Having solicited the eternal power,
That his foul thoughts might compass his fair (air.
And they would stand auspicious to the hour.
Even there he starts : — quoth he, " I must deflower ;
The powers to whom 1 pray, abhor this fact,
How can they then assist me in the act ?
" Then Love and Fortune be my gods, my guide !
My will is back'd with resolution :
Tnoughts are but dreams till their effeots be tried.
The blackest sin is clear'd with absolution ;
A^inst love's fire fear's frost hath dissolution.
The eye of heaven is out, and misty night
Covers the shame that follows sweet delight."
This said, 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 oe espied.
Who sees the lurking serpent, steps aside ;
But she, sound 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 beo.
The curtains being close, about he walks.
Boiling his greedy eye-balls in his head
By their hign
treason is his heart misled ;
"Which gives the watchword to his hand full soon.
To draw the cloud that hides the silver moon.
• Retard. t Spring. t Checked.
f Everything worth having causes pain or trouble in its acquisition.
THE RAPE OF LUCRECB. 417
Look, as the fair and fiery-pointed sun,
Rushing from forth a cloud, bereaves our sight ;
Even so, the curtain drawn, his eyes begun
To wink, being blinded with a greater light :
"Whether it is, that she reflects so bright,
That dazzleth them, or else some shame supposed ;
But bUnd they are, and keep themselves enclosed.
O. had they in that darksome prison died.
Tnen had they seen the period* of their ill !
Then CoUatine again by Lucreoe' side,
In his dearf bed mieht have reposed still :
But they must ope, this blessed league to kill ;
And holy-thoughted Lucrece to their sight
Must sen her joy, her life, her world's delight.
Her lily hand her rosy cheek Ues under.
Cozening the pillow of a lawful kiss ;t
Who therefore angry, seems to part in sunder,
* End. t Spotless.
t Among: fhe poems of Sir John Suckling: (who is said to have been a
great admirer of our author) is one entitled A Supplement of an imperfect
Copy of Venet of Mr.WiUiam Shakspeare*», which begins with these lines,
somewhat varied. We can hardly snppose that Suckling would have
called a passag^e extracted f^om a regular poem an imperfect copy of
vertes. Perhaps Shakspeare had written the lines quoted below (of which
8ir John might have had a manuscript copy) on some occasion previous to
the publication of his Lucrece, and afterwards used them in this poem,
with some variation. In a subsequent page the reader will find some
verses that aimear to have been written before Venus and Adonis was com-
posed, of which, in like manner, the leading thoughts were afterwards
employed in that poem. This supposed fragment is thus supplied by
Suckling.— The variations are distinguished by Italic characters.
" One of her hands one of her cheeks lap under.
Cozening the pillow of a lawful kiss;
Which therefore sweWd and seem* d to part asunder.
As angry to be robbed of such a bliss :
The one looked pale, and for revenge did long.
While Vother blushed 'cause it had done the wrong.
** Out o/the bed the other flair hand was,
On a green satin quilt; whose perfect white
iMtk'd like a daisy in afield o/ grass, §
And show'd like unmelt snow unto the sight :
There lay this pretty perdue, safe to keep
The rest o' the body that lay fast asleep.
" Her eyes (and therefore it was night) close laid.
Strove to imprison beauty till the mom ;
But yet the doors were of such fine stuff made.
That it broke through and show'd itself in scorn j
Throwing a kind of light about the place,
Which turnM to smiles, still as't came near her f9ce.
§ Thus far (says Suckling) Shakspeare,
XOU V. 2 k
418 THE BAPE OF LrCBBCE.
Swelling on either side to want his bliss ;
Between whose hills her head intombed is :
Where, like a virtuous monument, she hes,*
To be admired of lewd unhallow'd eyes.
"Without the bed her other fair hand was,
On the green coverlet ; whose perfect white
Showed Rke an April daisy on the grass.
With pearly sweat, resembling dew o/ night.
Her eves, like mangolds, had sheath'd their light.
