« VorigeDoorgaan »
From earth's dark womb some gentle gust doth get,
Which blows these pitchy vapours from their biding,
Hindering their present fall by this dividing;
So his unhallow'd haste her words delays,
And moody Pluto winks while Orpheus plays.
Yet, foul night-waking cat, he doth but dally,
While in his holdfast foot the weak mouse panteth;
Her sad behaviour feeds his vulture folly,
A swallowing gulf that even in plenty wanteth:
His ear her prayers admits, but his heart granteth
No penetrable entrance to her plaining:
Tears harden lust, though marble wear with raining.
Her pity-pleading eyes are sadly fix'd
In the remorseless wrinkles of his face;
Her modest eloquence with sighs is mix'd,
Which to her oratory adds more grace.
She puts the period often from his place,
And ʼmidst the sentence so her accent breaks,
That twice she doth begin ere once she speaks.
She conjures him by high almighty Jove,
By knighthood, gentry, and sweet friendship’s oath,
By her untimely tears, her husband's love,
By holy human law, and common troth,
By heaven and earth, and all the power of both,
That to his borrow'd bed he make retire,
And stoop to honour, not to foul desire.
this poem, here changes but to look, “ there being no opposition whatsoever between this and the preceding passage.” An opposition is, however, intended. Lucretia pleads to the “ rough beast” that “knows no right;" but, as the gentle gust divides the black cloud,
“ So his unballow'd haste her words delays." Shakspere, whose knowledge of the outward effects of the passions was universal, makes the terror of poor Lucrece display itself in the same manner as that of great clerks' greeting their prince with “premeditated welcomes." They also
“ Make periods in the midst of sentences,
Throttle their practisd accent in their fears,
And, in conclusion, dumbly have broke off.”
(* Midsummer Night's Dream,' Act V., Scene 1.)
Quoth she, “ Reward not hospitality
With such black payment as thou hast pretended ;a
Mud not the fountain that gave drink to thee;
Mar not the thing that cannot be amended;
End thy ill aim, before thy shoot b be ended:
He is no woodman that doth bend his bow
To strike a poor unseasonable doe.
My husband is thy friend, for his sake spare me;
Thyself art mighty, for thine own sake leave me;
Myself a weakling, do not then ensnare me;
Thou look'st not like deceit; do not deceive me:
My sighs, like whirlwinds, labour hence to heave thee.
If ever man were mov'd with woman's moans,
Be moved with my tears, my sighs, my groans:
“ All which together, like a troubled ocean,
Beat at thy rocky and wreck-threatening heart;
To soften it with their continual motion ;
For stones dissolv'd to water do convert.
O, if no harder than a stone thou art,
Melt at my tears, and be compassionate!
Soft pity enters at an iron gate.
“ In Tarquin's likeness I did entertain thee;
Hast thou put on his shape to do him shame?
To all the host of heaven I complain me,
Thou wrong'st his honour, wound'st his princely name.
Thou art not what thou seem'st; and if the same
Thou seem'st not what thou art, a god, a king;
For kings like gods should govern everything.
“ How will thy shame be seeded in thine age, When thus thy vices bud before thy spring!
bShoot. Malone says that the author intended this word to be taken in a double sense, suit and shoot being in his time pronounced alike. We doubt this. Swt is not the word that the indignation of Lucrece would have used ; nor is the double sense carried forward at all.
If in thy hope thou dar'st do such outrage,
What dar'st thou not when once thou art a king!
O be remember'd, no outrageous thing
From vassal actors can be wip'd away;
Then kings' misdeeds cannot be hid in clay.
“ This deed will make thee only lov'd for fear,
But happy monarchs still are fear’d for love:
With foul offenders thou perforce must bear,
When they in thee the like offences prove:
If but for fear of this thy will remove;
For princes are the glass, the school, the book,
Where subjects' eyes do learn, do read, do look.
“ And wilt thou be the school where Lust shall learn?
