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النشر الإلكتروني


The locks between her chamber and his will,
Each one by him enforc'd, recites 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-wand'ring weezels shriek to see him there,
They fright him, yet he still pursues his fear.

As each unwilling portal yields him way,
Thro' 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 the needle sticks;
He takes it from the rushes where it lies,
And griping it, the needle his finger pricks :
As who should say, This glove to wanton tricks

Is not inur'd; return again in haste,

Thou seest our mistress' ornaments are chaste. But all these poor forbiddings could not stay him, He in the worst sense construes 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; Which with a ling'ring stay his course doth let, Till every minute pays the hour bis debt.


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

Huge rocks, high winds, strong pirates, shelves and
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 sought:
So from himself impiety hath wrought,

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

But in the midst of his unfruitful pray'r,
Having solicited th’ 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 deflow'r !

The powers to whom I 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 :
Thoughts are but dreams till their effects be try'd,
Black sin is clear’d by absolution ;
Against 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, the 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 espy'd.
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 instained bed :
The curtains being close, about he walks,
Rolling his greedy eye-balls in his nead,
By their high treason in his heart misled:
Which gave the watch-word to his hand too soon,

To draw the cloud that hides the silver moon.
Look as the fair and fiery pointed sun,
Rushing from forth a cloud, bereaves our sight;
Even so the curtain drawn, bis 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 suppos'd;
But blind they are, and keep themselves inclos'd.

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

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


Her lily hand her rosy cheeks lies under,
Cozening the pillow of a lawful kiss;
Which 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 band was,
On the green coverlet, whose perfect white
Shew'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 canopy'd in darkness sweetly lay,

Till they might open to adorn the day.
Her hair like golden threads play'd with her breath ;
O modest wantons, wanton modesty !
Shewing life's triumph in the map of death,
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 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 bim by oath they truly honoured,
These words in Tarquin, new ambition bred,
Who like a foul usurper went about,
From this fair throne to have the owner out.


What could he see, but mightily he noted ;
What did he note, but strongly he desir'd ?
What he beheld, on that he firmly doted,
And in his will bis wilful eye he tir’d.
With more than admiration he admir'd

Her azure veins, her alabaster skin,

Her coral lips, her snow-white dimpled chin.
As the grim lion fawneth o'er his préy,
Sharp hunger by the conquest satisfy'd :
So o'er this sleeping soul doth TARQUIN stay,
His rage of lust by gazing qualify'd,
Slack’d, not supprest; for standing by her side,

His eyes which late this mutiny restrains,
Unto a greater uproar tempts his veins.

And they, like straggling slaves for pillage fighting,
Obdurate vassals, fell exploits effecting,
In bloody death and ravishment delighting,
Nor children's tears, nor mother's 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 chears up his burning eye:
His eye commends the leading to his hand;
His hand as proud of such a dignity,
Smoaking 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.

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