And, canopied in darkness, sweetly lay,
Till they might open to adorn the day.
Her hair, like golden threads, played with her breath ;
O modest wantons ! wanton modesty !
Showing Ufe's triumph in the map of death,t
And death's dim look in life's mortality.
Each in her sleep themselves so beautify,
As if between them twain there were no strife,
But that life Uved in death, and death in Ufe.
Her breasts, like ivory globes circled with blue,
A pair of maiden worlds unconauered.
Save of their lord no bearing yoke they knew.
And him by oatht the^ truly honoured.
These worlds in T^rquin new ambition bred;
Who, like a foul usurper, went about
From this fair throne to heave the owner out.
What could he see, but mightily he noted ?
What did he note, but strongly he desired ?
What he beheld, on that he mmly doted.
And in his will nis wilfhl eye he tired.§
With more than admiration he admired
Her azure veins, her alabaster skin.
Her coral lips, her snow-white dimpled chin.
As the grim lion fawneth o'er his prey,
Sharp hunger by the conquest satisfieo,
So o'er this sleeping soul doth Tarquin stay.
His rage of lust by gazing qualified ;
Slack'cl, not suppressed ; for standing by her side,
* On oar ancient monuments the heads of the persons reivesented i
commonly reposed on pillowg.
t The similitude of death : sleep.
t I. e. the mtUrimoniat oath. § Fed.
** Her beams, which some dull men caU*d hair, divided
Part with her cheeks, part with her lips did sport;
But these, as rude, her breath put by still : some |
Wiselier downward sought ; but falling short,
Curl*d back in rings, and seem'd to turn a^^edn
To bite the part so unkindly held them in."
fl From the want of rhyme here, I suspect this line to be corrupt.
THS BAPB OF LUCBBCE. 419
His eye, which Iste this mutinT restrains.
Unto a greater uproar tempts nis veins :
And they, like staraggling slaves for pillage fighting,
Obdurate vassals, fell exploits aflTectinff,
In bloody death and ravishment delignting.
Nor children's tears, nor mothers' groans respecting,
Swell in their pride, the onset still expecting :
Anon his beating heart, alarum* striking,
Gives the hot charge, and bids them do their liking.
His drumming heart cheers up his burning eye,
His eye 'commends the leadine to his hand :
His mmd, as i»roud of such a dignity,
Smoking with pride, march'd on to make his stand
On her bare breast the heart of all her land ;
Whose ranks of blue veins, as his hand did scale.
Left their round turrets destitute and pale.
They mustering to the quiet cabinet
Where their dear eovemess and lady lies,
Do tell her she is areadflill:r beset.
And fright her with confusion of their cries
Sh^much amazed, breaks ope her lock'd-up eyes,
Who, peeping forth, this tumult to behold.
Are by his flaming torch dimm'd and oontroU'd.
Imagine her as one in dead of night.
From forth dull sleep by dreadful fancy waking.
That thinks she hath beheld some ghastlv sprite.
Whose grim asp^t sets every joint a-shaking ;
What terror 'tis ! but she in worser taking,
From sleep disturbed, heedfully doth view
The sight which makes supposed terror true.
Wrapp'd and confounded in a thousand fears,
Like to a new-kill'd bird she trembling lies;
She dares not look; yet, winking, there appears
Quick-shifting antics, ugly in her eyes :
Such shadows are the weak brain's forgeries :
Who, angry that the eyes fly from their lights.
In darkness daunts them with more dreadful sights.
His hand that yet remains upon her breast,
(Rude ram, to batter such an ivory wall !)
May feel her heart (poor citizen !) distress*d.
Wounding itself to death, rise up and &U,
Beating her bulkf^ that his hand shakes withaL
This moves in him more rage, «nd leaaer pi^.
To make the breach, and enter this sweet city.
I^rst, like a trumpet, doth his tongue begin
To sound a parley to his heartless foe,
Who o'er the white sheet peers her whiter chin,
* War-cry. t Body.