Must he in thee read lectures of such shame?
Wilt thou be glass, wherein it shall discern
Authority for sin, warrant for blame,
To privilege dishonour in thy name?
Thou back'st reproach against long-lived laud,
And mak’st fair reputation but a bawd.
“ Hast thou command ? by him that gave it thee,
From a pure heart command thy rebel will:
Draw not thy sword to guard iniquity,
For it was lent thee all that brood to kill.
Thy princely office how canst thou fulfil,
When, pattern'd by thy fault, foul Sin may say,
He learn'd to sin, and thou didst teach the way?
Think but how vile a spectacle it were
To view thy present trespass in another.
Men's faults do seldom to themselves appear;
Their own transgressions partially they smother:
This guilt would seem death-worthy in thy brother.
O how are they wrapp'd in with infamies,
That from their own misdeeds askaunce their eyes!
“ To thee, to thee, my heav’d-up hands appeal, Not to seducing lust, thy rash relier;
I sue for exil'd majesty's repeal ja
Let him return, and flattering thoughts retire:
His true respect will ’prison false desire,
And wipe the dim mist from thy doting eyne,
That thou shalt see thy state, and pity mine.”
“ Have done,” quoth he; “ my uncontrolled tide
Turns not, but swells the higher by this let.
Small lights are soon blown out, huge fires abide,
And with the wind in greater fury fret:
The petty streams that pay a daily debt
To their salt sovereign, with their fresh falls' haste,
Add to his flow, but alter not his taste.”
« Thou art,” quoth she, “ a sea, a sovereign king ;
And lo, there falls into thy boundless flood
Black lust, dishonour, shame, misgoverning,
Who seek to stain the ocean of thy blood.
If all these petty ills shall change thy good,
Thy sea within a puddle's womb is hers’d,
And not the puddle in thy sea dispers’d.
“ So shall these slaves be king, and thou their slave;
Thou nobly base, they basely dignified ;
Thou their fair life, and they thy fouler grave;
Thou loathed in their shame, they in thy pride:
The lesser thing should not the greater hide;
The cedar stoops not to the base shrub's foot,
But low shrubs wither at the cedar's root.
“ So let thy thoughts, low vassals to thy state”—
“ No more," quoth he, “ by heaven, I will not hear thee :
Yield to my love; if not, enforced hate,
Instead of love's coy touch, shall rudely tear thee;
That done, despitefully I mean to bear thee
Unto the base bed of some rascal groom,
To be thy partner in this shameful doom.”
* Repeal-recal ; from the French rappeler.
This said, he sets his foot upon the light,
For light and lust are deadly enemies :
Shame folded up in blind concealing night,
When most unseen, then most doth tyrannize.
The wolf hath seiz'd his prey, the poor lamb cries
Till with her own white fleece her voice controllid
Entombs her outcry in her lips' sweet fold :
For with the nightly linen that she wears
He pens her piteous clamours in her head;
Cooling his hot face in the chastest tears
That ever modest
with sorrow shed. O, that prone lust should stain so pure a bed!
a The spots whereof could weeping purify, Her tears should drop on them perpetually.
But she hath lost a dearer thing than life,
And he hath won what he would lose again.
This forced league doth force a further strife,
This momentary joy breeds months of pain,
This hot desire converts to cold disdain :
Pure Chastity is rifled of her store,
And Lust, the thief, far poorer than before.
Look, as the full-fed hound or gorged hawk,
Unapt for tender smell or speedy flight,
Make slow pursuit, or altogether balk
The prey wherein by nature they delight;
So surfeit-taking Tarquin fares this night:
His taste delicious, in digestion souring,
Devours his will that liv'd by foul devouring.
O deeper sin than bottomless conceit
Can comprehend in still imagination !
Drunken desire must vomit his receipt,
Ere he can see his own abomination.
While lust is in his pride no exclamation
* Prone-having inclination or propensity, and so self-willed, headstrong.