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THE RAPE OF LUCRECE.
TO The Right HONOURABLE HENRY WRIOTHESLY,
Earl of Southampton, and Baron of Tichfield. 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 untutored 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 would shew greater; mean time, as it is, it is bound to your lordship, to whom I wish long life, still lengthened with happiness.
Your lordship’s in all duty,
in the morning speedeth away. Lucrece, in this la. mentable plight, hastily despatcheth messengers, one to Rome for her father, another to the camp for Collatine. They came, the one accompanied with Junius Brutus, the other with Publius Valerius; and finding Lucrece attired in mourning habit, demandet ihe cause of her sorrow. She, first taking an oath of them for her revenge, revealed the actor, and whole manner of his dealiny, amd withal 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 eriled, and the state government changed from kings to consuls.
From the besieg'd Ardea aal in post,
Borne by the trustless wings of false desire, Lucius TARQUINIUS, (for his excessive pride sur-Lust-breathed Tarquin leaves the Roman host,
named Superbus) after he had caused his own And to Collatium bears the lightless fire, father-in-law, Servius Tullius, to be cruelly mur. Which, in pale embers hid, lurks to aspire, dered, and, contrary to the Roman laws and customs, And girdle with embracing flames the waist not requiring or staying for the people's suffrages, Of Collatine's fair love, Lucrece the chaste. had possessed himself of the kingdom ; went, accompanied with his sons, and other noblemen of Rome, Haply that name of chaste unhapp'ly set to besiege Ardea. During which siege, ihe prin- This bateless edge on his keen appetite; cipal men of the army meeting one evening at When Collatine unwisely did not let the tent of Sextus Tarquinius, the king's son, in To praise the clear unmatched red and white their discourses after supper every one commended Which triumph'd in that sky of his delight; the virtues of his own wife ; among whom, Col Where mortal stars, as bright as heaven's beauties, latinus extolled the incomparable chastity of his wife With pure aspects did him peculiar duties. Lucretia. In that pleasant humour they all posted to Rome; and intending, by their secret and sud- For he the night before, in Tarquin's tent, den arrival, to make trial of that which every one Unlock'd the treasure of his happy state: had before avouched, only Collatinus finds his wife What priceless wealth the heavens had him lent (though it were late in the night) spinning amongst In the possession of his
eauteous mate; her maids; the other ladies were all found dancing Reckoning nis fortune at such high-proud rate, and revelling, or in several disports. Whereupon That kings might be espoused to more fame, the noblemen yielded Collatinus ihe victory, and his But king nor peer to such a peerless dame. wife the fame. At that time, Sextus Tarquinius being influmed with Lucrece' beauty, yet smoinering i O happiness enjoy'd but of a tew! his passions for the present, departed with the rest And, if possess'd, as soon decay'd and done back to the camp; from whence he shortly after As is the morning's silver-melting dew privily withdrew himself, and was ( according to his Against the golden splendour of the sun! state) royally entertained and lodged by Lucrece at an expir'd date, cancel'd ere well begun: Collatium. 'She same night, he treacherously steuleth Honour and beauty, in the owner's arms, irto hor chamber, violently ravished her, and early Are weakly fortress'd from a world of harms
Beauty itself doth of itself persuade
Foc that he colour'd with his high estate, The eyes of men without an orator;
Hiding base sin in plaits of majesty; What needeth theu apology be made,
That nothing in him seem'd inordinate, To set forth that which is so singular ?
Save sometime too much wonder of his eye, Or why is Collatine the publisher
Which, having all, all could not satisfy; Of that rich jewel he should keep unknown But, poorly rich, so wanteth in his store, From thievish ears, because it is his own?
That cloy'd with much, he pineth still for more. Perchance his boast of Lucrece' sovereignty But she, that never cop'd with stranger eyes, Suggested this proud issue of a king;
Could pick no meaning from their parling looks, For by our ears sur hearts oft tainted be
Nor read the subtle-shining secrecies Perchance that envy of so rich a thing,
Writ in the glassy margents of such oooks; Braving compare, disdainfully did sting
She touch'd no unknown baits, nor fear'd ro booka; His high-pitch'd thoughts, that meaner men should Nor could she moralize his wanton sight, vaunt
More than his eyes were open'd to the light. That golden hap which their superiors want.
He stories to her ears her husband's fame,
Won in the fields of fruitful Italy;
With bruised arms and wreaths of victory;
And wordless so, greets hearen for bis success. Thy hasty spring still blasts, and ne'er grows old.
Far from the purpose of his coming hither,
He makes excuses for his being there.
And in her vaulty prison stows the day.
