« PredošláPokračovať »
“O what excuse can my invention make, Within his thought her heavenly image sits,
And therein beartens up his servile powers,
Who, flatter'd by their leader's jocund show, Or were he not my dear friend, this desire
Stuff up his lust, as minutes fill up hours ; Might have excuse to work upon his wife; And as their captain, so their pride doth grow, As in revenge or quittal of such strife:
Paying more slavish tribute than they owe.
By reprobate desire thus madly led,
Each one by Irim enforc'd, retires his ward ;
Which drives the creeping thief to some regard : My will is strong, past reason's weak removing. The threshold grates the door to have him heard ; Who fears a sentence or an old man's saw,
Night-wandring weasels sbriek to see him there; Shall by a painted cloth be kept in awe.”
They fright him, yet he still pursues his fear. Thus, graceless, holds he disputation
As each unwilling portal yields him way, 'Tween frozen conscience and hot-burning will, Through little vents and crannies of the place And with good thoughts makes dispensation, The wind wars with his torch, to make him stay, Urging the worser sense for vantage still;
And blows the smoke of it into his face, Which in a moment doth confound and kill Extinguishing his conduct in this case; All pure effects, and doth so far proceed,
But his hut heart, which fond desire doth scorch, That what is vile shows like a virtuous deed. Puffs forth another wind that fires the torch: Quoth he, “ She took me kindly by the hand, And being lighted, by the light he spies And gaz'd for tidings in my eager eyes,
Lucretia's glove, wherein her needle sticks; Fearing some hard news from the warlike band He takes it from the rushes where it lies; Where her beloved Collatinus lies.
And griping it, the neeld his finger pricks: O how her fear did make her colour rise !
As who should say, “ This glove to wanton tricks First red as roses that on lawn we lay,
Is not inur'd; return again in haste; Then white as lawn, the roses took away.
Thou seest our mistress' ornaments are chaste." “ And how her hand, in my hand being lock'd, But all these poor forbiddings could not stay him; Forc'd it to tremble with her loyal fear!
He in the worst sense construes their denial : Which struck her sad, and then it faster rock'd, The doors, the wind, the glove that did delay him, Until her husband's welfare she did hear;
He takes for accidental things of trial; Whereat she smiled with so sweet a cheer,
Or as those bars which stop the hourly dial, That bad Narcissus seen her as she stood,
Who with a ling'ring stay his course doth let, Self-love had never drown'd him in the flood.
Till every minute pays the hour his debt. “ Why hunt I then for colour or excuses ?
“ So, so," quoth he, " these lets attend the time, All orators are dumb when beauty pleadeth; Like little frosts that sometime threat the spring, Poor wretches have remorse in poor abuses; To add a more rejoicing to the prime, Love thrives not in the heart that shadows dreadeth: And give the sneaped birds more cause to sing, Affection is my captain, and he leadeth ;
Pain pays the income of each precious thing; (sands, And when his gaudy banner is display'd,
Huge rocks, high winds, strong pirates, shelves and The coward fights, and will not be dismay'd. The merchant fears, ere rich at home he lands.”
“ Then childish fear avaunt ! debating die ! Now is he come unto the chamber door
That for his prey to pray he doth begiu,
Having solicited the eternal power,
That bis foul thoughts might compass his fair fair,
Ev'n there he starts:-quoth he, “I must deflower So cross him with their opposite persuasion, The powers to whom I pray, abhor this fact, That now he vows a league, and now invasion. How can they then assist me in the act?
THE RAPE OF LUCRECE.
What did he note, but strongly he desired ?
His rage of lust by gazing qualified ;
Unto a greater uproar tempts his veins :
And they, like straggling slaves for pillage fighting,
Obdurate vassals, fell exploits effecting,
In bloody death and ravishment delighting,
Nor children's tears, nor mothers' groans respecting,
Swell in their pride, the onset still expecting :
His drumming heart cheers up his burning eye,
On her bare breast, the heart of all her land;
Do tell her she is dreadfully beset,
And fright her with confusion of their cries :
Imagine her as one in dead of night
From forth dull sleep by dreadful fancy waking,
Whose grim aspect sets every joint a shaking;
The sight which makes supposed terrour true.
