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• You mocking birds,' quoth she, your tunes
Within your hollow-swelling, feather'd breasts,
And in my hearing be you mute and dumb!
(My restless discord loves no stops nor rests;
A woful hostess brooks not merry guests)
Relish your nimble notes to pleasing 1 ears; Distress likes dumps, when time is kept with
Come, Philomel, that sing'st of ravishment,
Make thy sad grove in my dishevell❜d hair.
As the dank earth weeps at thy languishment,
So I at each sad strain will strain a tear,
And with deep groans the diapason bear:
For burthen-wise I'll hum on Tarquin still,
While thou on Tereus descant'st, better skill: 3
And whiles against a thorn thou bear'st thy part : To keep thy sharp woes waking, wretched I, lo imitate thee well, against my heart Will fix a sharp knife, to affright mine eye; Who, if it wink, shall thereon fall and die. These means, as frets upon an instrument, Sball tune our heart-strings to true languishment:
And for, poor bird, thou sing'st not in the day.
As shaming any eye should thee behold,
Some dark, deep desert, seated from the way.
That knows not parching heat nor freezing cold,
We will find out; and there we will unfold
To creatures stern sad tunes, to change their kinds :
Since men prove beasts, let beasts bear gentle minds.'
As the poor frighted deer, that stands at gaze,
Wildly determining which way to fly;
Or one encompass'd with a winding maze,
That cannot tread the way out readily;
So with herself is she in mutiny,
To live or die which of the twain were better, When life is shamed, and Death Reproach's debtor.
To kill myself,' quoth she; Ialack! what were
But with my body my poor soul's pollution?
They that lose half, with greater patience bear it.
Than they whose whole is swallow'd in confusion.
That mother tries a merciless conclusion,1
Who, having two sweet babes, when death takes
Will slay the other, and be nurse to none.
My body or my soul, which was the dearer?
When the one pure, the other made divine:
Whose love of either to myself was nearer?
When both were kept for heaven and Collatine.
Ah me! the bark peel'd from the lofty pine,
His leaves will wither, and his sap decay;
So must my soul, her bark being peel'd away.
Her house is sack'd, her quiet interrupted;
Her mansion batter'd by the enemy;
Her sacred temple spotted, spoil'd, corrupted,
Grossly engirt with daring infamy:
Then let it not be call'd impiety,
If in this blemish'd fort I make some hole,
Through which I may
Yet die I will not, till my Collatine
Have heard the cause of my untimely death;
That he may vow, in that sad hour of mine,
Revenge on him that made me stop my breath.
My stained blood to Tarquin I'll bequeathe;
Which, by him tainted, shall for him be spent ;
And, as his due, writ in my testament.
My honor I'll bequeathe unto the knife
That wounds my body so dishonored.
"Tis honor to deprive dishonor'd life;
The one will live, the other being dead:
So of shame's ashes shall my fame be bred;
For in my death I murder shameful scorn:
My shame so dead, mine honor is new-born.
• Dear lord of that dear jewel I have lost,
What legacy shall I bequeathe to thee?
My resolution, love, shall be thy boast,
By whose example thou revenged mayst be.
How Tarquin must be used, read it in me:
Myself, thy friend, will kill myself, thy foe;
And, for my sake, serve thou false Tarquin sɔ.
• This brief abridgment of my will I make :— My soul and body to the skies and ground; My resolution, husband, do thou take;
Mine honor be the knife's, that makes my wound; My shame be his that did my fame confound;
And all my fame that lives, disbursed be
To those that live, and think no shame of me.
• Thou, Collatine, shalt oversee this will:
How was I overseen that thou shalt see it!
My blood shall wash the slander of mine ill;
My life's foul deed, my life's fair end shall free it.
Faint not, faint heart, but stoutly say, ‘So be it.'
Yield to my hand; my hand shall conquer the;;
Thou dead, both die, and both shall victors be."
This plot of death when sadly she had laid,
And wiped the brinish pearl from her bright eyes,
With untuned tongue she hoarsely call'd her maid,
Whose swift obedience to her mistress hies:
For fleet-wing'd duty with thought's feathers fiies.
Poor Lucrece' cheeks unto her maid seem so
As winter meads, when sun doth melt their
Her mistress she doth give demure good-morrow
With soft-slow tongue, true mark of modesty;
And sorts a sad look to her lady's sorrow;
(For why? her face wore sorrow's livery)
But durst not ask of her audaciously
Why her two suns were cloud-eclipsed so,
Nor why her fair cheeks overwash'd with wce:
But as the earth doth weep, the sun being set,
Each flower moisten'd like a melting eye;
Even so the maid with swelling drops 'gan wet
Her circled eyne, enforced by sympathy
Of those fair suns, set in her mistress' sky,
Who in a salt-waved ocean quench their light. Which makes the maid weep like the dewy night.
A pretty while these pretty creatures stand,
Like ivory conduits coral cisterns filling:
One justly weeps; the other takes in hand
No cause, but company, of her drops spilling ·
Their gentle sex to weep are often willing;