For then is Tarquin brought unto his bed, But beauty, in that white intitutled,
Intending weariness with heavy spright; From Venus' doves doth challenge that fair field; For, aster supper, long he questioned Then virtue claims from beauty beauty's red, With modest Lucrece, and wore out the night, Which virtue gave the golden age to gild
Now leaden slumber with life's strength doth Sgat; Their silver cheeks, and call'd it then their shield; And every one to rest himself betakes, Teaching them thus to use it in the fight,- Save thieves, and cares, and troubled minds, that When shame assail'd, the red should fence the white.
wakes. This helraldry in Lucrece' face was seen,
As one of which doth Tarquin lie revolving Argued by beauty's red, and virtue's white. The sundry dangers of his will's obtaining; of either's colour was the other queen,
Yet ever to obtain his will resolving, Ling: Proving from world's minority their right:
Though weak-built hopes persuade him to abstain. Yet their ambition makes them still to fight; Despair to gain, doth traffic oft for gaining; The sovereignty of either being so great,
And when great treasure is the meed propos'd, That oft they interchange each other's seat. Though death be adjunct, there's no death suppos'd This silent war of lilies and of roses,
Those that much covet, are with gain so fond, Which Tarquin view'd in her fair face's field, That what they have not, that which they possess, In their pure ranks his traitor eye encloses ; They scatter and unloose it from their bond, Where, lest between them both it should be kill'd, And so, by hoping more, they have but less; The coward captive vanquished doth yield
Or, gaining more, the profit of excess To those two armies, that would let him go,
Is but to surfeit, and such griefs sustain, Rather than triumph in so false a foe.
That they prove bankrupt in this poor-rich gain Now thinks he that her husband's shallow tongue The aim of all is but to nurse the life (The niggard prodigal that prais'd her so)
With honour, wealth, and ease, in waning age; In that high task hath done her beauty wrong, And in this aim there is such thwarting strife, Which far exceeds his barren skil} to shew :
That one for all, or all for one we gage; Therefore that praise which Collatine doth owe, As life for honour, in fell battles' rage; Enchanted Tarquin answers with surmise,
Honour for wealth ; and oft that wealth dotb cost In silent wonder of still-gazing eyes.
The death of all, and altogether lost. This earthly saint, adored by this devil,
So that in vent'ring ill, we leave to be
The things we are for that which we expect;
In having much, torments us with defect
Of that we have : 80 then we do neglect And reverend welcome to her priocery guest, The thing we have; and, ali for want of wil Those inward ill no outward harm express'd. Make something nothing, by augmenting ito
Sach hazard now must doting Tarquin make, If Collatinus dream of my intent,
Will he not wake, and in a desperate rage
Post hither, this vile purpose to prevent ? Then where is truth, if there be no self-trust? This siege that hath engirt his marriage, When shall he think to find a stranger just, This blur to youth, this sorrow to the sage, When he himself himself confounds, betrays This dying virtue, this surviving shame, To slanderous tongues, and wretched hateful days? Whose crime will bear an ever-during blame? Now stole upon the time the dead of night, O, what excuse can my invention make, When heavy sleep had clos'd up mortal eyes; When thou shalt charge me with so black a deed ? No comfortable star did lend his light,
Will not my tongue be mute, my frail joints shake i No noise but owls’and wolves' death-boding cries : Mine eyes forego their light, my false heart bleed ? Now serves the season that they may surprise The guilt being great, the fear doth still exceed; The silly lambs; pure thoughts are dead and still, And extreme fear can neither fight nor fly, While lust and inurder wake, to stain and kill. But coward-like with trembling terror die. And now this lustful lord leap'd from his bed, Had Collatinus kill'd my son or sire, Throwing his mantle rudely o'er his arm;
Or lain in ambush to betray my life, Is madly toss'd between desire and dread;
Or were he not my dear friend, this desire Th’ one sweetly flatters, th' other feareth harm; Might have excuse to work upon his wife; But honest Fear, bewitch'd with lust's foul charm, As in revenge or quittal of such strife : Doth too too oft betake him to retire,
But as he is my kinsman, my dear friend, Beaten away by brain-sick rude Desire.
The shame and fault finds no excuse nor end. His falchion on a flint he softly smiteth,
Shameful it is ;--ay, if the fact be known : That from the cold stone sparks of fire do fly; Hatefil it is ;-—there is no hate in loving : Whereat a waxen torch forthwith he lighteth, I'll beg her love ;-but she is not her own : Which must be lode-star to his lustful eye ;
The worst is but denial, and reproving: And to the flame thus speaks advisedly:
My will is strong, past reason's weak removing: As from this cold flint I enforc'd this fire,
Who fears a sentence, or an old man's saw, So Lucrece must I force to my desire.
Shall by a painted cloth be kept in awe. Here pale with fear he doth premeditate
Thus, graceless, holds he disputation, The dangers of his loathsome enterprise,
'Tween frozen conscience and hot burning will, And in his inward mind he doth debate
And with good thoughts makes dispensation, What following sorrow may on this arise :
Urging the worser sense for vantage still; Then looking scornfully, he doth despise
Which in a moment doth confound and kili His naked armour of still-slaughter'd lust,
All pure effects, and doth so far proceed, And justly thus controls his thoughts unjust. That what is vile shews like a virtuous deed.
Fair torch, burn out thy light, and lend it not Quoth be, she took me kindly by the hand,
O, how her fear did make her colour rise
First red as roses that on lawn we lay, That spots and stains love's modest snow-white weed. Then white as lawn, the roses took away.
O shame to knighthood and to shining arms !
And how her hand, in my hand being lock'd,
Yea, though I die, the scandal will survive,
Why hunt I then for colour or excuses ?
What win I, if I gain the thing I seek ?
Then childish fear, avaunt! debating, die ! A dream, a breath, a froth of fleeting joy
Respect and reason, wait on wrinkled age : Who buys a minute's mirth, to wail a week ? My heart shall never countermand mine eye. Or sells eternity, to get a toy ?
Sad pause and deep regard beseem the sage; For one sweet grape who will the vine destroy? My part is youth, and beats these from the stage Or what fond beggar, but to touch the crown, Desire my pilot is, beauty my prize; Would with the sceptre straight be strucken down? Then who fears sinking, whero such treasure lies ? As coro o'er-grown by weeds, so heedful fear But in the midst of his unfruitful prayer, is almost chok'd by unresisted lust.
Having solicited the eternal power Away be steals with open listening ear,
That his foul thoughts might compass his fuir fair, Full of foul hope, and full of fond mistrust ; And they would stand ausnicious to the hour, Both which, as servitors to the unjust,
Even there he starts :-quoth he, I must Jeflour; So cross him with their opposite persuasion, The powers to whom I pray, abhor this fact, That now ne vows a league, and now invasion. How can they then assist me in the act ? Within bis thought her heavenly image sits, Then Love and Fortune be my gods, my guide! And in the self-same seat sits Collatine:
My will is back'd with resolution : That eye which looks on her, confounds his wits; Thoughts are but dreams till their effects be tried, That eye which him beholds, as more divine, The blackest sin is clear'd with absolution; Soto a view so false will not il line;
Against love's fire fear's frost hath dissolution. But with a pure appeal seeks to idir heart,
The eye of heaven is out, and misty night Which once corrupted, takes the worser part;
Covers the shame that follows sweet delight. And therein heartens up his servile powers,
This said, his guilty hand pluck'd up the latch, Who, flatter'd by their leader's jocund shew, And with his knee the door he opens wide : Stuff up his lust, as minutes fill up hours;
The dove sleeps fast that this night-owl will catch : And as their captain, so their pride doth grow, Thus treason works ere traitors be espy'd. Paying more slavish tribute than they owe. Who sees the lurking serpent, steps aside ; By reprobate desire thus madly led,
But she, sound sleeping, fearing no such thing, The Roman lord marcheth to Lucrece' bed. Lies at the mercy of his mortal sting. The locks between her chanıber and his will, Into the chamber wickedly he stalks, Each one by him enforc'd, retires his ward; And gazeth on her yet-unstained bed. But as they open, they all rate his ill,
The curtains being close, about he walks, Which drives the creeping tbief to some regard : Rolling his greedy eye-balls in his head: The threshold grates the door to have him heard ; By their high treason is his heart misled; Night-wandering weasels shriek, to see him there; Which gives the watch-word to his hand full sooa, They fright him, yet he still pursues his fear. To draw the cloud that hides he silver moon. As cach unwilling portal yields him way,
Look, as the fair and fiery-pointed sun, Through little vents and crannies of the place Rushing from forth a cloud, bereaves our sight; The wind wars with his torch, to make him stay, Even so, the curtain drawn, his eyes begun And blows the smoke of it into his face,
To wink, being blinded with a greater light: Extinguishing his conduct in this case ;
Whether it is, that she reflects so bright, But his hot heart, which fond desire doth scorch, That dazzleth them, or else some shame supposed; Puffs forth another wind that fires the torch : But blind they are, and keep themselves enclosed. And being lighted, by the light he spies
O, had they in that darksome prison died, Lucretia's glove, wherein her needle sticks ; Then had they seen the period of their ill! He takes it from the rushes where it lies;
Then Collatine again, by Lucrece' side, And griping it, the neeld his finger pricks : In his clear bed might have reposed still : As who should say, this glove to wanton tricks But they inust ope, this blessed league to kill; Is not inur'd; return again in haste;
And holy-thoughted Lucrece to their sight Thou seest our inistress' ornaments are chaste. Must sell her joy, her life, her world's delight. But all these poor forbiddings could not stay him; Her lily hand her rosy cheek lies under, He in the worst sense construes their denial : Cozening the pillow of a lawful kiss ; The doors, the wind, the glove, that did delay nim, Who, therefore angry, seems to part in sunder, He takes for accidental things of trial ;
Swelling on either side, to want his bliss ; Or as those bars which stop the hourly dial; Between whose hills her head intombed is. Who with a ling'ring stay his course doth let, Where, like a virtuous monument, she lies, Till every minute pays the hour his debt.
