Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

TO THE

RIGHT HONOURABLE

HENRY WRIOTHESLY,

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 untutored lines, make 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 should shew greater : mean time, as it is, it is bound to your lordship: to whom I wish long life, still lengthened with all happiness.

Your Lordship’s in all duty,

WILL. SHAKESPEARE.

LUCIUS TARQUINIUS (for his excessive pride surnamed Superbus) after he had caused his father-in-law, Servius Tullius, to be cruelly murdered, and contrary to the Roman laws and customs not requiring or staying for the people's suffrages, had possessed himself of the kingdom; went accompanied with his sons, and other noblemen of Rome, to besiege Ardea. During which siege, 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 passion for the present, departed with the rest back to the camp; from whence he shortly after privily withdrew himself, 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 speeded away. Lucrece, in this lamentable plight, hastily dispatched messengers, one to Rome for her father, another to the camp for Culatinus. They came, the one accompanied with Junius Brutus, the other with Publius Valerius: and finding Lucrece attired in a mourning habit, demanded the cause of her sorrow. She first taking an oath of them for her revenge, revealed the actor, and whole matter of his dealing, and 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 door, 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 consuls.

TARQUIN AND LUCRECE.

FROM the besieg’d Ardea all in post,
Borne by the trustless wings of false desire,
Lust-breathing TARQUIN leaves the Roman host,
And to Colatium bears the lightless fire,
Which in pale embers hid, lurkes to aspire,

And girdle with embracing flames the waste

Of Colatine's fair love, LUCRECE the chaste.
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 be the night before, in TARQUIN's tent,
Unlock'd the treasure of his happy state:
What prizeless wealth the heavens had him lent,
In the possession of his beauteous mate;
Reck’ning his fortune at so high a rate,

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

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »