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And contempt of base; the incurr'd vengeance
Of my wrong'd kinsman Collatine, the treason
Against divin’st Lucrece; all these total curses
Foreseen, not fear'd, upon one Sextus meet,
To make my days harsh, so this night be sweet.
No jar of clock, no ominous hateful howl
Of any starting hound, no horse-cough breath'd from the entrails . Of any drowsy groom, wakes this charm'd silence, And starts this general slumber; forward still.
[Lucrece discovered in her bed.
To make thy lust live, all thy virtues kill.
Here, here, behold! beneath these curtains lies
That bright enchantress that hath daz'd my eyes.
Oh, who but Sextus could commit such waste
On one so fair, so kind, so truly chaste?
Or like a ravisher thus rudely stand,
To offend this face, this brow, this lip, this hand ?
Or at such fatal hours these revels keep,
With thought once to defile thy innocent sleep?
Save in this breast such thoughts could find no place,
Or pay, with treason, her hospitable grace;
But I am lust-burnt all, bent on what's bad;
That, which should calm good thought, makes Tarquin mad.
Luc. Whose that? oh me! beshrew you.
Sex. Sweet, 'tis I.,
Luc. What I?
Sex. Make room.
Luc. My husband Collatine?
Sex. Thy husband's at the camp.
Luc. Here is no place for any man save him.
Sex. Grant me that grace.
Luc. What are you?
Sex. Tarquin and thy friend, and must enjoy thee.
Luc. Heaven such sins defend!
Sex. Why do you tremble, lady? cease this fear;
I am alone;. there is no suspicious ear
That can betray this deed: nay, start not, sweet.
Luc. Dream I, or am I full awake? oh no!
I know I dream to see Prince Sextus so.
Sweet lord, awake me, rid me from this terror:
I know you for a prince, a gentleman,
Royal and honest, one that loves my lord,
And would not wrack a woman's chastity
For Rome's imperial diadem: oh then
Pardon this dream ! for being awake, I know
Prince Sextus, Rome's great hope, would not for shame
Havock his own worth, or despoil my fame.
Sex. I'm bent on both; my thoughts are all on fire;
Choose thee, thou must embrace death, or desire.
Yet do I love thee, wilt thou accept it?
Sex. If not thy love, thou must enjoy thy foe. Where fair means cannot, force shall make my way: By Jove, I must enjoy thee.
Luc. Sweet lord, stay.
Sex. I'm all impatience, violence, and rage,
And save thy bed, nought can this fire assuage:
Wilt love me?
Luc. No, I cannot.
Sex. Tell me why?'
Luc. Hate me, and in that hate first let me die.
Sex. By Jove, I'll force thee.
Luc. By a god you swear
To do a devil's deed; sweet lord, forbear.
By the same Jove I swear, that made this soul,
Never to yield unto an act so foul.
Sex. These pillows first shall stop thy breath,
If thou but shriekest; hark; how I'll frame thy death.
Luc. For death I care not, so I keep unstain'd
The uncraz'd honour I have yet maintain'd.
Sex. Thou can'st keep neither, for if thou but squeak’st,
Or let'st the least harsh noise jar in my ear,
I'll broach thee on my steel; that done, straight murder
One of thy basest grooms, and lay you both
Grasp'd arm in arm on thy adulterate bed,
Then call in witness of that mechall sin :
So shalt thou die, thy death be scandalous,
Thy name be odious, thy suspected body
Deny'd all funeral rites, and loving Collatine
Shall hate thee even in death: then save all this,
And to thy fortunes add another friend,
Give thy fears comfort, and these torments end.
Luc. I'll die first; and yet hearme, as you're noble:
If all your goodness and best generous thoughts
Be not exild your heart, pity, oh pity
The virtues of a woman! mar not that
Cannot be made again : this once defild,
Not all the ocean waves can purify
Or wash my stain away; you seek to soil
That which the radiant splendor of the sun
Cannot make bright again; behold my tears,
Oh think them pearld drops, distilled from the heart
Of soul-chaste Lucrece ; think them orators,
To plead the cause of absent Collatine, your friend and kinsman.
Sex. Tush, I am obdure.
Luc. Then make my name foul, keep my body pure.
Oh, prince of princes, do but weigh your sin ;
Think how much I shall lose, how small you win.
I lose the honour of my name and blood,
Loss Rome's imperial crown cannot make good.
You win the world's shame and all good men's hate;
Oh! would you pleasure buy at such dear rate?