To be admir'd of lewd unhallow'd eyes. So, so, quoth he, these lets attend the time,
Without the bed her other fair hand was, Like little frosts that sometime threat the spring, On the green coverlet : whose perfect white To add a more rejoicing to the prime,
Sbew'd like an April daisy on the grass, And give the sneaped birds more cause to sing. With pearly sweat, resembling dew of night. Pain pays the income of each precious thing; Her eyes, like marigolds, had sheath'd their light, Huge rocks, high winds, strong pirates, shelves and And, canopied in darkness, sweetly lay, sands,
Till they might open to adorn the day. The merchant fears, ere rich at home he lands.
Her hair, like golden threads, play'd with her Now is he come unto the chamber-door,
Each in her sleep themselves so beautify,
As if between them twain there were no striso, As if the heaven should countenance his sin.
But that life liv'd in death, and death in life.
Her breasts, like ivory globes circled with blue, First, like a trumpet, doth his tongue begin
To sound a parley to his heartless foe;
The reason of this rash alarm to know, These worlds in Tarquin new ambition bred; Which he by dumb demeanour seeks to shew; Who, like a foul usurper, went about
But she with vehement prayers urgeth still, From this fair throne to heave the owner out. Under what colour he commits this ill. What could he see, but mightily he noted ? Thus he replies : The colour in thy face What uid he note, but strongly he desir'd ? (That even for anger makes the lily pale, What he beheld, on that he firmly doted,
And the red rose blush at her own disgrace,) And in his will his wilful eye he tir'd.
Shall plead for me, and tell my loving tale: With more than admiration he admir'd
Under that colour am I come to scale Her azure veins, her alabaster skin,
Thy never-conquer'd fort; the fault is thine, Her coral lips, her snow-white dimpled chin. For those thine eyes betray thee unto mine. As the grim lion fawneth o'er his prey,
Thus I forestall thee, if thou mean to chide . Sharp hunger by the conquest satisfied,
Thy beauty hath ensnar'd thee to this night, So o'er this sleeping soul doth Tarquin stay, Where thou with patience must my will abide , His rage of lust, by gazing qualified;
My will that marks thee for my earth's delight, Slack'd, not suppress’d; for standing by her side, Which I to conquer sought with all my might; His eye, which late this mutiny restrains,
But as reproof and reason beat it dead, Unto a greater uproar tempts his veins :
By thy bright beauty was it newly bred. And they, like straggling slaves for pillage fighting, I see what crosses my attempt will bring ; Obdurate vassals, fell exploits effecting,
I know what thorns the growing rose defends, In bloody death and ravishment delighting, I think the honey guarded with a sting; Nor children's tears, nor mothers' groans respecting, All this, beforehand, counsel comprehends : Swell in their pride, the onset still expecting : But will is deaf, and hears no heedful friends; Anon his beating heart, alarum striking,
Only he hath an eye to gaze on beauty,
Reproach, disdain, and deadly enmity
Yet strive I to embrace mine infamy
This said, he shakes aloft his Roman blade,
Which, like a falcon towering in the skies, And fright her with confusion of their cries :
Coucheth the fowl below with his wings' shade, She, much-amaz'd, breaks ope her lock'd-up eyes,
Whose crooked beak threats, if he mount he dies Who, peeping forth this tumult to behold,
So under his insulting falchion lies
With trembling fear, as fowi near falcon's bells.
Lucrece, quoth he, this night I must enjoy thee :
If thou deny, then force must work my way, Chat thinks she hath beheld some ghastly sprite,
For in thy bed I purpose to destroy thee; Whose grim aspéct sets every joint a shaking ;
That done, some worthless slave of thine I'll slav What terror 'tis! but she, in worser taking,
To kill thine honour with thy life's decay; From sleep disturbed, heedfully doth view
And in thy dead arms do I mean to place him, The sight which makes supposed terror true.
Swearing I slew him, seeing thee embrace him. Wrapp'd and confounded in a thousand fears,
So thy surviving husband shall remain
Thy issue blurr'd with nameless bastardy :
The fault unknown is as a thought unacted;