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Yet sometime TARQUIN was pronounced plain,
But through his teeth, as if his name he tore :
This windy tempest, till it blew up rain,
Held back his sorrow's tide to make it more.
At last it rains, and busy winds give o'er :
Then son and father weep with equal strife,
Who should weep most for daughter, or for wife.
The one doth call her his, the other his;
Yet neither may possess the claim they lay.
The father says, she's mine ; O mine she is,
Replies her husband ; do not take away
My sorrows' interest, let no mourner say,
He weeps for her, for she was only mine,
And only must be wail'd by COLatine.
O! quoth Lucretius, I did give that life,
Which she too early and so late hath spill’d.
Woe! woe! quoth Colatine, she was my wife !
I own'd her, and 'tis mine that she bath kill’d.
My daughter and my wife with clamours fill'd
The disperst air, who holding LUCRECE’ life,
Answer'd their cries, my daughter and my wife.
BRUTUs, who pluck'd the knife from LUCRECE' side,
Seeing such emulation in their woe,
Began to clothe his wit in state and pride,
Burying in LUCRECE’ wound his folly's show;
He with the Romans was esteemed so,
As silly jeering ideots are with kings,
For sportive words, and uttering foolish things.
But now he throws that shallow habit by,
Wherein true policy did him disguise,
And arm’d his long-bid wits advisedly,
To check the tears in Colatinus' eyes.
Thou wronged lord of Rome, quoth be, arise ;
Let my unsounded self suppos’d a fool,
Now set thy long experienc'd wit to school.
Why, Colatine, is woe the cure for woe?
Do wounds help wounds, or grief help grievous deeds ?
Is it revenge to give thyself a blow
For bis foul act, by whom thy fair wife bleeds ?
Such childish humour from weak minds proceeds:
Thy wretched wife mistook the matter so,
To slay herself, that should have slain her foe.
Courageous Roman, do not steep thy heart
In such lamenting dew of lamentations ;
But kneel with me, and help to bear thy part,
To rouse our Roman gods with invocations,
That they will suffer these abominations
(Since Rome herself in them doth stand disgrac'd)
By our strong arms from forth her fair streets chas'd.
Now by the Capitol that we adore,
And by this chaste blood so unjustly stain'd !---
By heaven's fair sun, that breeds the fat earth's store,
By all our country rites in Rome maintain'd,
And by chaste LUCRECE' soul, that late complain'd
Her wrongs to us, and by this bloody knife,
We will revenge the death of this true wife !
This said, le stroke his hand upon his breast,
And kiss’d the fatal knife to end his vow :
And to his protestation urg'd the rest,
Who wond'ring at him did his words allow!
Then jointly to the ground their knees they bow,
And that deep vow which Brutus made before,
He doth again repeat, and that they swore.
When they had sworn to this advised doom,
They did conclude to bear dead LUCRECE thence,
To shew the bleeding body throughout Rome,
And so to publish TARQUIN's foul offence.
Which being done with speedy diligence,
The Romans plausibly did give consent
To Tarquin's everlasting banishment.
THE VARIOUS OPINIONS OF SHAKESPEARE'S COMMENTATORS,
VENUS AND ADONIS, THIS poem is declared by the author himself to have been his first composition. It was entered in the Stationers' books by Richard Field, April 18, 1593, and again by — Harrison, Sen. June 23, 1594.
Page 1, line 3. Rose-cheeked Adonis. So in Timon of Athens :
“ Bring down the rose-cheek'd youth
“ To the tub-fast and the diet.” STEEVENS. Shakespeare, perhaps, remembered Marlowe's Hero and Leander :--"Rose-cheek’d Adonis kept a solemn feast.” Malone.
Ib. 1. 10. More white and red than doves or roses are.
Dr. Farmer observes, that we should read---doves and roses; and Mr. Malone imputes this slight inaccuracy to the printer; but in all probability it was thus writ