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Can curb his heat, or rein his rash desire,
Till, like a jade, self-will himself doth tire.
And then with lank and lean discolour'd cheek,
With heavy eye, knit brow, and strengthless pace,
Feeble desire, all recreant, poor, and meek,
Like to a bankrupt beggar wails his case:
The flesh being proud, desire doth fight with grace,
For there it revels; and when that decays,
The guilty rebel for remission prays.
So fares it with this faultful lord of Rome,
Who this accomplishment so hotly chas'd;
For now against himself he sounds this doom,
That through the length of times he stands disgrac'd:
Besides, his soul's fair temple is defac'd ;
To whose weak ruins muster troops of cares,
To ask the spotted princess how she fares.
She says, her subjects with foul insurrection
Have batter'd down her consecrated wall,
And by their mortal fault brought in subjection
Her immortality, and make her thrall
To living death, and pain perpetual:
Which in her prescience she controlled still,
But her foresight could not forestall their will.
Even in this thought through the dark night he stealeth,
A captive victor that hath lost in gain;
Bearing away the wound that nothing healeth,
The scar that will, despite of cure, remain,
Leaving his spoil perplex'd in greater pain.
She bears the load of lust he left behind,
And he the burthen of a guilty mind.
He like a thievish dog creeps sadly thence;
She like a wearied lamb lies panting there;
He scowls, and hates himself for his offence;
She, desperate, with her nails her flesh doth tear;
He faintly flies, sweating with guilty fear;
She stays exclaiming on the direful night;
He runs, and chides his vanish’d, loath'd delight.
He thence departs a heavy convertite;
She there remains a hopeless castaway:
He in his speed looks for the morning light;
She prays she never may behold the day;
“ For day," quoth she, “ night's scapes doth open lay;
And my true eyes have never practis'd how
To cloak offences with a cunning brow.
They think not but that every eye can see
The same disgrace which they themselves behold;
And therefore would they still in darkness be,
To have their unseen sin remain untold;
For they their guilt with weeping will unfold,
And grave, like water, that doth eat in steel,
Upon my cheeks what helpless shame I feel.”
Here she exclaims against repose and rest,
And bids her eyes hereafter still be blind.
She wakes her heart by beating on her breast,
And bids it leap from thence, where it may find
Some purer chest, to close so pure a mind.
Frantic with grief thus breathes she forth her spite
Against the unseen secrecy of night:
“ O comfort-killing night, image of hell !
Dim register and notary of shame!
Black stage for tragedies and murders fell!
Vast sin-concealing chaos! nurse of blame!
Blind muffled bawd! dark harbour for defame!
Grim cave of death, whispering conspirator,
With close-tongued treason and the ravisher!
"O hateful, vaporous, and foggy night,
Since thou art guilty of my cureless crime,
Muster thy mists to meet the eastern light,
Make war against proportion'd course of time
Or if thou wilt permit the sun to climb
His wonted height, yet ere he go to bed,
Knit poisonous clouds about his golden head.
“ With rotten damps ravish the morning air;
Let their exhald unwholesome breaths make sick
The life of purity, the supreme fair,
Ere he arrive his weary noontide prick;*
And let thy misty vapours march so thick,
That in their smoky ranks his smother'd light
May set at noon, and make perpetual night.
“ Were Tarquin night, (as he is but night's child,)
The silver-shining queen he would distain;
Her twinkling handmaids too, by him defil'd,
Through night’s black bosom should not peep again ;
So should I have copartners in my pain :
And fellowship in woe doth woe assuage,
As palmers' chat makes short their pilgrimage.
“Whereb now I have no one to blush with me,
To cross their arms, and hang their heads with mine,
To mask their brows, and hide their infamy;
But I alone alone must sit and pine,
Seasoning the earth with showers of silver brine,
Mingling my talk with tears, my grief with groans,
Poor wasting monuments of lasting moans.
“O night, thou furnace of foul-reeking smoke,
Let not the jealous day behold that face
Which underneath thy black all-hiding cloak
Immodestly lies martyr'd with disgrace!
