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That had Narcissus seen her as she stood,
Self-love had never drown'd him in the flood.

Why hunt I then for colour or excuses ?
All orators are dumb when beauty pleadeth;
Poor wretches have remorse in poor abuses;
Love thrives not in the heart that shadows dreadeth:
Affection is my captain, and he leadeth;

And when his gawdy banner is display'd',
The coward fights, and will not be dismay'd.

Then childish fear, avaunt! debating, die!
Respect and reason, wait on wrinkled age !
My heart shall never countermand mine eye:
Sad pause and deep regard beseem the sage";
My part is youth, and beats these from the stages:

Desire my pilot is, beauty my prize;
Then who fears sinking, where such treasure lies ?

2 And when his gawdy banner is display'd.] Thus the quarto 1594. The edition of 1616 reads-this gawdy banner; and in the former part of the stanza, pleads and dreads, instead of pleadeth and dreadeth. Malone. 3 Then childish fear, avaunt! debating, die !

Respect and reason, wait on wrinkled age! &c.] So, in King Richard III.:

“— I have learn’d that fearful commenting
“ Is leaden servitor to dull delay-;

“ Then firy expedition be my guide !" Respect means, cautious prudence, that coolly weighs all consequences. So, in Troilus and Cressida, Act II. Sc. I. :

“ reason and respect

“Make livers pale, and lustihood deject." Malone. 4 SAD pause and deep regard beseem the sage ;] Sad, in ancient language, is grave. So, in Much Ado About Nothing :

« The conference was sadly borne.” MalOnE S MY PART is youth, and beats these from the stage :) The poet seems to have had the conflicts between the Devil and the Vice of the old moralities, in his thoughts. In these, the Vice was always victorious, and drove the Devil roaring off the stage.

MALONE. “My part is youth -" Probably the poet was thinking on that particular interlude intitled Lusty Juventus. STEEVENS.

As corn o'er-grown by weeds, so heedful fear
Is almost chok'd by unresisted lust.
Away he steals with open listening ear,
Full of foul hope, and full of fond mistrust;
Both which, as servitors to the unjust,

So cross him with their opposite persuasion,
That now he vows a league, and now invasion.

Within his thought her heavenly image sits,
And in the self-same seat sits Collatine:
That eye which looks on her, confounds his wits;
That eye which him beholds, as more divine,
Unto a view so false will not incline;

But with a pure appeal seeks to the heart,

Which once corrupted, takes the worser part;
And therein heartens up his servile powers,
Who, flatter'd by their leader's jocund show,
Stuff up his lust, as minutes fill up hours ?;
And as their captain, so their pride doth grow,
Paying more slavish tribute than they owe.

By reprobate desire thus madly led,

The Roman lord marcheth to Lucrece' bed 8. 0 -heedful fear

Is almost chok'd by unresisted lust.] Thus the old copy. So, in King Henry IV.:

“ And yet we ventur’d, for the gain propos'd

Chok'd the respect of likely peril fear'd.So, also, Dryden:

“ No fruitful crop the sickly fields return,

“ But docks and darnel choke the rising corn." The modern editions erroneously read :

cloakd by unresisted lust.” Steevens. 7 Stuff up his lust, as MINUTES FILL UP HOURS;] So, in King Henry VI. Part III. :

“ to see the minutes how they run,

“ How many make the hour full-complete.” MALONE. 8 The Roman lord MARCHETH to Lucrece' bed.] Thus the quarto 1594. The edition of 1616 reads-doth march. MALONE.

The locks between her chamber and his will,
Each one by him enforc'd, retires his wardo;
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-wandering weesels 8 shriek, to see him

They fright him, yet he still pursues his fear.

As each unwilling portal yields him way,
Through 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 *; .

:9 — RETIRES his ward ;] Thus the quarto, and the editions 1598 and 1600. That of 1616, and the modern copies, read, unintelligibly:

" Each one by one enforc'd, recites his ward." Retires is draws back. Retirer, Fr. So, in King Richard II. : . “That he, our hope, might have retird his power.”

MALONE. Which drives the creeping thief to SOME REGARD :] Which makes him pause, and consider what he is about to do. So before :

“ Sad pause and deep regard beseem the sage.” MALONE. . So, in Hamlet :

“ With this regard their currents turn awry.BOSWELL. 2 - to have him heard ;] That is, to discover him ; to proclaim his approach. MALONE.

3 Night wand'ring weesels shriek, &c.] The property of the weesel is to suck eggs. To this circumstance our author alludes in As You Like It : “ I suck melancholy out of a song, as a weesel sucks eggs.Again, in King Henry V.:

“For once the eagle England being in prey,
“ To her unguarded nest the weesel Scot

“ Comes sneaking, and so sucks her princely eggs." Perhaps the poet meant to intimate, that even animals intent on matrimonial plunder, gave the alarm at sight of a more powerful invader of the nuptial bed. But this is mere idle conjecture,


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 her needle sticks;
He takes it from the rushes where it lies;
And griping it, the neeld 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

He takes for accidental things of trial;
Or as those bars which stop the hourly dial;

Who with a ling’ring stay his course doth let, Till every minute pays the hour his debt.

4 Extinguishing his conduct in this case ;] Conduct, for conductor. So, in Romeo and Juliet, Act V. Sc. I.: “ Come, bitter conduct, come, unsavoury guide,"

MALONE. 5 He takes it from the RUSHES where it lies,] The apartments in England being strewed with rushes in our author's time, he has given Lucretia's chamber the same covering. The contemporary poets, however, were equally inattentive to propriety. Thus Marlowe in his Hero and Leander :

“ She fearing on the rushes to be flung,

« Striv'd with redoubled strength.MALONE. 6 And griping it, the neeld his finger pricks :] Neeld for needle. Our author has the same abbreviation in his Pericles :

“ Deep clerks she dumbs, and with her neeld composes

“ Nature's own shape " Again, in A Midsummer-Night's Dream : “ Have with our neelds created both one flower.”

MALONE. 7- his course doth let,] To let, in ancient language, is to obstruct, to retard. So, in Hamlet :

" I'll make a ghost of him that lets me.” Malone.

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 8,
And give the sneaped birds more cause to sing '.'.
Pain pays the income of each precious thing;
Huge rocks, high winds, strong pirates, shelves

and sands,
The merchant fears, ere rich at home hę 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 prayer,
Having solicited the eternal power
That his foul thoughts might compass his fair fair 3,

8 To add a more rejoicing to the PRIME,] That is, a greater rejoicing. So, in King Richard II. :

“To make a more requital of your loves." · The prime is the spring. MALONE.

9 And give the sneaped birds —] Sneaped, is checked. So, Falstaff, in King Henry IV. Part II. : “ My lord, I will not undergo this sneap without reply.” Malone.

1°That shuts him from the HEAVEN of his thought,] So, in The Comedy of Errors : . “My food, my fortune, and my sweet hope's aim,

“My sole earth's heaven ." MALONE. 2 That for his PREY TO PRAY he doth begin,] A jingle not less disgusting occurs in Ovid's narration of the same event:

Hostis ut hospes init penetralia Collatina. Steevens. Prey was formerly always spelt pray. Malone.

3 — might compass his fair FAIR,] His fair beauty. Fair, it has been already observed, was anciently used as a substantive. ,


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