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EARL OF SOUTHAMPTON, AND BARON OF TICHFIELD.
The love I dedicate to your Lordship is without end; whereof this Pamphlet, without beginning, is but a fùperfluous moiety. The warrant I have of your honourable disposition, not the worth of my untutored lines, makes it assured of acceptance. What I have done is yours, what I have to do is yours; being part in all I have devoted yours. Were my worth greater, my duty would show greater : mean time, as it is, it is bound to your Lordship, to whom I with long life, still lengthened with all happiness.
Your Lordship’s in all duty,
THE ARGUMENT. ;*
Lucius TARQUINIUS. (for his exceffive pride surnamed: Superbus) after
he had caufed his own father-in-law, Servius Tullius, to bei cruelly murdered, and, contrary to the Roman laws and customs, not requiring or staying for the people's fuffrages, had poffefsed himself of the kingdom ; went, accompanied with his sons and other noblemen of Rome, to besiege Ardea. During which siege, the principal men of the army meeting one evening at the tent of Sextus Tarquinius, the king's son, in their discourses after supper every one commended the virtues of his own'wife ; among whom, Collatinus extolled the incomparable chastity of his wife Lucretia. In that pleasant humour they all posted to Rome; and intending, by their secret and sudden arrival, to make trial of that which every one had before avouched, only Collatinus - finds his wife (though it were late in the night) spinning amongst her maids : the other ladies were all found dancing and revelling, or in several disports. Whereupon the noblemen yielded Collatinus the victory, and his wife the fame. At that time Sextus Tarquinius being inflamed with Lucrece' beauty, yet smothering his passions for the present, departed with the rest back to the camp; from whence he shortly after privily withdrew himself, and was (according to his estate) royally entertained and lodged by Lucrece at Collatium. The same night, he treacherously stealeth, into her chamber, violently ravished her, and early in the morning speedeth away. Lucrece, in this lamentable plight, hastily dispatcheth messengers, one to Rome for her father, another to the camp for Collatine. They came, the one accompanied with Junius Brutus, the other with Publius Valerius ; and finding Lucrece attired in mourning habit, demanded the cause of her forrow. She, first taking an oath of them for her revenge, revealed the actor, and whole
manner of his dealing, and withal suddenly stabbed herself. Which done, with one consent they all vowed to root out the whole hated family of the Tarquins ; and bearing the dead body to Rome, Brutus acquainted the people with the doer and manner of the vile deed, with a bitter invective' against the tyranny of the king : wherewith the people were so moved, that with one consent and a general acclamation the Tarquins were all exiled, and the state government changed from kings to consuls.