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They must'ring to the quiet cabinet,
Where their dear governess and lady lies,
Do tell her she is dreadfully beset,
And fright her with confusion of their cries,
She much amaz'd breaks ope her lock'd-up eyes ;
Who peeping forth, this tumult to behold,
Are by his flaming torch dim'd and controul'd.
Imagine her as one in dead of night,
Forth from dull sleep by dreadful fancy waking,
That thinks she has beheld some ghastly sprite,
Whose grim aspect 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 rue.
Wrapt and confounded in a thousand fears,
Like to a new kill'd bird she trembling lies :
She dares not look, yet winking there appear
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 !) distrest,
Wounding itself to death, rise up and fall,
Beating her bulk, that his hand shakes withal.
This moves in him more rage, and lesser pity,
To make the breach, and enter this sweet city.
First like a trumpet doth his tongue begin
To sound a parly to his heartless foe,
Who o'er the white sheets peers her whiter chin,
The reason of this alarum to know,
Which he by dumb demeanor 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,
Sball 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 thee unto mine.
Thus I forestall thee if thou mean to chide:
Thy beauty hath ensnar'd thee to this night,
Where thou with patience must my will abide;
My will that marks thee for my earth's delight,
Which I to conquer fought with all my might.
But as reproof and reason beat it dead,
By thy bright beauty it was newly bred.
I see what crosses my attempts will bring;
I know what thorns the growing rose defends ;
I think the honey guarded with a sting.
All this before-hand counsel comprehends;
But will is deaf, and hears no heedful friends.
Only he hath an eye to gaze on beauty,
And doats 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 controul,
Or stop the headlong fury of his speed.
I know repentant tears ensue the deed,
Reproach, disdain, and deadly enmity;
Yet strive I to embrace mine infamy.
This said, he shakes aloft his Roman blade,
Which like a falcon towering in the skies,
Coucheth the fowl below with his wing shade,
Whose crooked beak threats, if he mount he dies :
So under his insulting falchion lies
Harmless LUCRETIA, marking what he tells
With trembling fear, as fowls hear falcon's bells.
Lucrece, quoth he, this night I must enjoy thee,
If thou deny, then force must work my way;
For in thy bed I purpose to destroy thee :
That done, some worthless slave of thine I'll 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 embrace him.
So thy surviving husband shall remain
The scornful mark of every open eye;
Thy kinsmen hang their heads at tbis disdain,
Thy issue blurr'd with nameless bastardy;
And thou, the author of their obloquy,
Shalt have thy trespass cited up in rhimes,
And sung by children in succeeding times,
But if thou yield, I rest thy secret friend,
The fault unknown is as a thought unacted;
A little harm done to a great good end,
For lawful policy remains enacted.
The poisonous simple sometimes is compacted
In purest compounds ; being so apply'd,
His venom in effect is purify'd.
Then for thy husband and thy children's sake,
Tender my suit, 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 describ'd in men's nativity,
Are natural faults, not their own infamy.
Here with a cockatrice dead-killing eye,
He rouseth up himself, and makes a pause :
While she, the picture of true piety,
Like a white bind beneath a gripe's sharp claws,
Pleads in a wilderness, where are no laws,
To the rough beast that knows no gentle right;
Nor nought obeys but his foul appetite.
As when a black-fac'd cloud the world does threat,
In his dim mist the aspiring mountain hiding,
From earth's dark womb some gentle gust does get,
Which blow 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.
Like foul night-waking cat he doth but dally,
While in his hold-fast foot the weak mouse panteth;
Her sad behaviour feeds his vulture folly,
A swallowing gulf, that e'en in plenty wanteth ;
His ear her prayer admits, but his heart granteth
No penetrable entrance to her plaining ;
Tears harden lust, tho' marble wears with raining.
Her pity-pleading eyes are sadly fix'd
In the remorseless wrinkles of his face:
Her modest eloquence with sighs is mix'd,
Which to her oratory adds more grace.
She puts the period often from his place,
And midst the sentence so her accent breaks,
That twice she doth begin ere once she speaks.
She conjures him by high almighty Jove,
By knighthood, gentry, and sweet friendship’s oath;
By ber untimely tears, her husband's love;
By holy human law, and common troth;
By heaven and earth, and all the power of both;
That to his borrow'd bed he make retire,
And stoop to honour, not to foul desire.
Quoth she, Reward not hospitality "
With such black payment as thou hast pretended ;
Mud not the fountain that gave drink to thee,
Mar not the thing that cannot be amended,
End thy ill aim before thy shoot be ended.
He is no woodman, that doth bend his bow,
To strike a poor unseasonable doe.