Nor can you term it pleasure, for what is sweet,
Where force and hate, jar and contention, meet?
Weigh but for what 'tis that you urge me still,
To gain a woman's love against her will ?
You'll but repent such wrong done a chaste wife,
And think that labour's not worth all your strife;
Curse your hot lust, and say you've wrong'd your friends,
But all the world cannot make me amends.
I took you for a friend, wrong not my trust,
But let these chaste tears quench your fiery lust.
· Sex. No, those moist tears contending with my fire,
Quench not my heat, but make it climb much higher;
I'll drag thee hence.
Sex. If thou raise these cries, lodg’d in thy slaughter'd
Arms some base groom dies.
And Rome, that hath admir'd thy name so long,
Shall blot thy death with scandal from my tongue.
Luc. Jove guard my innocence!
Sex. Lucrece, thou art mine,
In spite of Jove and all the powers divine.
[he bears her out.
“ Luc. Mirable.
Luc. Is not my father, old Lucretius, come yet?
Maid. Not yet.
Luc. Nor any from the camp ? -
Maid. Neither, madam.
Luc: Go, begone, and leave me to the truest grief of heart, That ever enter'd any matron's breast; Oh!
Maid. Why weep you, lady? alas! why do you stain
Your modest cheeks with these offensive tears?
Luc. Nothing, nay, nothing; oh, you powerful gods,
That should have angel guardants on your throne,
To protect innocence and chastity! oh, why'
Suffer you such inhuman massacre,
Of harmless virtue? wherefore take you charge
Of sinless souls to see them wounded thus
With rape and violence? or give white innocence
Armour of proof 'gainst sin, or by oppression
Kill virtue quite, and guerdon base transgression.
Is it my fate above all other women?
Or is my sin more heinous than the rest,
That amongst thousands, millions, infinites,
I, only I, should to this shame be born,
To be a stain to women, nature's scorn? oh!
Maid. What ails you, madam ? truth, you make me weep
To see you shed salt tears: what hath oppress'd you?
Why is your chamber hung with mourning black ?
Your habit sable, and your eyes thus swoln
With ominous tears; alas! what troubles you ?
Luc. I am not sad: thou didst deceive thyself;
I did not weep, there's nothing troubles me:
But wherefore dost thou blush?
Maid. Madam, not I.
Luc. Indeed, thou didst,
And in that blush my guilt thou didst betray;
How cam'st thou by the notice of my sin ?
Maid. What sin?
Luc. My blot, my scandal, and my shame:
O Tarquin! thou my honour did'st betray ;.
Disgrace, no time, no age, can wipe away; oh!
Maid. Sweet lady, cheer yourself; I'll fetch my viol,
And see if I can sing you fast asleep:
A little rest would wear away this passion.
Luc. Do what thou wilt, I can command no more;
Being no more a woman, I am now
Devote to death and an inhabitant
Of th' other world : these eyes must ever weep
Till fate hath clos'd them with eternal sleep.
are freely them are a sort of place herean peers."
Not the least singular part of this play is the songs, which are freely introduced, and somewhat too freely expressed. Some of them are strange and fantastical productions, and one is written in a sort of Dutch jargon. Three of them, however, we consider worth a place here. Valerius is the great master of harmony “ amongst the Roman peers.”
The first is a wild, pretty thing, though not very pregnant with meaning.
“ Now what is love? I will thee tell:
It is the fountain and the well,
Where pleasure and repentance dwell:
It is perhaps the sansing bell,
That rings all into heaven or hell,
And this is love, and this is love, as I hear tell.
Now what is love I will you show :
A thing that creeps and cannot go,
A prize that passeth to and fro,
A thing for me, a thing for mo,
And he that proves shall find it so;
And this is love, and this is love, sweet friend, I trow.” The second is very beautiful of its kind, and extremely melodious.
“ Pack clouds away, and welcome day,
With night we banish sorrow;
Sweet air blow soft, mount lark aloft,
To give my love good morrow.
Wings from the wind, to please her mind,
Notes from the lark. I'll borrow :
Bird, prune thy wing, nightingale sing,
To give my love good morrow.
To give my love good morrow,
Notes from them all I'll borrow.
Wake from thy nest, robin red-breast,
Sing, birds, in every furrow;
And from each bill, let music shrill
Give my fair love good morrow.
Blackbird and thrush, in every bush,
Stare, linnet, and cock-sparrow,
You pretty elves, amongst yourselves,
Sing my fair love good morrow.
To give my love good morrow,
Sing, birds, in every furrow.