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“Why should the private pleasure of some one *It cannot be,' quoth she, “that so much guile'Become the public plague of many moe? She would have said .can lurk in such a look'; Let sin, alone committed, light alone 1480 But Tarquin's shape came in her mind the while, Upon his head that hath transgressed so ; And from her tongue 'can lurk' from 'cannot' Let guiltless souls be freed from guilty woe :

took : For one's offence why should so many fall, It cannot be,' she in that sense forsook, To plague a private sin in general ?

And turn'd it thus, 'It cannot be, I find,

But such a face should bear a wicked mind: *Lo! here weeps Hecuba, here Priam dies, Here manly Hector faints, here Troilus swounds, For even as subtle Sinon here is painted, Here friend by friend in bloody channel lies, So sober-sad, so weary, and so mild, And friend to friend gives unadvised wounds, As if with grief or travail he had fainted, And one man's lust these many lives confounds: To me came Tarquin armed ; so beguild

Had doting Priam check'd his son's desire, With outward honesty, but yet defil'd Troy had been bright with fame and not with With inward vice : as Priam him did cherish, fire.'

So did I Tarquin; so my Troy did perish. Here feelingly she weeps Troy's painted woes ;

'Look, look, how listening Priam wets his eyes, For sorrow, like a heavy-hanging bell,

To see those borrow'd tears that Sinon sheds ! Once set on ringing, with his own weight goes; Priam, why art thou old and yet not wise ! 1:59 Then little strength rings out the doleful knell : For every tear he falls a Trojan bleeds : So Lucrece, set a-work, sad tales doth tell

His eye drops fire, no water thence proceeds; To pencill'd pensiveness and colour'd sorrow;

Those round clear pearls of his, that move thy She lends them words, and she their looks

pity, doth borrow.

Are balls of quenchless fire to burn thy city. She throws her eyes about the painting round, And whom she finds forlorn she doth lament:

‘Such devils steal effects from lightless hell; At last she sees a wretched image bound,

For Sinon in his fire doth quake with cold, That piteous looks to Phrygian shepherds lent; These contraries such unity do hold,

And in that cold hot-burning fire doth dwell; His face, though full of cares, yet show'd con

Only to flatter fools and make them bold:

So Priam's trust false Sinon's tears doth flatter, Onward to Troy with the blunt swains he

That he finds means to burn his Troy with goes,

water.' So mild, that Patience seem'd to scorn his

Here, all enrag'd, such passion her assails, In him the painter labour'd with his skill That patience is quite beaten from her breast. To hide deceit, and give the harmless show

She tears the senseless Sinon with her nails, An humble gait, calm looks, eyes wailing still,

Comparing him to that unhappy guest A brow unbent that seem'd to welcome woe;

Whose deed hath made herself herself detest: Cheeks neither red nor pale, but mingled so 1510

At last she smilingly with this gives o'er ; That blushing red no guilty instance gave, * Fool! fool!' quoth she, ‘his wounds will Nor ashy pale the fear that false hearts have.

not be sore. But, like a constant and confirmed devil, Thus ebbs and Aows the current of her sorrow, He entertain'd a show so seeming-just,

And time doth weary time with her complaining, And therein so ensconc'd his secret evil, She looks for night, and then she longs for That jealousy itself could not mistrust False-keeping craft and perjury should thrust And both she thinks too long with herremainicg:

Into so bright a day such black-fac'd storms, Short time seems long in sorrow's sharp susOr blot with hell-born sin such saint-like taining : forms.

Though woe be heavy, yet it seldom sleeps;

And they that watch see time how slow it The well-skill'd workman this mild image drew creeps. For perjur'd Sinon, whose enchanting story 1521 The credulous old Priam after slew;

Which all this time bath overslipp'd her thought, Whose words like wildfire burnt the shining That she with painted images hath spent ; glory

Being from the feeling of her own grief brougbt Of rich-built Ilion, that the skies were sorry, By deep surmise of others' detriment;

And little stars shot from their fixed places, Losing her woes in shows of discontent. When their glass fell wherein they view'd It easeth some, though none it ever curd, their faces.

To think their dolour others have endur'd.

tent ;




This picture she advisedly perus’d,

But now the mindful messenger, come back,
And chid the painter for his wondrous skill, Brings home his lord and other company,
Saying, some shape in Sinon's was abus'd; Who finds his Lucrece clad in mourning black;
So fair a form lodg'd not a mind so ill : 1530 | And round about her tear-distained eye
And still on him she gaz'd, and gazing still, Blue circles stream'd, like rainbows in the sky:

Such signs of truth in his plain face she spied, These water-galls in her dim element
That she concludes the picture was belied. Foretell new storms to those already spent.


