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To kill myself, quoth she, alack! what were it,
But with my body my poor soul's pollution?
They that lose half, with greater patience bear it,
Than they whose whole is swallow'd in confu-

That mother tries a merciless conclusion',
Who having two sweet babes, when death takes


Will slay the other, and be nurse to none.

My body or my soul, which was the dearer?
When the one pure, the other made divine.
Whose love of either to myself was nearer ?
When both were kept for heaven and Collatine.
Ah me! the bark peel'd from the lofty pine,

His leaves will wither, and his sap decay;
So must my soul, her bark being peel'd away.

Her house is sack'd, her quiet interrupted,
Her mansion batter'd by the enemy;
Her sacred table spotted, spoil'd, corrupted,
Grossly engirt with daring infamy:
Then let it not be call'd impiety,

If in this blemish'd fort I make some hole",
Through which I may convey this troubled soul.

7 That mother tries a merciless CONCLUSION,] A merciless practice, a cruel experiment. So, in Antony and Cleopatra: she hath assay'd "Conclusions infinite to die."


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8 Her HOUSE IS SACK'D,-] So, in Romeo and Juliet: tell me, that I may sack


"The hated mansion." Steevens.

If in this blemish'd FORT I MAKE some hole, &c.] So, in King Richard II.:

66 ———

with a little pin

"Bores through his castle wall, and-farewell king."


Yet die I will not, till my Collatine
Have heard the cause of my untimely death;
That he may vow, in that sad hour of mine,
Revenge on him that made me stop my breath'.
My stained blood to Tarquin I'll bequeath,

Which by him tainted, shall for him be spent2,
And as his due, writ in my testament.

My honour I'll bequeath unto the knife
That wounds my body so dishonoured.
'Tis honour to deprive dishonour'd life;
The one will live, the other being dead:
So of shame's ashes shall my fame be bred;

For in my death I murder shameful scorn:
My shame so dead, mine honour is new-born.

Dear lord of that dear jewel I have lost,
What legacy shall I bequeath to thee?
My resolution, love, shall be thy boast,
By whose example thou reveng'd may'st be.
How Tarquin must be us'd, read it in me:

Myself, thy friend, will kill myself, thy foe, And, for my sake, serve thou false Tarquin so.

This brief abridgment of my will I make :
My soul and body to the skies and ground;
My resolution, husband, do thou take;

Revenge on him that made me STOP MY BREATH.] So, in Othello: There lies your niece,

"Whose breath indeed these hands have newly stopp'd."



2 Which BY him tainted, shall for him be spent,] The first copy has, by an apparent error of the press :


Which for him tainted-."

The correction was made in the octavo 1598. MALONE.


Mine honour be the knife's, that makes my wound;
My shame be his that did my fame confound;
And all my fame that lives, disbursed be
To those that live, and think no shame of me.

Thou, Collatine, shalt oversee this Will3;
How was I overseen that thou shalt see it!
My blood shall wash the slander of mine ill;
My life's foul deed, my life's fair end shall free it.
Faint not, faint heart, but stoutly say, so be it.

Yield to my hand; my hand shall conquer thee;
Thou dead, both die, and both shall victors be.

This plot of death when sadly she had laid,
And wip'd the brinish pearl from her bright eyes,
With untun'd tongue she hoarsely call'd her maid,
Whose swift obedience to her mistress hies;
For fleet-wing'd duty with thought's feathers flies *.
Poor Lucrece' cheeks unto her maid seem so
As winter meads, when sun doth melt their


3 THOU, Collatine, shalt oversee this Will ;] Thus the quarto. The edition of 1616 has:

"Then Collatine," &c. MALONE.

The overseer of a will was, I suppose, designed as a check upon executors. Our author appoints John Hall and his wife for his executors, and Thomas Russel and Francis Collins as his overseers. STEEVENS.

Overseers were frequently added in Wills from the superabundant caution of our ancestors; but our law acknowledges no such persons, nor are they (as contradistinguished from executors,) invested with any legal rights whatsoever. In some old Wills the term overseer is used instead of executor. Sir Thomas Bodley, the founder of the Bodleian Library in Oxford, not content with appointing two executors and two overseers, has likewise added three supervisors. MALONE.


with THOUGHT'S FEATHERS flies.] So, in King John: set feathers to thy heels,


"And fly like thought." STEEVENS.

Her mistress she doth give demure good-morrow,
With soft-slow tongue, true mark of modesty';
And sorts a sad look to her lady's sorrow
(For why? her face wore sorrow's livery :)
But durst not ask of her audaciously


Why her two suns were cloud-eclipsed so,
Nor why her fair cheeks over-wash'd with woe.


But as the earth doth weep, the sun being set",
Each flower moisten'd like a melting eye";
Even so the maid with swelling drops 'gan wet
Her circled eyne, enforc'd by sympathy
Of those fair suns, set in her mistress sky,

Who in a salt-wav'd ocean quench their light, Which makes the maid weep like the dewy night'.

s With SOFT-SLOW TONGUE, true mark of modesty ;] So, in The Taming of the Shrew :

"Such duty to the drunkard let him do, "With soft-low tongue and lowly courtesy." In King Lear the same praise is bestowed on Cordelia : Her voice was ever soft,


"Gentle and low:-an excellent thing in woman."


❝ And sorts a sad look to her lady's sorrow,] To sort is to choose out. So before :

"When wilt thou sort an hour great strifes to end."

MALONE. 7- as the earth DOTH WEEP, THE SUN BEING SET, &c.] So, in Romeo and Juliet:

"When the sun sets, the air doth drizzle dew."


8 Each FLOWER moisten'd like a MELTING EYE;] So, in A Midsummer-Night's Dream:

"The moon, methinks, looks with a watry eye;
"And when she weeps, weeps every little flower."

• Which makes the maid WEEP LIKE THE DEWY NIGHT.] So, in Dryden's Oedipus:

"Thus weeping blind like dewy night upon thee."


A pretty while these pretty creatures stand,
Like ivory conduits coral cisterns filling2:
One justly weeps; the other takes in hand
No cause, but company, of her drops spilling:
Their gentle sex to weep are often willing;

Grieving themselves to guess at others' smarts, And then they drown their eyes, or break their hearts:

For men have marble, women waxen, minds,
And therefore are they form'd as marble will3;
"The weak oppress'd, the impression of strange kinds
Is form'd in them by force, by fraud, or skill:
Then call them not the authors of their ill,

No more than wax shall be accounted evil,
Wherein is stamp'd the semblance of a devil.

I A PRETTY while-] Pretty seems formerly to have sometimes had the signification of petty,-as in the present instance. So also in Shelton's translation of Don Quixote, 4to. 1612, vol. i. p. 407: "The admiration and tears joined, indured in them all for a pretty space." MALONE.

Like ivory CONDUITS coral cisterns filling:] So, in As You Like It: "I will weep for nothing, like Diana in the fountain." Again, in Romeo and Juliet :

"How now? a conduit, girl? What? still in tears?
"Ever more weeping." MALONE.

So, in Titus Andronicus :

"As from a conduit with their issuing spouts."


3 And therefore are they form'd as marble will ;] Hence do they [women] receive whatever impression their marble-hearted associates [men] choose. The expression is very quaint.


• Then call them not the authors of their ill,

No more than wax shall be accounted evil,

Wherein is stamp'd the semblance of a devil.] So, in Twelfth Night:

"How easy is it for the proper false

"In women's waxen hearts to set their forms!

"Alas, our frailty is the cause, not we,

"For, such as we are made of, such we be." Again, in Measure for Measure:



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