« ForrigeFortsett »
Whereat a waxen torch forth with he lighteth,
Which must be load-star to his lustful eye :
And to the flame thus speaks advisedly;
¢ As from this fint I enforcéd this fire,
• So Lucrece must I force to my degre.'
Here pale with fear, he doth premeditate
The dangers of his loathsome enterprize ;
And in his inward mind he doth debate
What following forrow may on this arise :
Then looking scornfully he doth defpise
His naked armour of ftill flaughter'd luft,
And justly thus controuls his thoughts unjust.
Fair torch burn out thy light, and lend it not
To darken her, whofe light excelleth thine ::
And die unhallow'd thoughts, before you blot
With your uncleanness, that which is divine.
Offer pure incense to fo pure a shrine ::
Let fair humanity abhor the deed,
That fpots and stains love's inodelt fnow-white
[weed. O shame to knighthood, and to shining arms ! O foul dishonour to my houshold's grave!
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.
Yes, tho' I die, the fcandal will survive,
And be an eye-fore in my golden coat:
Some loathsome dash the herald will contrive.
To cypher me how fondly I did dote :
That my posterity shamed with the notes
Shall curse my bones, and hold it for no ling
To with that I their father had not been.
What win I, if I gain the thing I feek?
A dream, a breath, a froth of fleeting joy,
Who buys a minute's mirth, to wail a week ?
Or fells 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 scepter Atrait be ftrucken down
If Colatinus dream of my intent,
Will he not wake, and in a desperate rage
Poft hither, this vile purpose to prevent ?
This frege, that hath ingirt his marriage,
This blur to youth, this forrow to the fage,
This dying virtue, this surviving Thame,
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 forgo 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 Colatinus kill'd my son or fire,
Or lain in ambuth 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 quital of such strife :
But as he is my kinsman, my dear friend,
The shame and fault fiods no excufe nor endo
Shameful it is, if once 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 law,
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 worfer sense for 'vantage ftill ;
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 fome bad news from the warlike band's
Where her beloved Colatinus lies.
O how her fear did make her colour rire !
First, red as rofes, that on lawn we lay,
Then white as lawn, the roses took away.
And now her hand in my hand being lock’d,-
Forcd it to tremble with her loyal fear :
Which strook her fad, and then it faster rock'd.
Until her husband's welfare she did hear
Whereat she smiled with so sweet a chear,
That had Narciffus seen her as she stood,
Self-love had never drown'd him in the flood,
Why hunt I then for colour or excuses ?
All ocators are dumb, when beauty pleads.
Poor wretches have remorse in poor abuses;
Love thrives not in the heart, that shadows dread's
'Affection is my captain, and be leads;
And when his gaudy banner is display'd.
The coward fights, and will not be dismay'd.
Then childish fear avant ! debating die !
Ripect and reason wait on wrinkled age !
My heart fhall never countermand mine eye,
Sad paule and deep regard beseems the sage ;
My part is youth, and beats these from the stage.
Desire my pilot is, beauty my prize ;
Then who fears finking, where such treafure lies!
As corn o'ergrown by weeds, so heedful fear
Is almost cloak'd by unrefifted luft.
Away he steals with open liftning ear,
Full of foul hope, and full of fond miftru£t :
Both which, as fervitors 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 fits,
And in the self-fame feat fits Colatine,
That eye which looks on her, confounds his wite;
That eye which him beholds, as more divine,
Unto a view fo 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 fatter'd by their leaders jocund show,
Stuff up his lust, as minutes fill up hours;
And as their captain so their pride doth grow,
Paying more llavih tribute than they owe.
By reprobate desire thus madly led,
The Roman lord doth march to Lucrece' bed.
The locks between her chamber and his will,
Each one by him enforc'd, recites 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 wand'ring weezels shriek to see him there,
They fright him,, yet he still pursues his feara
As each unwilling portal yields him way,
Thro’ little vents and crannies of the place,
The wind wars with his torch to make him say,
And blows the smoke of it into his face,
Extinguishing his conduct in this case.
But his hot heart, which fond defire doth scorch
Puffs forth another wind that fires the torch.
And being lighted by the light he spies
Lucretia's glove, wherein the needle sticks;
He takes it from the rushes where it lies,
And griping it, the needle his finger pricks :
As who should say, tbis glove to wanton tricks:
Is not inur'd; return again in hafte,
Thou seest our mistress' ornaments are chaste:
But all these poor forbiddings could not fay him,
He in the worst fenfe conftrues their denial :
The doors, the wind, the glove, that did delay him,,
He takes for accidental things of trial,
Os as those bars which stop the hourly dial ;
Which with a lingring stay his course doth lety,
Till every minute pays the hour his debt.