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O! be remember'd no outrageous thing
From vassal actors can be wip'd away,
Then kings' misdeeds cannot be hid in clay.
This deed shall make thee only lov'd for fear,
But happy monarchs still are fear'd for love :
With foul offenders thou perforce must bear,
When they in thee the like offences prove:
If but for fear of this, thy will remove,
For princes are the glass, the school, the book,
Where subjects' eyes do learn, do read, do look.
And wilt thou be the school where lust shall learn?
Must he in thee read lectures of such shame ?
Wilt thou be glass, wherein it shall discern
Authority for sin, warrant for blame?
To privilege dishonour in thy name,
Thou back'st reproach against long-living laud,
And mak'st fair reputation but a bawd.
Hast thou commanded? By him that gave it thee,
From a pure heart command thy rebel will:
Draw not thy sword to guard iniquity,
For it was lent thee all that brood to kill.
Thy princely office how canst thou fulfil,
When pattern'd by thy fault, foul sin may say,
He learn'd to sin, and thou didst teach the way?
Think but how vile a spectacle it were,
To view thy present trespass in another;
Men's faults do seldom to themselves appear,
Their own transgressions partially they smother;
This guilt would seem death-worthy in thy brother.
O how are they wrapt in with infamies,
That from their own misdeeds askance their eyes!
To thee, to thee, my heav'd-up hands appeal,
Not to seducing lust's outrageous fire;
I sue for exil'd majesty's repeal,
Let him return and flattering thoughts retire.
His true respect will prison false desire,
And wipe the dim mist from thy doating eyne,
That thou shalt see thy state and pity mine.
F VOL. IX.
Have done, quoth he, my uncontroled tide
Turns not, but swells the higher by this let;
Small lights are soon blown out, huge fires abide,
And with the wind in greater fury fret:
The petty streams that pay a daily debt
To their salt sovereign with their fresh false haste,
Add to his flow, but alter not the taste.
Thou art (quoth she) a sea, a sovereign king,
And lo! there falls into thy boundless flood
Black lust, dishonour, shame, misgoverning,
Who seek to stain the ocean of thy blood.
If all these petty ills should change thy good,
Thy sea within a puddle womb is burst,
And not the puddle in thy sea dispers❜d.
So shall these slaves be king, and thou their slave;
Thou nobly base, they basely dignified;
Thou their fair life, and they thy fouler grave;
Thou loathed in thy shame, they in thy pride :
The lesser thing should not the greater hide.
The cedar stoops not to the base shrub's foot,
But low shrubs wither at the cedar's root.
So let thy thoughts low vassals to thy state :—
No more, quoth he, by heaven I will not hear thee,
Yield to my love; if not, enforced hate,
Instead of love's coy touch, shall rudely tear thee
That done, despitefully I mean to bear thee
Unto the base bed of some rascal groom,
To be thy partner in this shameful doom.
This said, he sets his foot upon the light,
For light and lust are deadly enemies;
Shame folded up in blind concealing night,
When most unseen, then most doth tyrannize.
The wolf has seiz'd his prey, the poor lamb cries,
Till with her own white fleece her voice control'd,
Intombs her outcry in her lips' sweet fold.
For with the nightly linen, that she wears,
He pens her piteous clamours in her head,
Cooling his hot face in the chastest tears
That ever modest eyes with sorrow shed.
O that foul lust should stain so pure a bed!
The spots whereof, could weeping purify,
Her tears should drop on them perpetually.
But she hath lost a dearer thing than life,
And he hath won what he would lose again;
This forced league doth force a further strife,
This momentary joy breeds months of pain,
This hot desire converts to cold disdain.
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 baulk
The prey wherein by nature they delight:
So surfeit-taking Tarquin fears this night;
His taste delicious, in digestion souring,
Devours his will, that liv'd by foul devouring,
O! deeper sin than bottomless deceit
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 fault-full lord of Rome,
Who this accomplishment so hotly chas'd:
For now against himself he sounds his doom,
That thro' the length of time he stands disgrac'd ::
Besides, his soul's fair temple is defac'd ;
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 controled still,
But her foresight could not forestal their will.
E'en in this thought through the dark night he stealethy
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 weary'd lamb lies panting there:
He scolds 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-scapes doth open lay;
And my true eyes have never practis'd how
Tocloak 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 lie,
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 their cheeks what helpless shame they 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
Frantick with grief, thus breathes she forth her spight Against the unseen secrecy of night.
O comfort-killing night! image of hell!
Dim register! and notary of shame!
Black stage for tragedies! and murders fell!
Vast sin-concealing chaos! nurse of blame!
Blind muffled bawd! dark harbour of defame
Grim cave of death! whispering conspirator
With close-tongued 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 exhal'd unwholsome breaths make sick.
The life of purity, the supreme fair,
Ere he arrive his weary noon-tide prick ;
And let thy misty vapours march so thick,
That in their smoaky 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 him would disdain ;
Her twinkling handmaids too, by him defil'd,
Thro' 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, that make short their pilgrimage.
Where now? have I 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.