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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 waining age ;
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 loft.
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 juft,
When he himself himself confounds, betrays
To flanderous tongues, and wretched hateful days?
Now stole upon the time the dead of night,
When heavy sleep had clos'd
No comfortable ftar did lend his light,
No noise but owls' and wolves' death-boding cries :
Now serves the season that they may surprise
The filly lambs ; pure thoughts are dead and still,
While luft and murder wake to stain and kill.
And now this luftful lord leap'd from his bed,
Throwing his mantle rudely o'er his arm;
Is madly toss'd between desire and dread;
The one sweetly flatters, the other feareth harm;
But honest Fear, bewitch'd with luft'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 fpeaks 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 fcornfully, he doth despise
His naked armour of still-llaughter'd luft,
And justly thus controls his thoughts unjuft.
Fair torch, burn out thy light, and lend it not
To darken her whose light excelleth thine !
And die unhallow'd thoughts, before you blot
uncleanness that which is divine ! Offer pure incense to fo pure a shrine :
Let fair humanity abhor the deed
That spots and stains love's modest snow-white weed.
O shame to knighthood and to shining arms !
O foul dishonour to my houshold'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
Yea, though I die, the scandal will survive,
And be an eye-fore 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,
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 fells 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 scepter straight be strucken down?
If Collatinus dream of
Will he not wake, and in a desperate rage
Poft hither, this vile purpose to prevent?
This fiege 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 fake?
Mine eyes forego their light, my false heart bleed ?
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 fire,
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 :
My will is strong, paft reason's weak removing.
Who fears a sentence or an old man's faw,
Shall by a painted cloth 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 fome 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.
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 gawdy banner is display'd,
The coward fights, and will not be dismay'd.