy;
But not to tell of good, or evil luck,
Of plagues, of dearths, or seasons' quality:
Nor can I fortune to brief minutes tell,
Pointing to each his thunder, rain, and wind;
Or say, with princes if it shall go well,
By oft predict that I in heaven find:
But from thine eyes my knowledge I derive,
And (constant stars) in them I read such art,
As truth and beauty shall together thrive,
If from thyself to store thou would'st convert:
Or else of thee this I prognosticate,

Thy end is truth's and beauty's doom and date.


When I consider every thing that grows
Holds in perfection but a little moment;
That this huge state presenteth nought but shews
Whereon the stars in secret influence comment;
When I perceive that men as plants increase,
Cheered and check'd even by the self-same sky;
Vaunt in their youthful sap, at height decrease,
And wear their brave state out of memory;
Then the conceit of this inconstant stay
Sets you most rich in youth before my sight,
Where wasteful time debateth with decay,
To change your day of youth to sullied night;
And, all in war with time, for love of you,
As he takes from you, I engraft you new.


But wherefore do not you a mightier way
Make war upon this bloody tyrant, Time?
And fortify yourself in your decay

With means more blessed than my barren rhyme?
Now stand you on the top of happy hours;
And many maiden gardens, yet unset,
With virtuous wish would bear you living flowers,
Much liker than your painted counterfeit :
So should the lines of life that life repair,
Which this, Time's pencil, or my pupil pen,
Neither in inward worth, nor outward fair,
Can make you live yourself in eyes of men.
To give away yourself, keeps yourself still;
And you must live, drawn by your own sweet skill.


Who will believe my verse in time to come,
If it were fill'd with your most high deserts?
Though yet heaven knows, it is but as a tomb
Which hides your life, and shews not half your parts.
If I could write the beauty of your eyes,
And in fresh numbers number all your graces,
The age to come would say, this poet lies,
Such heavenly touches ne'er touch'd earthly faces.
So should my papers, yellow'd with their age,
Be scorn'd, like old men of less truth than tongue;
And your true rights be term'd a poet's rage,
And stretched metre of an antique song:
But were some child of yours alive that time,
You should live twice;-in it, and in my rhyme.


Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date :
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.


Devouring Time, blunt thou the lion's paws,
And make the earth devour her own sweet brood;
Pluck the keen teeth from the fierce tiger's jaws,
And burn the long-liv'd phoenix in her blood;
Make glad and sorry seasons as thou fleet'st,
And do whate'er thou wilt, swift-footed Time,
To the wide world, and all her fading sweets;
But I forbid thee one most heinous crime:
O, carve not with thy hours my love's fair brow,
Nor draw no lines there with thine antique pen;
Him in thy course untainted do allow,
For beauty's pattern to succeeding men.
Yet, do thy worst, old Time: despite thy wrong,
My love shall in my verse ever live ven


A woman's face, with nature's own hand painted,
Hast thou, the master-mistress of my passion;
A woman's gentle heart, but not acquainted
With shifting change, as is false women's fasten
An eye more bright than theirs, less false in roža;
Gilding the object whereupon it gazeth;
A man in hue all hues in his controlling.
Which steals men's eyes, and women's souls amart.
And for a woman wert thou first created;
Till nature, as she wrought thee, fell a-doting,
And by addition me of thee defeated,
By adding one thing to my purpose nothing.
But since she prick'd thee out for women's plenty
Mine be thy love, and thy love's use their treasu


So is it not with me, as with that mase
Stirr'd by a painted beauty to his verse;
Who heaven itself for ornament doth use,
And every fair with his fair doth rehearse;
Making a couplement of proud compare,
With sun and moon, with earth and sea's rich gena.
With April's first-born flowers, and all things
That heaven's air in this huge rondure hems.
O let me, true in love, but truly write,
And then believe me, my love is as fair
As any mother's child, though not so bright
As those gold candles fix'd in heaven's air:
Let them say more that like of hear-say wel;
I will not praise, that purpose not to sell.

XXII. My glass shall not persuade me I am old, So long as youth and thou are of one date; But when in thee time's furrows I bebold, Then look I death my days should expiate. For all that beauty that doth cover thee, Is but the seemly raiment of my heart, Which in thy breast doth live, as thine in me How can I then be elder than thou art? O therefore, love, be of thyself so wary, As I not for myself but for thee will; Bearing thy heart, which I will keep so clary As tender nurse her babe from faring ill. Presume not on thy heart, when mine is slain Thou gav'st me thine, not to give back again


As an unperfect actor on the stage, Who with his fear is put besides his part, Or some fierce thing replete with too much n Whose strength's abundance weakens his own So I, for fear of trust, forget to say The perfect ceremony of love's rite, And in mine own love's strength seem to de | O'er-charg'd with burthen of mine own love's O, let my books be then the eloquence And dumb presagers of my speaking breast; Who plead for love, and look for recompence. More than that tongue that more hath more expres O, learn to read what silent love hath writ: To hear with eyes belongs to love's fine wit.


Mine eye hath play'd the painter, and hath ster
Thy beauty's form in table of my heart;
My body is the frame wherein 'tis held,
And perspective it is best painter's art.
For through the painter must you see his skil
To find where your true image pictur'd lies;
Which in my bosom's shop is hanging still,
That hath his windows glazed with thine eyes
Now see what good turns eyes for eyes have de
Mine eyes have drawn thy shape, and thine fe
Are windows to my breast, where-through the
Delights to peep, to gaze therein on thee;
Yet eyes this canning want to grace their art.
They draw but what they see, know not the be

« PreviousContinue »