420 THE BAFB OF LTJCfiECE.
' The reason of tMs rash alarm to know
Which he by dumb demeanour seeks to show ;
But she with vehement prayers urgeth still.
Under what colour he commits this ilL
Thus he replies : " The colour in thy face
(That even for anger makes the lily pale.
And the red rose Blush at her own disgrace),
Shall plead for me, and tell my loving tale :
Under that colour am I come to scale
Thy never-conquer'd fort ; the fault, is thine.
For those thine eyes betray the^ unto mine.
*' Thus I forestall thee, if thou mean to chide ;
Thy beauty hath ensnared thee to this night
Where thou with patience must my will abid^
My wUl that marks thee for mv earth's delish^
Wnich I to conquer sought with all my might ;
But as reproof and reason beat it dead.
By thy bright beauty was it newly bred.*
** I see what crosses my attempt will bring :
I know what thorns the growmg rose defends ;
I think the honey guarded with a sting :
AH this beforehand counsel comprehends:
But will is deaf, and hears no heedful Mends ;
Only he hath an eye to gaze on beauty,
Anq: dotes on what he looks, 'gainst law or duty.
" I have debated, even in my soul.
What wrong, what shame^ what sorrow I shall breed ;
But nothing can affection^s course control,
Or stop the neadlong fury of his speed.
I know repentant tears ensue the deed,
Eeproacn, disdain, and deadly enmity :
Yet strive I to embrace mine mhmy.
This said, he shakes alofb his Boman blade,
Which like a fakx>n towering in the skie&
Couchethf the fowl below with his wings^ shade.
Whose crooked beak threats if he mount he dies :
So under the insulting fklchion lies
Harmless Lucretia, marking what he tells,
With trembling fear, as fowl hear falcons' bells.
" Lucreoe," quoth he, " this night I must eigoy thee :
If thou deny, then force inust work my way,
Por in thy bed I purpose to destroy thee :
That done, some worthless slave or thine ill slay.
To kill thine honour with thy life's decay ;
And in thy dead arms do I mean to place him.
Swearing I slew him, seeing thee emorace him.
* Renewed. t Makes it cower.
THB SAPE 07 LT7CBBCfi. 421
*' So thy snrvlTing husband shall remain
The scornftil mark of every open eye ;
Thy kinsmen hang their heads at tnis disdain.
Thy issue blurr'd with nameless bastardy :*
And thou, the author of their obloquy,
Shalt have thy trespass citedt up in rhymes,
And sung by children in suoceeoing times.
** But if thou yield, I rest thy secret friend :
The Ikult unknown is as a thought unacted ;
A little harm, done to a great good end.
For lawfill policy remains enacted.
The poisonous sunple sometimes is compacted
In a pure compound ; beins so applied.
His venom in effect is purified.
** Then for th^ husband's and thy children's sake.
Tender my suit :1 bequeath not to their lot
The shame that from them no device can take.
The blemish that will never be forgot ;
"Worse than a slavish wipe,§ or birth-hour's blot : ||
For marks descried in men's nativity
Are nature's fiEtults, not their own infamy."
fiere with a cockatrice' dead-killing eye,
He rouseth up himself, and makes a pause.
While she, the picture of nure piety,
Like a white hind under the grype sf sharp claws.
Pleads in a wilderness, where are no laws.
To the rough beast that knows no gentle right,
Nor aught obeys but his foul appetite.
Look, when a black-faced cloud the world doth threat.
In his dim mist the aspiring mountains hidinf]^
From earth's dark womb some gentle gust doth get.
Which blows these pitchy vapours from their biding.
Hindering their present fall by this dividing ;
So his unhallow'd haste her words delays,
And moody Pluto winks while Orpheus plays.
Yet, foul night-waking cat, he doth but dally,
Wmle in his hol4-fast foot the weak mouse panteth :
Her wd behaviour feeds his vultur folly,**
A swallowing gulf that even in plenty wanteth :
His ear her prayers admits, but ms heart granteth
No penetrable entrance to her plaining :
Tears harden lust, though marble wear with raining.
