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And now this lustful lord leap'd from his bed,
Throwing his mantle rudely o'er his arm;
Is madly toss'd between desire and dread;
Th' one sweetly flatters, th' other feareth harm;
But honest Fear, bewitch'd with lust's foul charm,
Doth too too oft betake him to retire,
Beaten away by brain-sick rude Desire.

His falchion on a flint he softly smiteth,
That from the cold stone sparks of fire do fly,
Whereat a waxen torch forthwith he lighteth,
Which must be lode-star to his lustful eye;
And to the flame thus speaks advisedly :

"As from this cold flint I enforc'd this fire, "So Lucrece must I force to my desire."

Here pale with fear he doth premeditate
The dangers of his loathsome enterprise,
And in his inward mind he doth debate
What following sorrow may on this arise;
Then looking scornfully, he doth despise

His naked armour of still-slaughter'd lust,
And justly thus controls his thoughts unjust:

"Fair torch, burn out thy light, and lend it


"To darken her whose light excelleth thine! "And die, unhallow'd thoughts, before you blot "With your uncleanness that which is divine! "Offer pure incense to so pure a shrine:

“Let fair humanity abhor the deed

"That spots and stains love's modest snowwhite weed.

"O shame to knighthood and to shining arms! "O foul dishonour to my household's grave! "O impious act, including all foul harms! "A martial man to be soft fancy's slave; "True valour still a true respect should have; "Then my digression is so vile, so base, "That it will live engraven in my face.

"Yea, though I die, the scandal will survive, "And be an eye-sore in my golden coat; "Some loathsome dash the herald will contrive, "To cipher me, how fondly I did dote; "That my posterity, sham'd with the note,

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Shall curse my bones, and hold it for no sin "To wish that I their father had not been.

"What win I, if I gain the thing I seek? "A dream, a breath, a froth of fleeting joy: "Who buys a minute's mirth, to wail a week? "Or sells eternity, to get a toy?

"For one sweet grape who will the vine destroy? "Or what fond beggar, but to touch the crown, "Would with the sceptre straight be strucken down?

8 fancy's] 1. e. love's.

"If Collatinus dream of my intent, “Will he not wake, and in a desperate rage "Post hither, this vile purpose to prevent? "This siege that hath engirt his marriage, "This blur to youth, this sorrow to the sage, "This dying virtue, this surviving shame, "Whose crime will bear an ever-during blame?

"O what excuse can my invention make, "When thou shalt charge me with so black a deed? "Will not my tongue be mute, my frail joints


"Mine eyes forego their light, my false heart


"The guilt being great, the fear doth still exceed; "And extreme fear can neither fight nor fly,


But, coward-like, with trembling terror die.

"Had Collatinus kill'd my son or sire,
“Or lain in ambush to betray my life,
"Or were he not my dear friend, this desire
Might have excuse to work upon his wife;
"As in revenge or quittal of such strife:


"But as he is my kinsman, my dear friend, "The shame and fault finds no excuse nor end.

"Shameful it is;-ay, if the fact be known: "Hateful it is;-there is no hate in loving: "I'll beg her love;-but she is not her own; "The worst is but denial, and reproving:

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My will is strong, past reason's weak removing. "Who fears a sentence or an old man's saw, "Shall by a painted cloth 9 be kept in awe.”

Thus, graceless, holds he disputation
"Tween frozen conscience and hot-burning will,
And with good thoughts makes dispensation,
Urging the worser sense for vantage still;
Which in a moment doth confound and kill

All pure effects, and doth so far proceed,

That what is vile shows like a virtuous deed.

Quoth he, "She took me kindly by the hand, "And gaz'd for tidings in my eager eyes, "Fearing some hard news from the warlike band "Where her beloved Collatinus lies.

"O how her fear did make her colour rise!

"First red as roses that on lawn we lay,
"Then white as lawn, the roses took away.

"And how her hand, in my hand being lock'd, "Forc'd it to tremble with her loyal fear; "Which struck her sad, and then it faster rock'd, "Until her husband's welfare she did hear; "Whereat she smiled with so sweet a cheer,

"That had Narcissus seen her as she stood, "Self-love had never drown'd him in the flood.

9 painted cloth] i. e. not tapestry, but hangings for rooms of cloth painted in oil, which were interspersed with moral



Why hunt I then for colour or excuses? "All orators are dumb when beauty pleadeth; "Poor wretches have remorse in poor abuses; "Love thrives not in the heart that shadows dreadeth :

"Affection is my captain, and he leadeth; "And when his gaudy banner is display'd, "The coward fights, and will not be dismay'd.

"Then, childish fear, avaunt! debating, die!

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Respect 10 and reason wait on wrinkled age!

My heart shall never countermand mine eye: "Sad pause and deep regard beseem the sage;


'My part is youth, and beats these from the stage: "Desire my pilot is, beauty my prize;

"Then who fears sinking where such treasure lies?"

As corn o'ergrown by weeds, so heedful fear
Is almost chok'd by unresisted lust.
Away he steals with open listening ear,
Full of foul hope, and full of fond mistrust;
Both which, as servitors to the unjust,

So cross him with their opposite persuasion,
That now he vows a league, and now invasion.

Within his thought her heavenly image sits,
And in the selfsame seat sits Collatine:

10 Respect] 1. e. prudence, that looks to consequences.

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