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Neglected all, with swift intent he goes
To quench the coal which in his liver glows.
O rash false heat, wrapt in repentant cold,
Thy hasty spring still blasts, and ne'er grows old!
When at Collatium this false lord arriv'd,
Well was he welcom’d by the Roman dame,
Within whose face beauty and virtue striv'd
Which of them both should underprop her fame :
When virtue bragg'd, beauty would blush for shame;
When beauty boasted blushes, in despite
Virtue would stain that o'er with silver white. ,
But beauty, in that white intituled,
From Venus' doves doth challenge that fair field ;
Then virtue claims from beauty beauty's red,
Which virtue gave the golden age, to gild
Their silver cheeks, and call'd it then their shield;
Teaching them thus to use it in the fight,-
When shame assail'd, the red should fence the
This heraldry in Lucrece' face was seen,
Argued by beauty's red, and virtue's white.
Of either's colour was the other
queen, Proving from world's minority their right: Yet their ambition makes them still to fight;
The sovereignty of either being so great,
That oft they interchange each other's seat.
3 intituled) i. e. having a title in.
This silent war of lilies and of roses
Which Tarquin view'd in her fair face's field,
In their pure ranks his traitor eye
encloses; Where, lest between them both it should be kill'd, The coward captive vanquished doth yield
To those two armies that would let him go,
Rather than triumph in so false a foe.
Now thinks he that her husband's shallow tongue
(The niggard prodigal that prais'd her so)
In that high task hath done her beauty wrong,
Which far exceeds his barren skill to show :
Therefore that praise * which Collatine doth owe, 5
Enchanted Tarquin answers with surmise,
In silent wonder of still-gazing eyes.
This earthly saint, adored by this devil,
Little suspecteth the false worshipper;
For unstain'd thoughts do seldom dream on evil;
Birds never lim'd no secret bushes fear :
So guiltless she securely gives good cheer
And reverend welcome to her princely guest,
Whose inward ill no outward harm express'd :
For that he colour'd with his high estate,
Hiding base sin in plaits of majesty;
That nothing in him seem'd inordinate,
Save sometime too much wonder of his eye,
Which, naving all, all could not satisfy;
But, poorly rich, so wanteth in his store,
That cloy'd with much, he pineth still for more.
But she that never cop'd with stranger eyes,
Could pick no meaning from their parling looks,
Nor read the subtle-shining secrecies
Writ in the glassy margents of such books;
She touch'd no unknown baits, fear'd hooks;
Nor could she moralize 6 his wanton sight,
More than his eyes were open’d to the light.
He stories to her ears her husband's fame,
Won in the fields of fruitful Italy;
And decks with praises Collatine's high name,
Made glorious by his manly chivalry,
With bruised arms and wreaths of victory;
Her joy with heav'd-up hand she doth express,
And, wordless, so greets heaven for his success.
Far from the purpose of his coming thither,
He makes excuses for his being there.
No cloudy show of stormy blustering weather
Doth yet in his fair welkin once appear ;
Till sable Night, mother of Dread and Fear,
Upon the world dim darkness doth display,
And in her vaulty prison stows the day.
For then is Tarquin brought unto his bed,
Intending" weariness with heavy spright;
For, after supper, long he questioned
With modest Lucrece, and wore out the night :
Now leaden slumber with life's strength doth fight;
And every one to rest himself betakes,
Save thieves, and cares, and troubled minds,
As one of which doth Tarquin lie revolving
The sundry dangers of his will's obtaining;
Yet ever to obtain his will resolving,
Though weak-built hopes persuade him to ab-
Despair to gain, doth traffic oft for gaining;
And when great treasure is the meed propos’d, Though death be adjunct, there's no death
Those that much covet, are with gain so fond,
That what they have not, that which they possess,
They scatter and unloose it from their bond,
And so, by hoping more, they have but less;
Or, gaining more, the profit of excess
Is but to surfeit, and such griefs sustain,
That they prove bankrupt in this poor-rich gain
The aim of all is but to nurse the life
With honour, wealth, and ease, in waning age;
? Intending] i. e. pretending.
And in this aim there is such thwarting strife,
That one for all, or all for one we gage;
As life for honour, in fell battles' rage;
Honour for wealth; and oft that wealth doth cost
The death of all, and all together lost.
So that in vent'ring ill, we leave to be
The things we are, for that which we expect;
And this ambitious foul infirmity,
In having much, torments us with defect
Of that we have: so then we do neglect
The thing we have, and, all for want of wit,
Make something nothing, by augmenting it.
Such hazard now must doting Tarquin make,
Pawning his honour to obtain his lust;
And for himself, himself he must forsake :
Then where is truth, if there be no self-trust?
When shall he think to find a stranger just,
When he himself himself confounds, betrays
To slanderous tongues, and wretched hateful
the time the dead of night,
When heavy sleep had clos'd up mortal eyes;
No comfortable star did lend his light,
No noise but owls' and wolves' death-boding cries;
Now serves the season that they may surprise
The silly lambs; pure thoughts are dead and still,
While lust and murder wake to stain and kill.