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No man inveigh against the wither'd flower,
But chide rough winter that the flower hath kill'd!
Not that devour'd, but that which doth devour,
Is worthy blame. O let it not be hild
Poor women's faults, that they are so fulfill'd
With men's abuses : those proud lords, to blame,
Make weak-made women tenants to their shame.
The precedent whereof in Lucrece view,
Assail'd by night with circumstances strong
Of present death, and shame that might ensue
By that her death, to do her husband wrong:
Such danger to resistance did belong,
That dying fear through all her body spread;
And who cannot abuse a body dead ?
By this, mild patience bid fair Lucrece speak
To the poor counterfeit of her complaining :
My girl, quoth she, on what occasion break
Those tears from thee, that down thy cheeks are raining?
If thou dost weep for grief of my sustaining,
Know, gentle wench, it small avails my mood:
If tears could help, mine own would do me good.
But tell me, girl, when went—and there she stay'd
Till after a deep groan) Tarquin from hence ?
Madam, ere I was up, reply'd the maid,
The more to blame my sluggard negligence :
Yet with the fault I thus far can dispense;
Myself were stirring ere the break of day,
And, ere I rose, was Tarquin gone away.
But lady, if your maid may be so bold,
She would request to know your
O peace ! quoth Lucrece ; if it should be told,
The repetition cannot make it less;
For more it is than I can well express:
And that deep torture may be callid a hell,
When more is felt than one hath power to tell.
Go, get me hither paper, ink, and pen-
Yet save that labour, for I have them here.
What should I say?-One of my husband's men,
Bid thou be ready, by and by, to bear
A letter to my lord, my love, my dear;
Bid him with speed prepare to carry it:
The cause craves haste, and it will soon be writ.
Her maid is gone, and the prepares to write,
First hovering o'er the paper
with her quill :
Conceit and grief an eager combat fight ;
What wit sets down, is blotted straight with will ;
This is too curious-good, this blunt and ill :
Much like a press of people at a door,
Throng her inventions, which shall
At last she thus begins : “ Thou worthy lord
Of that unworthy wife that greeteth thee,
Health to thy person! next vouchsafe to afford
(If ever, love, thy Lucrece thou wilt see,)
Some present speed to come and visit me:
So I commend me from our house in grief ;
My woes are tedious, though my words are brief."
Here folds the up the tenour of her woe,
Her certain forrow writ uncertainly.
By this short schedule Collatine may know
Her grief, but not her grief's true quality:
She dares not thereof make discovery,
Left he should hold it her own gross abuse,
Ere she with blood hath stain'd her stain'd excuse.
Besides, the life and feeling of her passion
She hoards, to spend when he is by to hear her ;
When fighs and groans and tears may grace the fashion
Of her disgrace, the better so to clear her
From that suspicion which the world might bear her.
To shun this blot, she would not blot the letter
With words, till action might become them better.
To see fad fights moves more than hear them told;
For then the eye interprets to the ear
The heavy motion that it doth behold,
When every part a part of woe doth bear.
'Tis but a part of sorrow that we hear :
Deep sounds make lefser noise than shallow fords,
And sorrow ebbs, being blown with wind of words.
Her letter now is seal'd, and on it writ,
At Ardea to my-lord with more than haste:
The post attends, and she delivers it,
Charging the four-fac'd groom to hie as fast
As lagging fowls before the northern blast.
Speed more than speed, but dull and flow she deems :
Extremity still urgeth such extremes.
The homely villein curt'lies to her low
And blushing on her, with a stedfast eye
Receives the seroll, without or yea or no,
And forth with bathful innocence doth hie.
But they whose guilt within their bosoms lie,
Imagine every eye beholds their blame ;
For Lucrece thought he blush'd to see her shame,
When, filly groom, God wot, it was defect
Of spirit, life, and bold audacity:
Such harmless creatures have a true respect
To talk in deeds, while others saucily
Promise more speed, but do it leisurely:
Even so, this pattern of the worn-out age
Pawn'd honest looks, but laid no words to gage.
His kindled duty kindled her mistrust,
That two red fires in both their faces blazed ;
She thought he blush'd, as knowing Tarquin's lust,
And, blushing with him, wistly on him gazed ;
Her earnest eye did make him more amazed :
The more she saw the blood his cheeks replenish,
The more she thought he spy'd in her some blemith.
But long she thinks till he return again,
the duteous vassal scarce is gone.
The weary time she cannot entertain,
For now 'tis stale to figh, to weep, and groan :
So woe hath wearied woe, moan tired moan,
That she her plaints a little while doth stay,
Pausing for means to mourn some newer way.
At last she calls to mind where hangs a piece
Of skilful painting, made for Priam's Troy ;
Before the which is drawn the power of Greece,
For Helen's rape the city to destroy,
Threatening cloud-kissing Ilion with annoy ;
Which the conceited painter drew so proud,
As heaven (it seem'd) to kiss the turrets bow'd.
A thousand lamentable objeets there,
In scorn of Nature, Art gave lifeless life:
Many a dry drop seem'd a weeping tear,
Shed for the slaughter'd husband by the wife :
The red blood reek’d to show the painter's strife;
And dying eyes gleam'd forth their alhy lights,
Like dying coals burnt out in tedious nights.
There might you see the labouring pioneer
Begrim'd with sweat, and smeared all with dust;
And from the towers of Troy there would appear
The very eyes of men through loop-holes thrust,
Gazing upon the Greeks with little luft :
Such sweet observance in this work was had,
That one might see those far-off look fad.
In great commanders
You might behold, triùmphing in their faces;
In youth, quick bearing and dexterity;
And here and there the painter interlaces
Pale cowards, marching on with trembling paces ;
Which heartless peasants did so well resemble,
That one would swear he saw them quake and trembio