Wrapp'd and confounded in a thousand fears,
She dares not look; yet, winking, there appears
Who, angry that the eyes fly from their lights,
In darkness daunts them with more dreadful sights.
(Rude ram, to batter such an ivory wall!)
Wounding itself to death, rise up and fall,
Beating her bulk, that his hand shakes withal.
To sound a parley to his heartless foe,
The reason of this rash alarm to know,
But she with vehement prayers urgeth still,
Thus he replies: “ The colour in thy face Here with a cockatrice' dead-killing eye, (That even for anger makes the lily pale,
He rouseth up himself, and makes a pause, And the red rose blush at her own disgrace) While she, the picture of pure piety, Shall plead for me, and tell my loving tale: Like a white hind under the grype's sharp claws, Under that colour am I come to scale
Pleads in a wilderness, where are no laws, Thy never-conquer'd fort; the fault is thine, To the rough beast that knows no gentle right, For those thine eyes betray thee unto mine. Nor aught obeys but his foul appetite. " Thus I forestall thee, if thou mean to chide: Look, when a black-fac'd cloud the world doth threa, Thy beauty hath ensnar'd thee to this night, In his dim mist th' aspiring mountains hiding, Where thou with patience must my will abide, From earth's dark womb some gentle gust doth get, My will that marks thee for my earth's delight, Which blows these pitchy vapours from their biding, Which I to conquer sought with all my might; Hindering their present fall by this dividing; But as reproof and reason beat it dead,
So his unhallow'd haste her words delays, By thy bright beauty was it newly bred.
And moody Pluto winks while Orpheus plays. “ I see what crosses my attempt will bring; Yet, foul night-waking cat, he doth but dally, I know what thorns the growing rose defends; While in his hold-fast foot the weak mouse panteth: I think the honey guarded with a sting;
Her sad behaviour feeds his vulture folly, All this, beforehand, counsel comprehends: A swallowing gulf that ev'n in plenty wanteth: But will is deaf, and hears no heedful friends ; His ear her prayers admits, but his heart granteth Only he hath an eye to gaze on beauty,
No penetrable entrance to her plaining; And dotes on what he looks, 'gajost law or duty. Tears harden lust, though marble wear with raining. “ I have debated, even in my soul,
Her pity-pleading eyes are sadly fixed What wrong, what shame, what sorrow I shall breed; in the remorseless wrinkles of his face; But nothing can affection's course control,
Her modest eloquence with sighs is mixed, Or stop the headlong fury of his speed.
Which to her oratary adds more grace. I know repentant tears ensue the deed,
She puts the period often from his place, Reproach, disdain, and deadly enmity;
And midst the sentence so her accent breaks, Yet strive I to embrace mine infamy."
That twice she doth begin ere once she speaks. This said, he shakes aloft his Roman blade, She conjures him by high almighty Jove, Which like a faulcon towering in the skies,
By knighthood, gentry, and sweet friendship's oath, Coucheth the fowl below with his wings' shade, By her untimely tears, her husband's love, Whose crooked beak threats if he mount he dies : By holy human law, and common troth, So under the insulting falchion lies
By Heaven and Earth, and all the power of both, Harmless Lucretia, marking what he tells,
That to his borrow'd bed he make retire, With trembling fear, as fowl hear faulcons' bells. And stoop to honour, not to foul desire. “Lucrece," quoth he, “this night I must enjoy thee: Quoth she, “ Reward not hospitality If thou deny, then force must work my way, With such black payment as thou hast pretended; For in thy bed I purpose to destroy thee;
Mud not the fountain that gave drink to thee; That done, some worthless slave of thine I 'll slay, Mar not the thing that cannot be amended; To kill thine honour with thy life's decay; End thy ill aim, before thy shoot be ended: And in thy dead arms do I mean to place him, He is no wood-man that doth bend his bow Swearing I slew bim, seeing thee embrace him. To strike a poor unseasonable doe. “ So thy surviving husband shall remain
“ My husband is thy friend, for his sake spare me; The scornful mark of every open eye;
Thyself art mighty, for thine own sake leave me; Thy kinsmen hang their heads at this disdain, Myself a weakling, do not then ensnare me. Thy issue blurr'd with nameless bastardy:
Thou look'st not like deceit; do not deceive me: And thou, the author of their obloquy,
My sighs, like whirlwiods, labour bence to heave thee. Shall have thy trespass cited up in rhymes, If ever man were mov'd with woman's moans, And sung by children in succeeding tiines.
