ePub 版

"Go, get me hither paper, ink, and penYet save that labour, for I have them here. What should I say?-One of my husband's


Bid thou be ready, by-and-by, to bear
A letter to my lord, my love, my dear;
Bid him with speed prepare to carry it :
The cause craves haste, and it will soon be

Her maid is gone, and she prepares to write,
First hovering o'er the paper with her quill:
Conceit and grief an eager combat fight;
What wit sets down is blotted straight with

This is too curious-good, this blunt and ill:
Much like a press of people at a door,

Throng her inventions, which shall be before.

At last she thus begins :-"Thou worthy lord
Of that unworthy wife that greeteth thee,
Health to thy person! next vouchsafe to afford
(If ever, love, thy Lucrece thou wilt see)
Some present speed to come and visit me :
So I commend me from our house in grief;
My woes are tedious, though my words are

Here folds she up the tenor of her woe,
Her certain sorrow writ uncertainly.
By this short schedule Collatine may know
Her grief, but not her grief's true quality;
She dares not thereof make discovery,

Lest he should hold it her own gross abuse,
Ere she with blood had stain'd her stain'd


Besides, the life and feeling of her passion She hoards, to spend when he is by to hear her;

When sighs, and groans, and tears may grace the fashion

Of her disgrace, the better so to clear her

From that suspicion which the world might bear her.

To shun this blot, she would not blot the letter

With words, till action might become them better.

To see sad sights move more than hear them


For then the eye interprets to the ear
The heavy motion that it doth behold,
When every part a part of woe doth bear.
'Tis but a part of sorrow that we hear :

Deep sounds make lesser noise than shallow fords,

And sorrow ebbs, being blown with wind of words.

Her letter now is seal'd, and on it writ,

"At Ardea to my lord with more than haste :" The post attends, and she delivers it,

Charging the sour-faced groom to hie as fast
As lagging fowls before the northern blast:
Speed more than speed but dull and slow she

Extremity still urgeth such extremes.

The homely villein court'sies to her low;
And blushing on her, with a steadfast eye
Receives the scroll, without or yea or no,

And forth with bashful innocence doth hie.
But they whose guilt within their bosoms lie
Imagine every eye beholds their blame;
For Lucrece thought he blush'd to see her
shame ;

When, silly groom! God wot, it was defect
Of spirit, life, and bold audacity.

Such harmless creatures have a true respect
To talk in deeds, while others saucily
Promise more speed, but do it leisurely :
Even so, this pattern of the worn-out age
Pawn'd honest looks, but laid no words to gage.

His kindled duty kindled her mistrust,

That two red fires in both their faces blazed; She thought he blush'd, as knowing Tarquin's lust,

And, blushing with him, wistly on him gazed; Her earnest eye did make him more amazed: The more she saw the blood his cheeks replenish,

The more she thought he spied in her some blemish.

But long she thinks till he return again,
And yet the duteous vassal scarce is gone.
The weary time she cannot entertain,

For now 'tis stale to sigh, to weep, and groan :
So woe hath wearied woe, moan tired moan,

That she her plaints a little while doth stay, Pausing for means to mourn some newer way.

At last she calls to mind where hangs a piece Of skilful painting, made for Priam's Troy; Before the which is drawn the power of Greece,

For Helen's rape the city to destroy, Threatening cloud-kissing Ilion with annoy; Which the conceited painter drew so proud, As heaven (it seem'd) to kiss the turrets bow'd.

A thousand lamentable objects there,
In scorn of Nature, Art gave lifeless life:
Many a dry drop seem'd a weeping tear,
Shed for the slaughter'd husband by the wife :
The red blood reek'd, to show the painter's

And dying eyes gleam'd forth their ashy lights,
Like dying coals burnt out in tedious nights.

There might you see the labouring pioneer Begrimed with sweat, and smeared all with dust; And from the towers of Troy there would appear

The very eyes of men through loop-holes thrust, Gazing upon the Greeks with little lust:

Such sweet observance in this work was had,
That one might see those far-off eyes look sad.

In great commanders grace and majesty
You might behold, triumphing in their faces;
In youth, quick bearing and dexterity;
And here and there the painter interlaces
Pale cowards, marching on with trembling

Which heartless peasants did so well resemble, That one would swear he saw them quake and tremble.

In Ajax and Ulysses, O what art

Of physiognomy might one behold!

The face of either 'cipher'd either's heart;

Their face their manners most expressly told :
In Ajax' eyes blunt rage and rigour roll'd;
But the mild glance that sly Ulysses lent
Show'd deep regard and smiling government.

There pleading might you see grave Nestor stand,
As 'twere encouraging the Greeks to fight;
Making such sober action with his hand,
That it beguiled attention, charm'd the sight:
In speech, it seem'd, his beard, all silver white,
Wagg'd up and down, and from his lips did

Thin winding breath, which purl'd up to the sky.

About him were a press of gaping faces,
Which seem'd to swallow up his sound advice;
All jointly listening, but with several graces,
As if some mermaid did their ears entice;
Some high, some low, the painter was so nice :
The scalps of many, almost hid behind,

To jump up higher seem'd, to mock the mind.

Here one man's hand lean'd on another's head, His nose being shadow'd by his neighbour's


Here one being throng'd bears back, all boll'n and red;

Another smother'd seems to pelt and swear;
And in their rage such signs of rage they bear,
As, but for loss of Nestor's golden words,
It seem'd they would debate with angry swords.


For much imaginary work was there
Conceit deceitful, so compact, so kind,
That for Achilles' image stood his spear,

« 上一頁繼續 »