* An Olegitkoate child has no name by inheritance.
t Set forth. t Regard it.
4 The brand with which slaves were marked.
I Hie corporal blemishes with which children are sometimes bom.
% The griffin ; generally, any bird of prey.
** Wicked infatuation.
422 THE EAPB OF LUCBECB.
Her pity-pleading eyes are sadly fixed
In the remorseless wrinkles of his faoe ;
Her modest eloquence with sighs is mixed.
Which to her oratory adds more grace.
She puts the period often firom his place,
And 'midst the sentence so her accent Inreaka,
That twice she doth begin ere once she speaks.
She c6niures him by high almighty Jove,
By knighthood, gentry, and sweet friendship's oath.
By her untimely* tears, her husband's love.
By holy human law, and common troth.
By heaven and eartn, and all the newer of both.
That to his borrow'd bed he make retire,
And stoop to honour, not to foul desira
Ouoth she ; " B/Cward not hospitality
With such black payment as thou hast pretended ;t
Mud not the fountain that gave drink to thee ;
Mar not the thing that cannot be amended ;
jSnd thy ill aim. before thy shoot be ended :X
He is no woodman that doth bend his bow
To strike a poor unseasonable doe.
'' My husband is thy friend, for his sake spare me ;
Thyself art mighty, for thine own sake leave me ;
Myself a weakUne, do not then ensnare jshb.
Thou look'st not like deceit; do not deceive me :
My sighs, like whirlwinds, labour hence to heave thee.
If ever man were moved with woman's moans,
Be moved with my tears, my sighs, my groans;
" All which together, like a troubled ocean.
Beat at thy rocky and wreck-threatening heart,
To soften it with their continual motion ;
For stones dissolved to water do converts
O, if no harder thftn a stone thou art.
Melt at my tears and be compassionate !
Soft pity enters at an iron gate.
** In Tarquin's likeness I did entertain thee:
Hast thou put on his shape to do him shame ?
To all the host of heaven I complain me.
Thou wrong'st his honour, wound'st his princely nama
Thou art not what thou seem'st ; and if the same,
Thou seem'st not what thou art^ a god, a king ;
For kings like gods should govern everything.
'* How will thy shame be seeded || in thine age.
When thus thy vices bud before thy spring ?
If in thy hope thou dar'st do such outrage,
* Unseasonably excited. f Intended. t Shot be fired.
§ Turn. I Full of seeds. .
THE BAPE OP LirCBECE. 42S
What dar'st thou not when ono^ thou art a king ?
be remember'd * no outrageous thing
From vassal actors can be wiped away ;
Then kings' misdeeds cannot be hid in olay.t
•* This deed will make thee only loved for fear,
But happy monarchs still are fear'd for love :
"With foul offenders thou perforce must bear,
When they in thee the like offences prove :
If but for fear of this, thy will remove ;
For princes are the glass, the school, the book.
Where subjects' eyes do learn, do read, do look.
" And wilt thou be the school where Lust shall learn ?
Must he in thee read lectures of such shame ?
Wilt thou be glass, wherein it shall discern
Authority for sin, warrant for blame,
Toprivilege dishonour in thy name ?
Tnou back'st reproach against long-living laud.
And mak'st fair reputation but a bawd.
** Hast thou command ? by him that gave it thee,
From a pure heart command thy rebel will :
Draw not thy sword to guard iniauity.
For it was lent thee all that brood to kilL
Thy princely office how canst thou fulfil.
When, pattem'd by thy fault, foul Sin may say.
He leam'd to sin, and thou didst teach the way P
" Think but how vile a spectacle it were
To view thy present trespass in another.
Men's faults do seldom to theipselves appear ;
Their own transgressions partially they smother :
This guilt would seem death-worthy in thy brother.
O how are they wrapp'd in with infamies.
That from their own misdeeds askance their eyes !