Be moved with my tears, my sighs, my groans ; “ But if thou yield, I rest thy secret friend : “ All which together, like a troubled ocean, The fault unknown is as a thought unacted; Beat at thy rocky and wreck-threatening heart, A little harm, done to a great good end,
To soften it with their continual motion;
For stones dissolv'd to water do convert.
Melt at my tears and be compassionate!
Soft pity enters at an iron gate. “ Then for thy husband's and thy children's sake, “ In Tarquin's likeness I did entertain thee: Tender my suit: bequeath not to their lot
Hast thou pet on his shape to do bim shame? The shame that from them no device can take, To all the host of Heaven I complain me, (name. The blemish that will never be forgot ;
Thou wrong'st his honour, wound'st his princely Worse than a slavish wipe, or birth-hour's blot : Thou art not what thou seem'st; and if the same, For marks descried in men's nativity
Thou seem'st not what thou art, a god, a king ; Are Nature's faults, not their own infamy." For kings like gods should govern every thing.
" How will thy shame be seeded in thine age, “ So let thy thoughts, low vassals to thy state" | When thus thy vices bud before thy spring ? “No more," quoth he, “by Heaven I will not bear If in thy hope thou dar'st do such outrage, Yield to my love ; if not, enforced hate, (thee: What darist thou not when once thou art a king ? Instead of love's coy touch, shall rudely tear thee; O be remember'd, no outrageous thing
That done, despitefully I mean to bear thee
Unto the base bed of some rascal groom,
When most unseen, then most doth tyrannize. If but for fear of this, thy will remove;
The wolf hath seiz'd his prey, the poor lamb cries, For princes are the glass, the school, the book, Till with her own white fleece her voice controllid Where sabjects' eyes do learn, do read, do look. Entombs her outcry in her lips' sweet fold : * And wilt thou be the school where lust shalllearn? For with the nightly linen that she wears, Must be in thee read lectures of such shame? He pens her piteous clamours in her head; Wilt thou be glass, wherein it shall discer Cooling his hot face in the cbastest tears Authority for sin, warrant for blame,
That ever modest eyes with sorrow shed. To privilege dishonour in thy name?
O, that prone lust should stain so pure a bed ! Thou back'st reproach against long-living laud, The spots whereof could weeping purify, And mak'st fair reputation but a bawd.
Her tears should drop on them perpetually. “ Hast thou command ? by him that gave it thee, But she hath lost a dearer thing than life, From a pure heart command thy rebel will: And he hath won what he would lose again, Draw not thy sword to guard iniquity,
This forced league doth force a further strife, For it was lent thee all that brood to kill.
This momentary joy breeds months of pain,
This bot desire converts to cold disdain:
Look as the full-fed hound or gorged hawk,
Unapt for tender smell or speedy flight,
His taste delicious, in digestion souring,
Can comprehend io still imagination !
Drunken desire must vomit his receipt, Let him return, and flattering thoughts retire: Ere he can see his own abomination. His true respect will ’prison false desire,
While lust is in his pride, no exclamation And wipe the dim mist from thy doting eyne, Can curb his heat, or rein his rash desire, That thou shalt see thy state, and pity mine." Till, like a jade, self-will himself doth tire. " Hare done,” quoth he; “my uncontrolled tide And then with lank and lean discolour'd cheek, Tarns rot, but swells the higher by this let. With heavy eye, knit brow, and strengthless pace, Small lights are soon blown out, huge fires abide, Feeble desire, all recreant, poor, and meek, And with the wind in greater fury fret:
Like to a bankrupt beggar wails his case: The petty streams that pay a daily debt
The flesh being proud, desire doth fight with grace, To their salt sovereign, with their fresh falls' haste, For there it revels; and when that decays, Add to his flow, but alter not his taste."
