Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

Then childish fear avaunt! debating die !
Respect and reason, wait on wrinkled age!
My heart shall never countermand mine eye :
Sad pause and deep regard beseem the fage;
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 cori o'ergrown by weeds, fo heedful fear
Is almost chok'd by unresisted luft.
Away he steals with open listening ear,
Full of foul hope, and full of fond mistrust;
Both which, as fervitors 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 fits,
And in the self same feat fits Collatine :
That
eye which looks on her, confounds his wits ;

; That eye which him beholds, as more divine, Unto a view so false will not incline;

But with a pure appeal seeks to the heart, Which once corrupted, takes the worser part;

And therein heartens up his servile

his servile powers,
Who, flatter'd by their leader's jocund show,
Stuff up his lust, as minutes fill up hours ;
And as their captain, to their pride doth grow,
Paying more slavish tribute than they owe.

By reprobate desire thus madly led,
The Roman lord marcheth to Lucrece' bed.

The locks between her chamber and his will,
Each one by him enforc'd, retires his ward;
But as they open, they all rate his ill,
Which drives the creeping thief to some regard :
The threshold grates the door to have him heard ;

Night-wandring weesels shriek to see him there;
They fright him, yet he still pursues his fear.

As each unwilling portal yields him way, Through little vents and crannies of the place The wind wars with his torch, to make him stay, And blows the smoke of it into his face, Extinguishing his conduct in this case ;

But his hot heart, which fond desire doth scorch, Puffs forth another wind that-fires the torch:

And being lighted, by the light he spies
Lucretia's glove, wherein her needle sticks;
He takes it from the rushes where it lies
And griping it, the neeld his finger pricks :
As who should say, this glove to wanton tricks

Is not inur'd ; return again in haste;
Thou seeft our mistress' ornaments are chafte.

But all these poor forbiddings could not stay him
He in the worst fenfe conftrues their denial :
The doors, the wind, the glove that did delay him,
He takes for accidental things of trial ;
Or as those bars which stop the hourly dial,

Who with a ling’ring stay his course doth let,
Till

pays

the hour his debt

every minute

So, fo, quoth he, these lets attend the time,
Like little frosts that sometime threat the spring,
To add a more rejoicing to the prime,
And give the sneaped birds more cause to sing,
Pain pays the income of each precious thing;

Huge rocks, high winds, strong pirates, shelves and fands,
The merchant fears, ere rich at home he lands.

Now is he come unto the chamber door
That shuts him from the heaven of his thought,
Which with a yielding latch, and with no more,
Hath barr'd him from the blessed thing he fought.
So from himself impiety hath wrought,

That for his prey to pray he doth begin,
As if the heavens should countenance his fin.

But in the midst of his unfruitful prayer,
Having folicited the eternal power,
That his foul thoughts might compass his fair fair,
And they would stand auspicious to the hour,
Even there he starts :-quoth he, I must deflower ;

The powers to whom I pray, abhor this fact,
How can they then aslist me in the act ?

Then Love and Fortune be my gods, my guide !
My will is back'd with resolution:
Thoughts are but dreams till their effects be tried,
The blackest fin is clear'd with abfolution;
Against love's fire fear's froft hath dissolution.
The

eye of heaven is out, and misty night Covers the shame that follows sweet delight.

This faid, his guilty hand pluck'd up the latch,
And with his knee the door he opens wide :
The dove sleeps fast that this night-owl will catch ;
Thus treason works ere traitors be espied.
Who sees the lurking ferpent, steps aside ;

But she, found sleeping, fearing no such thing,
Lies at the mercy of his mortal sting.

Into the chamber wickedly he stalks,
And gazeth on her yet unstained bed.
The curtains being close, about he walks,
Rolling his greedy eye-balls in his head :
By their high treason is his heart misled;

Which gives the watch-word to his hand full soon,
To draw the cloud that hides the silver moon.

Look as the fair and firy-pointed sun,
Rushing from forth a cloud, bereaves our fight;
Even so, the curtain drawn, his eyes begun
To wink, being blinded with a greater light:
Whether it is, that she reflects fo bright,

That dazzleth them, or else some shame supposed;
But blind they are, and keep themselves enclosed.

O, had they in that darksome prison died,
Then had they seen the period of their ill!
Then Collatine again by Lucrece' fide,
In his clear bed might have reposed still :
But they must ope, this blessed league to kill;

And holy-thoughted Lucrece to their fight
Must sell her joy, her life, her world's delight.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Her lily hand her rosy cheek lies under,
Cozening the pillow of a lawful kiss;
Who therefore angry, seems to part in sunder,
Swelling on either side to want his bliss ;
Between whose hills her head intombed is :

Where, like a virtuous monument, she lies,
To be admir'd of lewd unhallow'd eyes.

Without the bed her other fair hand was,
On the green coverlet; whose perfect white
Show'd like an April daisy on the grass,
With pearly sweat, resembling dew of night.
Her eyes, like marigolds, had sheath'd their light,

And, canopied in darkness, sweetly lay,
Till they might open to adorn the day.

Her hair, like golden threads, play'd with her breath;
O modeft wantons ! wanton modesty!
Showing life's triumph in the map of death, ,
And death's dim look in life's mortality.
Each in her sleep themselves fo beautify,

As if between them twain there were no strife,
But that life liv'd in death, and death in life..

Her breasts, like ivory globes circled with blue,
A pair of maiden worlds unconquered,
Save of their lord no bearing yoke they knew,
And him by oath they truly honoured.
These worlds in Tarquin new ambition bred ;

Who, like a foul usurper, went about
From this fair throne to heave the owner out.

« AnteriorContinua »