" To thee, to thee, my heaved up hands appeal,
Not to seducing lust, thy rash relier ;%
1 sue for exiled majesty's repeal ; §
Let him return, and fluttering thous^ts retire :
Hds true respect will 'prison false desire,
And wipe the dim mist from thy doting eyne.
That thou shalt see thy state and pity mine."
" Have done," quoth he ; ** my uncontrolled tide
Turns not, but swells the higher by this let. ,
Small lights are soon blown out, huge fires abide.
And with the wind in greater fury fret :
The petty streams that pay a daily debt
To their salt sovereign, with their fresh falls' haste,
Add to his flow, but alter not his taste."
* Bear it in your mind.
t The memory of the ill actions of kings will remain after their death.
i Thy reckless supporter. < Recall.
424 THB EAPE OF LUCBECB.
*^ Thou art," quoth she, " a sea, a sovereign king ;
And lo, there falls into thy boundless flood
Black lust, dishonour, shame, misgoverning,
Who seek to stain the ocean of thy blood.
If all these i^tty ills shall change thy good.
Thy sea within a puddle's womb is hersed.
And not the puddle in thy sea dispersed.
** So shall these slaves be king, and thou their slave ;
Thou nobly base^ they basely dignified ;
Thou their fair life, and they thy fouler grave ;
Thou loathed in their shame, they in thv pride :
The lesser thing should not the greater hide ;
The cedar stoops not to the base shrub's foot.
But low shrubs wither at the cedar's root.
" So let thy thoughts, low vassals to thy state"—
** No more," quotn he, " by heaven. I will not hear thee -
Yield to mv love ; if not, enforced natcL
Instead of love's cov touch,* shall rudely tear thee ;
That done, despitefully I mean to bear thee
Unto the base bed of some rascal groom,
To be thy partner in this shameful doom."
This said, he sets his foot upon the light,
For light and lust are deadly enemies :
Shame folded up in blind concealing night,
When most unseen, then most doth tyrannize.
The wolf hath seized his pr^y, the poor lamb crie&
Till with her own white fleece her voice controll'd
Entombs her outcry in her lips' sweet fold :
For with the nightly linen that she wears.
He pens her piteous clamours in her head ;
Cooling his hot face in the chastest tears
That ever modest eyes with sorrow shed.
O, that pronef lust should stain so pure a bed !
The spots whereof could weeping purify,
Her tears should drop on them perpetually.
But she hath lost a dearer thing than life.
And he hath won what he would lose agam.
This forced league doth force a fUrther strife,
This momentan^ joy breeds months of pain.
This hot desire converts to cold disdain :
Pure chastity is rifled of her store,
And lust, the thief, far poorer than before.
Look as the full-fed hound or gorged hawk.
Unapt for tender smell or speedy night,
Make slow pursuit, or altogether balk
The prey wherein by nature they delight ;
So surfeit-taMng Turquin fares this m^ht:
His taste delicious, m digestion sourmg,
Devours his will that lived by foul devouring.
* Delicate, tender. t HeadstroDg.
THE itAPE OF LUCBBCB. ^25
O deeper sin tbaa'botfotnless conceit
Can comprehend in still imagination !
Drunken desire must vomit nis receipt,*
Ere he can see his own abomination.
While lust is in his pride, no exclamation
Can curb his heat, or rein his rash desire.
Till, like a jade, self-will himself doth tire.
And then with lank and lean discoloured cheek,
With heavy eye, knit brow, and strengthless pace,
Feeble desire, all recreant, poor, and meek,
like to a bankrupt b^Kar wails his case :
The flesh being proud, aesire doth fight with grace,
For there it revels ; and when that decays.
The guilty rebel for remission prays.
So fares it with this faultful lord of Eome.
Who this accomplishment so hotly chasea ;
For now against nimself he sounds this doom,
That through the length of times he stands disgraced :
Besides, his soul's fair temple is defaced :
To whose weak ruins muster troops of cares,
To ask the spotted princess how she fares.