The guilty rebel for remission prays. “ Thou art," quoth she, “a sea, a sovereigo king; So fares it with this faultful lord of Rome, And lo, tbete falls into thy boundless flood Who this accomplishment so hotly chased; Black lust, dishonour, shame misgoverning, For now against himself be sounds this doom, Who seek to stain the ocean of thy blood. That through the length of times he stands disgraced: If all these petty ills shall change thy good, Besides, his soul's fair temple is defaced; Thy sea within a puddle's womb is hersed, To whose weak ruins muster troops of cares, And not the puddle in thy sea dispersed.
To ask the spotted princess how she fares. "So shall these slaves be king, and thon their slave; she says, her subjects with foul insurrection Thon pobly base, they basely dignified ;
Have batter'd down her consecrated wall, Thon their fair life, and they thy fouler grave; And by their mortal fault brought in subjection Thoa loathed in their shame, they in thy pride : Her immortality, and made her thrall The lesser thing should not the greater hide ; To living death, and pain perpetual: The cedar stoops not to the base shrub's foot, Which in her prescience she controlled still, But low shrubs wither at the cedar's root. But her fore-sight could not fore-stall their will. VOL V.
Even in his thought, throngh the dark night he “ Where now I have no one to blash with me,
Mingling my talk with tears, my grief with groans, And he the burthen of a guilty mind.
Poor wasting monuments of lasting moans. He, like a theevish dog, creeps sadly thence, “ O Night, thou furnace of foul-reeking smoke, She like a wearied lamb lies panting there; Let not the jealous day behold that face He scouls, and hates himself for his offence, Which underneath thy black all-biding cloke She desperate, with her nails her flesh doth tear; Immodestly lies martyr'd with disgrace! He faintly flies, sweating with guilty fear;
Keep still possession of thy gloomy place, She stays exclaiming on the direful night,
That all the faults which in thy reign are made, He runs, and chides his vanish'd, loath'd, delight. May likewise be sepùlcher'd in thy shade! He thence departs a heavy convertite,
" Make me not object to the tell-tale day! She there remains a hopeless cast-away:
The light will show, charàcter'd in my brow,
The impious breach of holy wedlock's vow :
Will quote my loathsome trespass in my looks.
Will couple my reproach to Tarquin's shame: For they their guilt with weeping will unfold, Feast-finding minstrels, tuning my defame, And grave, like water that doth eat in steel, Will tie the hearers to attend each line, Upon my cheeks what helpless shame I feel." How Tarquin wronged me, I Collatine. Here she exclaims against repose and rest, “ Let my good name, that senseless reputation, And bids her eyes hereafter still be blind.
For Collatine's dear love be kept unspotted : She wakes her heart by beating on her breast, If that be made a theine for disputation, And bids it leap from thence, where it may find The branches of another root are rotted, Some purer chest, to close so pure a mind.
And undeservd reproach to him allotted, Frantic with grief thus breathes she forth her spite That is as clear from this attaint of mine, Against the unseen secresy of night.
As I, ere this, was pure to Collatine. “ O comfort-killing Night, image of Hell ! “ O unseen shame! invisible disgrace! Dim register and notary of shame!
O unfelt sore! crest-wounding, private scar! Black stage for tragedies and murders fell! Reproach is stamp'd in Collatinus' face, Vast sin-concealing chaos! nurse of blame ! And Tarquin's eye may read the mot afar, Blind muffled bawd! dark harbour for defame ! How he in peace is wounded, not in war. Grim cave of death, whispering conspirator
Alas, how many bear such shameful blows, With close-tongued treason and the ravisber! Which not themselves, but he that gives them, knows!
" O hateful, vaporous and foggy Night,
“ With rotten damps ravish the morning air;
“ If, Collatine, thine honour lay in me,