Keep still possession of thy gloomy place,
That all the faults which in thy reign are made
May likewise be sepulchredo in thy shade!
• Noontide prick-the point of noon. • Where whereas.
e Sepulchred. Milton uses the word with the same accent, in his lines on Shakspere :
“And so sepulchred in such pomp does lie,
That kings for such a tomb would wish to die."
“ Make me not object to the tell-tale day!
The light will show, character'd“ in my brow,
The story of sweet chastity's decay,
The impious breach of holy wedlock vow:
Yea, the illiterate, that know not how
To 'cipher what is writ in learned books,
Will quote my loathsome trespass in my looks.
“ The nurse, to still her child, will tell my story,
And fright her crying babe with Tarquin's name;
The orator, to deck his oratory,
Will couple my reproach to Tarquin's shame:
Feast-finding minstrels, tuning my defame,
Will tie the hearers to attend each line,
How Tarquin wronged me, I Collatine.
“Let my good name, that senseless reputation,
For Collatine's dear love be kept unspotted :
If that be made a theme for disputation,
The branches of another root are rotted,
And undeserv'd reproach to him allotted,
That is as clear from this attaint of mine,
As I, ere this, was pure to Collatine.
“ O unseen shame! invisible disgrace!
O unfelt sore! crest-wounding, private scar!
Reproach is stamp'd in Collatinus' face,
And Tarquin's eye may read the moto afar,
How he in peace is wounded, not in war.
Alas, how many bear such shameful blows,
Which not themselves but he that gives them knows!
If, Collatine, thine honour lay in me, From me by strong assault it is bereft.
• Character'd. Here again is an accentuation different from the present, but which is common to all Shakspere's contemporaries. Malone has observed that this is still the pronunciation of the Irish people; and he adds with
reat truth, that much of the pronunciation of Queen Elizabeth's age is yet retained in Ireland.
Quote-observe. c Mot-motto.
My honey lost, and I, a drone-like bee,
Have no perfection of my summer left,
But robb’d and ransack'd by injurious theft:
In thy weak hive a wandering wasp hath crept,
And suck'd the honey which thy chaste bee kept.
" Yet am I guilty of thy honour's wrack, —
Yet for thy honour did I entertain him ; b
Coming from thee, I could not put him back,
For it had been dishonour to disdain him :
Besides of weariness he did complain him,
And talk'd of virtue:-0, unlook'd for evil,
When virtue is profan'd in such a devil!
Why should the worm intrude the maiden bud ?
Or hateful cuckoos hatch in sparrows' nests?
Or toads infect fair founts with venom mud ?
Or tyrant folly lurk in gentle breasts ? C
Or kings be breakers of their own behests ?
But no perfection is so absolute,
That some impurity doth not pollute. “ The aged man that coffers up his gold Is plagued with cramps, and gouts, and painful fits, And scarce hath
eyes his treasure to behold,
• Wrack. Mr. Hunter, in his · Disquisition on the Tempest,' pointed out the necessity of restoring to Shakspere's text the old word wrack, instead of the modern wreck. He asks, “ What could editors, who proceed upon principles which lead to such a substitution, do with this couplet of the ‘Lucrece :
• O, this dread night, wouldst thou one hour come back,
I could prevent this storm, and shun thy wrack !'” In this particular instance they have preserved the original word; but in that before us, where wrack is equally required to rhyme with back, they have substituted wreck. Even Mr. Dyce herein copies Malone without alteration. This is probably mere carelessness ; but it shows the danger of tampering with an original reading.
• This is again an instance of the dramatic crowding of thought upon thought, and making one thought answer and repel the other, which render Shakspere's soliloquies such matchless revelations of the heart. Malone, not perceiving this dramatic power, changes guilty to guiltless ; because the idea of the first line does not correspond with that of the second.
· Polly is here used in the sense of wickedness; and gentle in that of well-born. Vol. XII.