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For in the dreadful dead of dark midnight, With shining falchion in my chamber came A creeping creature, with a flaming light, And softly cried "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."

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With this I did begin to start and cry,

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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



From what is past the help that thou shalt
lend me

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 mine;
For 'tis a meritorious fair design


To chase injustice with revengeful arms:
Knights, by their oaths, should right poor
ladies' harms.'

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
'How may this forced stain be wip'd from me?



'Poor broken glass, I often did behold
In thy sweet semblance my old age new born;
But now that fair fresh mirror, dim and old,
Shows me a bare-bon'd death by time outworn
O! from thy cheeks my image thou hast torn,
And shiver'd all the beauty of my glass.
That I no more can see what once I was.

'O Time! cease thou thy course, and last no longer,

If they surcease to be that should survive.
Shall rotten death make conquest of the stronger,
And leave the faltering feeble souls alive!
The old bees die, the young possess their hive:
Then live, sweet Lucrece, live again and see
Thy father die, and not thy father thee.' m

By this starts Collatine as from a dream,
And bids Lucretius give his sorrow place;
And then in key-cold Lucrece' bleeding stream
He falls, and bathes the pale fear in his face,
And counterfeits to die with her a space;

Till manly shame bids him possess his breath
And live to be revenged on her death.

The deep vexation of his inward soul
Hath serv'd a dumb arrest upon his tongue;
Who, mad that sorrow should his use control,
Or keep him from heart-easing words so long.
Begins to talk; but through his lips do throug
Weak words so thick, come in his poor heart's

That 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: 199
Then son and father weep with equal strife
Who should weep most, for daughter or for

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'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; 1710
While with a joyless smile she turns away
The face, that map which deep impression bears
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


But more than 'he' her poor tongue could not

Till after many accents and delays,
Untimely breathings, sick and short assays, 1720
She utters this, 'He, he, fair lords, 'tis he,
That guides this hand to give this wound to


Even here she sheathed in her harmless breast
A harmful knife, that thence her soul un-

That blow did bail it from the deep unrest
Of that polluted prison where it breathed;
Her contrite sighs unto the clouds bequeathed
Her winged sprite, and through her wounds
doth fly

Life's lasting date from cancell'd destiny.

Stone-still, astonish'd with this deadly deed,
Stood Collatine and all his lordly crew;
Till 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
In two slow rivers, that the crimson blood
Circles her body in on every side,
Who like a late-sack'd island, vastly stood, 1740
Bare and unpeopled in this fearful flood.

Some of her blood still pure and red remain'd,
And some look'd black, and that false Tarquin

About the mourning and congealed face
Of that black blood a watery rigol goes,
Which seems to weep upon the tainted place :
And ever since, as pitying Lucrece' woes,
Corrupted blood some watery token shows;

And blood untainted still doth red abide,
Blushing at that which is so putrified.


'Daughter, dear daughter!' old Lucretius cries, 'That life was mine which thou hast here


If in the child the father's image lies,
Where shall I live now Lucrece is unliv'd?
Thou wast not to this end from me deriv'd.
If children pre-decease progenitors,
We are their offspring, and they none of ours.

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 her 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

I ow'd her, and 'tis mine that she hath kill'd'
'My daughter' and 'my wife' with clamours

The dispers'd air, who, holding Lucrece' life,
Answer'd their cries, my daughter' and my

Brutus, who pluck'd the knife from Lucrece'

Seeing such emulation in their woe,
Began to clothe his wit in state and pride,
Burying in Lucrece' wound his folly's show.
He with the Romans was esteemed so

As silly-jeering idiots are with kings,
For sportive words and uttering foolish things:

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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

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.

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Unthrifty loveliness, why dost thou spend
Upon thyself thy beauty's legacy?
Nature's bequest gives nothing, but doth lend,
And being frank, she lends to those are free:
Then, beauteous niggard, why dost thou abuse
The bounteous largess given thee to give?
Profitless usurer, why dost thou use
So great a sum of sums, yet canst not live!
For having traffic with thyself alone,
Thou of thyself thy sweet self dost deceive:
Then how, when Nature calls thee to be gone,
What acceptable audit canst thou leave?


Thy unus'd beauty must be tomb'd with thee Which, used, lives the executor to be.

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