She says, her subjects with foul insurrection
Have battered doym her consecrated wall,
And by their mortal fault brought in subjection
Her ipunortality, and made her thrall f
To living death, and jmn perpetual :
Which in her prescience she controlled still,
But her foresight could not forestall their wilL
Even in this thoueht, through the dark night he stealeth,
A captive victor, that hath lost in ^in ;
Bearmg away the wound that nothing healeth,
The scar that will, de^ite of cure, remain.
Leaving his spoil perplex'd in greater pain.
She bears the load of lust he left behind,
And he the burthen of a guilty mind.
He, like a thievish dog, creeps sadly thence.
She like a wearied lamb lies panting there ;
He scowls, and hates himself for his ojQfence,
She desperate, with her nails her flesh doth tear ;
He faintly flies, sweating with guilly fear ;
She stays exclaiming on the direnil night.
He runs, and chides lus vanish'd, loathed delight.
He thence departs a heavy convertite,t
She there remains a hopeless cast-away :
He in his speed looks for the morning light,
She prays sne never may behold the day :
** For day," quoth she, night-scapes § doth open lay ;
And my true eyes have never practised how
To cloak oflences with a cunning brow.
* What it has received. t A slave. ' t Convert* ^ Misdeeds.
42b THE RAPE OF LUCEECB.
** They think not but that every eye can see
The same disgrace which they themselves behold ;
And therefore would they still in darkness be.
To have their unseen sin remain untold ;
f^r they their guilt with weeping will unfold^
And 'grave, like water that dotn eat in steel.
Upon my cheeks what helpless shame I feel."
Here she exclaims against repose and rest,
And bids her eves hereafter still be blmd.
She wakes her heart by beating on her breast,
And bids it leap ih>m thence, where it may find
Some purer chest, to close so pure a mind.
Frantic with grief thus breathes she forth her spite
Against the unseen secrecy of night
** O comfort-killing Night, image of hell !
Dim register and notary of shame !
Black stage for tragedies* and murders fell !
Vast sin-concealing chaos ! nurse of blame !
Blind muffled bawd ! 4ark harbour for defame !
Grim cave of death, whispering conspirator
With close-tongued treason and the ravisher !
" O hateftil, vaporous and foggy Night,
Since thou art guilty of my cureless crime.
Muster thy mists to meet the eastern light.
Make war against proportion'd course oi time !
Or if thou wilt permit the sun to cUmb
His wonted height, yet ere he J50 to bed.
Knit poisonous clouds about his golden head.
** With rotten damps ravish the morning air ;
Let their exhaled unwholesome breaths make sick
The life of purity, the supreme fair.
Ere he arrive his weary noon-tide prick ; f
And let thy misty vapours march so thick.
That in their smoky ranks his smother'a light
May set at noon, and make perpetual night
" Were Tarquin Night (as he is but Nijjht*s child).
The silver-shining queen he would distain ;
Her twinkling lmiamaids:i: too, by him defiled.
Through nighf s black bosom should not peep again ;
So should I have copartners in my pain :
And fellowship in woe doth woe assuage.
As palmers' chat makes short their pilgrimage.
** Where § now I have no one to blush with me.
To cross their arms, and hang their heads with mine,
To mask their brows, and hide their infamy ;
* In our author's time, the sti^e was hongr, more or less, with black,
when tragedies were performed.
t I. e. the point of noon on the dial. % The stars. \ Wlie reas.
THE BAFE OF LUCBECB. 427
But I aloncL alone must sit and pine,
Seasoning tne earth with showers of silver brine,
Mingling my talk with tears, my grief with groans,
Poor wasting monuments of lasting moans.
*• O Night, thou furnace of foul-reeking smoke,
Let not the jealous day behold that face
Which underneath thy black all-hiding cloak
Immodestly lies mnitjfd with disgrace !
Keep still possession of thy gloomy place.
That all the faults whicn m thy reign are made,