Sidebilder
PDF
ePub
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][subsumed]

To the Right Honourable

HENRr W RIOTHESLY,

WR

Earl of Southampton, and Baron of Tichfield.

Right Honourable,

The love I dedicate to your lordship is without end: whereof this pamphlet, without beginning, is but a superfluous moiety. The warrant I have of your honourable disposition, not the worth of my untutor'd lines, makes it assured of acceptance. What I have done is yours, what I have to do is yours, being part in all I have devoted yours. Were my worth greater, my duty fhould fhew greater : mean time, as it is, it is bound to your lordfhip: to whom I with long life, fill lengthened with all happiness.

Your Lordship’s in all duty,

Will. Shakefpears

The ARGUMENT.

.

Lucius Tarquinius (for his excessive pride sure named Superbus) after he had caused his father-inlaw, Servius Tullius, to be cruelly murdered, and contrary to the Roman laws and customs, not requiring or staying for the people's fuffrages, had poffeffed himself of the kingdom; went, accompanied with his fons, and other noblemen of Rome, to besiege Ardea. During which fiege, the principal men of the army meeting one evening at the tent of Sextus Tarquinius, the king's son, in their discourses after supper, every one commended the virtues of his own wife ; among whom Colatinus extolled the incomparable chastity of his wife Lucrece. In that pleasant humour they all posted to Rome; and intending, by their secret and sudden arrival, to make trial of that which every one had before avouched : only Colatinus finds his wife (though it were late in the night) spinning amongst her maids, the other ladies were found all dancing and revelling, or in several disports. Whereupon the noblemen yielded Colatinus the victory, and his wife the fame. At that time, Sextus Tarquinius being inflamed with Lucrece's beauty, yet smothering his pallion for the present, departed with the reft back to the camp ; from whence he shortly after privily withdrew herself, and was (according to his state) royally entertained, and lodged by Lucrece at Colatium. The same night, he treacherously stealing into her chamber, violently ravished her ; and early in the morning specded away. Lucrece, in

a

this lamentable plight, hastily dispatcheth messengers, one to Rome for her father, another to the camp for Colatine. They came, the one accomnied with Junius Brutus, the other with Publius Valerius: and finding Lucrece attired in a mourning habit, demanded the cause of her forrow. She first taking an oath of them for her revenge, revealed the actor, and whole matter of his dealing, and withai suddenly stabbed herself. Which done, with one consent, they all vowed to root out the whole hated family of the Tarquins : and bearing the dead body to Rome, Brutus acquainted the people with the doer, and manner of the vile deed ; with a bitter invective against the tyranny of the king : wherewith the people were so moved, that with one consent, and a general acclamation, the Tarquins were all exiled, and the state government changed, from kings to consule.

TARQUIN and LUCRE C E.

FR

"ROM the besieg'd Ardea all in post,

Born by the trustless wings of falfe desire,
Last-breathing Tarquin leaves the Roman host,
And to Colatium bears the lightless fire,
Which in pale embers 'hid, lurks to aspire,

And girdle, with embracing flames, the waste
Of Colatine's fair love, Lucrece the chaste.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Haply that name of chaste, unhaply set
This baitless edge on his keen appetite :
When Colatine unwisely did not let,
To praise the clear unmatched red and white,
Which triumph'd in that sky of his delight;

Where mortal star, as bright as heaven's beauties,

With pure aspects did him peculiar duties,
For he the night before, in Tarquin's tent,
Unlock'd the treasure of his happy ftate :
What prizeless wealth the heavens had him lent,
In the possession of his beauteous mate ;
Reckoning his fortune at so high a rate,

That kings might be espoused to more fame,
But king nor prince to such a peerless dame.

O happiness enjoy'd but of a few!
And if pofiess'd, as foon decay'd and done!
As is the morning's filver melting dew,
Against the golden splendor of the sun ;
A date expir'd and cancel’d ere begun.

« ForrigeFortsett »