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Pure chastity is rifled of her store,
And lust, the thief, far poorer than before.
Look, as the full-fed hound, or gorged hawk,
Unapt for tender smell, or speedy flight,
Make slow pursuit, or altogether balk
The prey wherein by nature they delight :
So surfeit-taking Tarquin fares this night:
His taste delicious, in digestion souring,
Devours his will, that liv'd by foul devouring.
O deeper sin, than bottomless conceit
Can comprehend in still imagination !
Drunken desire must vomit his receipt,
Ere he can see his own abomination.
While lust is in his pride, no exclamation
Can curb his heat, or rein his rash desire,
Till, like a jade, self-will himself doth tire.
And then, with lank and lean discolour'd cheek,
With heavy eye, knit brow, and strengthless pace,
Feeble desire, all recreant, poor, and meek,
Like to a bankrupt beggar wails his case :
The flesh being proud, desire doth fight with grace,
For there it revels; and when that decays,
The guilty rebel for remission prays.
So fares it with this faultful lord of Rome,
Who this accomplishment so hotly chased ;
For now against himself he sounds this doom,
That through the length of times he stands disgraced :
Besides, his soul's fair temple is defaced ;
To whose weak ruins muster troops of cares,
To ask the spotted princess how she fares.
She says, her subjects with foul insurrection
Have batter'd down her consecrated wall,
And by their mortal fault brought in subjection
Her immortality, and made her thrall
To living death, and pain perpetual:
Which in her prescience she controlled still,
But her foresight could not fore-stall their will.
Even in this thought through the dark night he stealeth,
A captive victor that hath lost in gain ;
Bearing away the wound that nothing healeth,
The scar that will despite of cure remain ;
Leaving his spoil perplex'd in greater pain.
She bears the load of lust he left behind,
And he the burden of a guilty mind.
He, like a thievish dog, creeps sadly thence,
She like a wearied lamb lies panting there ;
He scowls, and hates himself for his offence,
She desperate with her nails her flesh doth tear;
He faintly flies, sweating with guilty fear;
She stays, exclaiming on the direful night;
He runs, and chides his vanish’d, loath'd delight.
He thence departs a heavy convertite,
She there remains a hopeless cast-away;
He in his speed looks for the morning light,
She prays she never may behold the day;
For day, quoth she, night's scapes doth open lay,
And my true eyes have never practis'd how
To cloke offences with a cunning brow.
They think not but that every eye can see
The same disgrace which they themselves behold,
And therefore would they still in darkness be,
To have their unseen sin remain untold;
For they their guilt with weeping will unfold,
And grave, like water that doth eat in steel,
Upon my cheeks what helpless shame I feel.
Here she exclaims against repose and rest,
And bids her eyes hereafter still be blind.
She wakes her heart by beating on her breast,
And bids it leap from thence, where it may find
Some purer chest to close so pure a mind.
Frantic with grief thus breathes she forth her spite
Against the unseen secrecy of night.
0, comfort-killing night, image of hell !
Dim register and notary of shame!
Black stage for tragedies and murders fell !
Blind muffled bawd ! dark harbour for defame!
Grim cave of death, whispering conspirator
With close-tongu'd treason and the ravisher !
O, hateful, vaporous, and foggy night!
Since thou art guilty of my cureless crime,
Muster thy mists to meet the eastern light,
Make war against proportion'd course of time:
Or if thou wilt permit the sun to climb
His wonted height, yet ere he go to bed,
Knit poisonous clouds about his golden head.
With rotten damps ravish the morning air ;
Let their exhald unwholesome breaths make sick
The life of purity, the supreme fair,
Ere he arrive his weary noon-tide prick;
And let thy musty vapours' march so thick,
That in their smoky ranks his smother'd light
May set at noon, and make perpetual night.
Were Tarquin night, as he is but night's child,
The silver-shining queen he would distain ;
Her twinkling handmaids too, by him defild,
Through night's black bosom should not peep again :
So should I have copartners in my pain ;
And fellowship in woe doth woe assuage,
As palmers' chat makes short their pilgrimage.
Where, now, I have no one to blush with me,
To cross their arms, and hang their heads with mine,
To mask their brows, and hide their infamy;
But I alone, alone must sit and pine,
Seasoning the earth with showers of silver brine ;
Mingling my talk with tears, my grief with groans,
Poor wasting monuments of lasting moans.
O night! thou furnace of foul-reeking smoke,
Let not the jealous day behold that face
Which underneath thy black all-hiding cloak
Immodestly lies martyr'd with disgrace:
Keep still possession of thy gloomy place,
That all the faults which in thy reign are made,
May likewise be sepulcher'd in thy shade.
Make me not object to the tell-tale day!
The light will show, character'd in my brow,
The story of sweet chastity's decay,
The impious breach of holy wedlock vow:
Yea, the illiterate, that know not how
To cipher what is writ in learned books,
Will quote my loathsome trespass' in my looks.
The nurse to still her child will tell my story,
And fright her crying babe with Tarquin's name;
The orator to deck his oratory
Will couple my reproach to Tarquin's shame;
Feast-finding minstrels, tuning my defame,
Will tie the hearers to attend each line,
How Tarquin wronged me, I Collatine.
Let my good name, that senseless reputation,
For Collatine's dear love be kept unspotted :
If that be made a theme for disputation,
The branches of another root are rotted,
And undesery'd reproach to him allotted,
That is as clear from this attaint of mine,
As I ere this was pure to Collatine.
O unseen shame! invisible disgrace !
O unfelt sore ! crest-wounding, private scar!
Reproach is stamp'd in Collatinus' face,
And Tarquin's eye may read the mot afar?,
How he in peace is wounded, not in war.
Alas ! how many bear such shameful blows,
Which not themselves, but he that gives them, knows.
If, Collatine, thine honour lay in me,
From me by strong assault it is bereft.
My honey lost, and I, a drone-like bee,
Have no perfection of my summer left,
But robb’d and ransack'd by injurious theft :
In thy weak hive a wandering wasp hath crept,
And suck'd the honey which thy chaste bee kept.
Yet am I guilty: of thy honour's wrack;
Yet for thy honour did I entertain him ;
Coming from thee, I could not put him back,
For it had been dishonour to disdain him :
Besides, of weariness he did complain him,
And talk'd of virtue.—0, unlook'd for evil,
When virtue is profan’d in such a devil !
Why should the worm intrude the maiden bud,
Or hateful cuckoos hatch in sparrows' nests?
Or toads infect fair founts with venom mud?
Or tyrant folly lurk in gentle breasts?
Or kings be breakers of their own behests?
But no perfection is so absolute,
That some impurity doth not pollute.
The aged man that coffers up his gold,
Is plagu'd with cramps, and gouts, and painful fits,
And scarce hath eyes his treasure to behold,
But like still-pining Tantalus he sits,
And useless barns the harvest of his wits;
Having no other pleasure of his gain,
But torment that it cannot cure his pain.
So, then he hath it, when he cannot use it,
And leaves it to be master'd by his young;
Who in their pride do presently abuse it: