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For much imaginary work was there;
Conceit deceitful, so compact, so kind,
That for Achilles' image stood his spear,
Grip'd in an armed hand; himself behind
Was left unseen, save to the eye of mind:
A hand, a foot, a face, a leg, a head,
Stood for the whole to be imagined.
And from the walls of strong besieged Troy,
When their brave hope, bold Hector, march'd to field,
Stood many Trojan mothers, sharing joy
To see their youthful sons bright weapons wield,
And to their hope they such odd action yield,
That thro' their light joy seemed to appear,
(Like bright things stain'd) a kind of heavy fear.
And from the strand of Dardan where they fought
To Simois' reedy banks the red blood ran;
Whose waves to imitate the battle sought
With swelling ridges; and their ranks began
To break upon the galled shore, and then
Retire again, till meeting greater ranks,
They join, and shoot their foam at Simois banks.
To this well-painted piece is Lucrece come
To find a face where all distress is steel'd;
Many she sees, where cares have carved some,
But none where all distress and colour dwell'd,
Till she despairing Hecuba beheld,
Staring on Priam's wounds with her old eyes,
Who bleeding under Pyrrhus' proud foot lie*.
In her the painter had anatomiz'd
Time's ruin, beauty's wreck and grim care's reign;
Her cheeks with chops and wrinkles were disguis'd;
Of what she was, no semblance did remain;
Her blue blood chang'd to black in every vein:
Wanting the spring that those shrunk pipes had fed, Shew'd life imprison'd in a body dead.
On this sad shadow Lucrece spends her eyes,
And shapes her sorrow to the beldame's woes;
Who nothing wants to answer her but cries,
And bitter words to ban her cruel foes.
The painter was no god to lend her those;
And therefore Lucrece swears he did her wrong, To give her so much grief, and not a tongue.
Poor instrument (quoth she) without a sound!
I'll tune thy woes with my lamenting tongue;
And drop sweet balm in Priam's painted wound,
And rail on Pyrrhus, that hath doth him wrong.
And with my tears quench Troy, that burnt so long;
And with my knife scratch out the angry eyes
Of all the Greeks, that are thy enemies.
Shew me this strumpet, that began this stir,
That with my nails her beauty I may tear:
Thy heat of lust fond Paris did incur
This load of wrath, that burning Troy did bear;
Thy eye kindled the fire that burneth here:
And here in Troy, for trespass of thine eye,
The sire, the son, the dame and daughter die.
Why should the private pleasure of some one,
Become the public plague of many moe?
Let sin alone committed, light alone
Upon bis head, that hath transgressed so,
Let guiltless souls be freed from guilty woe.
For one's offence why should so many fall,
To plague a private sin in general?
Lo ! here weeps Hecuba, here Priam dies!
Here manly Hector faints, here Troilus sounds!
Here friend by friend in bloody channel lies!
And friend to friend gives unadvised wounds!
And one man's lust these many lives confounds!
Had doating Priam check'd his son's desire,
Troy had been bright with fame, and not with fire.'
Here feelingly she weeps Troy's painted woes:
For sorrow, like a heavy hanging bell,
Once set a ringing, with his own weight goes;
Then little strength rings out the doleful knell,
So Lucrece set a-work, sad tales doth tell
To pencil'd pensiveness, and colour'd sorrow;
She lends them words, and she their looks doth borrow.
She throws her eyes about the painted round,
And whom she finds forlorn she doth lament:
At last she sees a wretched image bound,
That piteous looks to Phrygian shepherds lent;
His face tho' full of cares, yet shew'd content.
Onward to Troy with these blunt swains be goes
So mild, that patience seem'd to scorn his woes.
In him the painter labour'd with his skill,
To hide deceit, and give the harmless show,
And humble gait, calm looks, eyes wailing still,
A brow unbent, that seem'd to welcome woe;
Cheeks, neither red, nor pale, but mingled so,
That blushing red, no guilty instance gave,
Nor ashy pale, the fear that false hearts have.
But like a constant and confirmed devil,
He entertain'd a show so seeming just;
And therein so insconc'd this secret evil,
That jealousy itself could not mistrust,
False creeping craft and perjury should thrust,
Into so bright a day such black-fac'd storms,
Or blot with hell-bom sin such saint-like forms.
The well-skill'd woman this wild image drew
For perjur'd Sinon, whose enchanting story
The credulous old Priam after slew;
Whose words like wild-fire burnt the shining glory
Of rich-built Ilion; that the skies were sorry,
And little stars shot from their fixed places,
When their glass fell wherein they viewed their faces.
This picture she advisedly perus'd,
And chid the painter for his wond'rous skill:
Saying, some shape in Sinon's was abus'd,
So fair a form lodg'd not a mind so ill:
And still on him she gaz'd, and gazing still,
Such signs of truth in his plain face she spy'd,
That she concludes, the picture was bely'd.
It cannot be (quoth she) that so much guile,
She would have said, can lurk in such a look;
But Tarquin's shape came in her mind the while,
And from her tongue, ran lurk, from cannot took:
It cannot be, she in that sense forsook,
And turn'd it thus ; it cannot be I find,
But such a face should bear a wicked mind.
Tor e'en as subtle Sinon here is painted,
So sober sad, so weary and so mild,
(As if with grief or travel he had fainted)
To me came Tarquin armed, so beguil'd
With outward honesty, but yet defil'd
With inward vice: as Priam him did cherish,
So did I Tarquin, so my Troy did perish.
Look, look how list'ning Priam wets his eyes,
To see those borrow'd tears that Sinon sheds!
Priam, why art thou old, and yet not wise?
For every tear he falls, a Trojan bleeds:
His eyes drop fire, no water thence proceeds.
Those round clear pearls of his, that move thy pity,
Are balls of quenchless fire to burn thy city.
Such devils steal effects from lightless hell,
For Sinon in his fire doth quake for cold,
And in that cold hot-burning fire doth dwell;
These contraries such unity do hold,
Only to flatter fools, and make them bold:
So .Priam's trust false Sion's tears doth flatter,
That he finds means to burn his Troy with water.