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Her letter now is seal’d, and on it writ,
" At Ardea to my lord with more than haste :"
The post attends, and she delivers it,
Charging the sour-fac'd groom to hie as fast
As lagging fowls before the northern blast.
Speed more than speed but dull and slow she deems:
Extremity still urgeth such extremes.
The homely villein court’sies to her low;
And blushing on her, with a steadfast eye
Receives the scroll without or yea or no,
And forth with bashful innocence doth hie.
But they whose guilt within their bosoms lie
Imagine every eye beholds their blame;
For Lucrece thought he blush'd to see her shame;
When, silly groom! God wot, it was defect
Of spirit, life, and bold audacity.
Such harmless creatures have a true respect
To talk in deeds, while others saucily
Promise more speed, but do it leisurely:
of the worn-out age Pawn'd honest looks, but laid no words to gage.
His kindled duty kindled her mistrust,
That two red fires in both their faces blaz'd;
She thought he blush'd, as knowing Tarquin's lust,
And, blushing with him, wistly on him gaz’d;
Her earnest eye
did make him more amaz’d:
The more she saw the blood his cheeks replenish,
The more she thought he spied in her some blemish.
But long she thinks till he return again,
And yet the duteous vassal scarce is gone.
The weary time she cannot entertain,
For now 't is stale to sigh, to weep,
groan : So woe hath wearied woe, moan tired moan,
tical matters, mentions a sound as large and deep." The stillness of a sound, in consequence of being land-locked, testifies to the correctness of the poet's image. Vol. XII.
That she her plaints a little while doth stay,
Pausing for means to mourn some newer way.
At last she calls to mind where hangs a piece
Of skilful painting, made for Priam's Troy ;
Before the which is drawn the power of Greece,
For Helen's rape the city to destroy,
Threat’ning cloud-kissing Ilion with annoy;
Which the conceited painter drew so proud,
As heaven (it seem'd) to kiss the turrets bow'd.
A thousand lamentable objects there,
In scorn of Nature, Art gave lifeless life:
Many a dry drop seem'd a weeping tear,
Shed for the slaughter'd husband by the wife:
The red blood reek’d to show the painter's strife;
And dying eyes gleam'd forth their ashy lights,
Like dying coals burnt out in tedious nights.
There might you see the labouring pioneer
Begrim'd with sweat, and smeared all with dust;
And from the towers of Troy there would appear
The very eyes of men through loopholes thrust,
Gazing upon the Greeks with little lust:
Such sweet observance in this work was had,
That one might see those far-off eyes look sad.
In great commanders grace and majesty
You might behold, triumphing in their faces;
In youth, quick bearing and dexterity;
And here and there the painter interlaces
Pale cowards, marching on with trembling paces ;
Which heartless peasants did so well resemble,
That one would swear he saw them quake and tremble.
In Ajax and Ulysses, O what art
Of physiognomy might one behold!
a Drawn-drawn out into the field.
b Conceited-ingenious, imaginative.
The face of either 'cipher'd either's heart;
Their face their manners most expressly told :
In Ajax' eyes blunt rage and rigour rolld;
But the mild glance that sly Ulysses lent
Show'd deep regard and smiling government.
There pleading might you see grave Nestor stand,
As 't were encouraging the Greeks to fight;
Making such sober action with his hand
That it beguild attention, charm'd the sight:
In speech, it seem'd, his beard all silver white
Wagg'd up and down, and from his lips did fly
Thin winding breath, which purl'd up to the sky.
About him were a press of gaping faces,
Which seem'd to swallow up his sound advice;
All jointly listening, but with several graces,
As if some mermaid did their ears entice;
Some high, some low, the painter was so nice:
The scalps of many, almost hid behind,
To jump up higher seem'd to mock the mind.
Here one man's hand lean'd on another's head,
His nose being shadow'd by his neighbour's ear;
Here one being throng'd bears back, all boll'n b and red;
Another smother'd seems to pelto and swear;
And in their rage such signs of rage they bear,
As, but for loss of Nestor's golden words,
It seem'd they would debate with angry swords.
For much imaginary work was there;
Conceit deceitful, so compact, so kind,
Purld. The meaning of purl as applied to a sound is familiar to all. Bacon, in speaking of the sound of a pipe, mentions “a sweet degree of sibillation or purling." Thus, in the passage before us, the thin winding breath of Nestor, the softflowing words, purl'd up to the sky. But the commentators believe that purl'd here expresses motion, and not sound ; and Steevens proposes to substitute curiod.
Boll'n-swollen. · Pell-to be clamorous, to discharge hasty words as pellets. Kind natural.
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 through their light joy seemed to appear
(Like bright things stain'd) a kind of heavy fear.
And, from the strond 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 than a
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 stel'd.b
* Than used for then. This is another example (we had one before in hild) of changing a termination for the sake of rhyme. In Fairfax's “ Tasso' there is a parallel instance :
“ Time was, (for each one hath his doting time,
These silver locks were golden tresses than,)
That country life I hated as a crime,
And from the forest's sweet contentment ran." b Steld. A passage in the twenty-fourth Sonnet may explain the lines in the
“ Mine eye
hath play'd the painter, and bath steld
Thy beauty's form in table of my heart." The word steld in both instances has a distinct association with something painted; but to siell is interpreted as to fix, from stell, a fixed place of abode. It appears to us that the word is connected in Shakspere's mind with the world stile, the pencil by which forms are traced and copied. The application does not appear forced, when we subsequently find the poet using the expression of “pencilld pensiveness." We constantly use the term stile as applied to painting; but we all know that stile, as describing the manner of deliveating forms, is derived from the instrument by
Many she sees where cares have carved some,
But none where all distress and dolour dwellid,
Till she despairing Hecuba beheld,
Staring on Priam's wounds with her old eyes,
Which bleeding under Pyrrhus' proud foot lies.
In her the painter had anatomiz’d
Time's ruin, beauty's wrack, and grim care's reign ;
Her cheeks with chaps 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,
Show'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 done him wrong,
And with my tears quench Troy that burns so long ;
And with my knife scratch out the angry eyes
Of all the Greeks that are thine enemies.
“ Show me the 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 doth 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.
which characters were anciently written. Steld is probably then stil'd, the word being slightly changed to suit the rhyme.