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Why should the private pleasure of some one
Become the public plague of many mo?"
Let sin, alone committed, light alone
Upon his head that hath transgressed so.
Let guiltless souls be freed from guilty woe:
For one's offence why should so many fall,
To plague a private sin in general ?
“ Lo, here weeps Hecuba, here Priam dies,
Here manly Hector faints, here Troilus swounds;t
Here friend by friend in bloody channel lies,
And friend to friend gives unadvised wounds,
And one man's lust these many lives confounds :d
Had doting Priam check'd his son's desire,
Troy had been bright with fame, and not with fire.”
Here feelingly she weeps Troy's painted woes :
For sorrow, like a heavy-hanging bell,
Once set on ringing, with his own weight goes;
Then little strength rings out the doleful knell:
So Lucrece set a-work sad tales doth tell
To pencill'd pensiveness and colour'd sorrow;
She lends them words, and she their looks doth borrow.
She throws her eyes about the painting, round,
And whom she finds forlorn she doth lament:
At last she sees a wretched image bound,
That piteous looks to Phrygian shepherds lent;
His face, though full of cares, yet show'd content:
Onward to Troy with the blunt swains he goes,
So mild that Patience seem'd to scorn his woes.
In him the painter labour'd with his skill
To hide deceit, and give the harmless show
An humble gait, calm looks, eyes wailing still,
b Swounds-woons. It is probable that the word was so usually pronounceil. Iu Drayton swound rhymes to wound.
d Confounds is here used in the sense of destroys,
A brow unbent, that seem'd to welcome woe;
Cheeks neither red nor pale, but mingled so
That blushing red no guilty instance gave,
Nor ashy pale the fear that false hearts have.
But, like a constant and confirmed devil,
He entertain'd a show so seeming just,
And therein so ensconc'd his secret evil,
That jealousy itself could not mistrust
False-creeping craft and perjury should thrust
Into so bright a day such black-fac'd storms,
Or blot with hell-born sin such saint-like forms.
The well-skill'd workman this mild image drew
For perjur'd Sinon, whose enchanting story
The credulous old Priam after slew;
Whose words, like wildfire, burnt the shining glory
Of rich-built Ilion, that the skies were sorry,
And little stars shot from their fixed places,
When their glass fell wherein they view'd their faces.
This picture she advisedly perus’d,
And chid the painter for his wondrous skill;
Saying, some shape in Sinon's was abusid,
So fair a form lodg'd not a mind so ill ;
And still on him she gaz’d, and gazing still,
Such signs of truth in his plain face she spied,
That she concludes the picture was belied.
" It cannot be," quoth she, “ that so much guile”.
(She would have said) “ can lurk in such a look ;"
But Tarquin's shape came in her mind the while,
a Malone objects to this image of Priam's palace being the mirror in which the fixed stars beheld themselves. Boswell has answered Malone by quoting Lydgate's description of the same wonderful edifice :
“ That verely when so the soune shone
Upon the golde meynt amonge the stone,
They gave a lyght withouten any were,
As doth Apollo in his mid-day sphere."
And from her tongue
lurk” from “ cannot” took;
It cannot be” she in that sense forsook,
And turn'd it thus: “ It cannot be, I find,
But such a face should bear a wicked mind:
“ For even as subtle Sinon here is painted,
So sober-sad, so weary, and so mild,
(As if with grief or travail he had fainted)
To me came Tarquin armed; so beguild
With outward honesty, but yet defil'd
With inward vice: as Priam him did cherish,
So did I Tarquin; so my Troy did perish.
Look, look, how listening Priam wets his eyes,
To see those borrow'd tears that Sinon sheds.
Priam, why art thou old, and yet not wise?
For every tear he falls b a Trojan bleeds;
His eye drops fire, no water thence proceeds:
Those round clear pearls of his that move thy pity
Are balls of quenchless fire to burn thy city.
“ Such devils steal effects from lightless hell;
For Sinon in his fire doth quake with cold,
And in that cold hot-burning fire doth dwell;
These contraries such unity do hold
Only to flatter fools, and make them bold:
So Priam's trust false Sinon's tears doth flatter,
That he finds means to burn his Troy with water."
Here, all enrag'd, such passion her assails,
That patience is quite beaten from her breast.
She tears the senseless Sinon with her nails,
Comparing him to that unhappy guest
Whose deed hath made herself herself detest:
* So beguild. The original has to beguild. Beguiled is masked with fraud. l. The Merchant of Venice' we have
“ Thus ornament is but the guiled shore
To a most dangerous sea." b Falls-lets fall.
At last she smilingly with this gives o'er; * Fool! fool!” quoth she, “ his wounds will not be sore.”
Thus ebbs and flows the current of her sorrow,
And time doth weary time with her complaining.
She looks for night, and then she longs for morrow,
And both she thinks too long with her remaining:
Short time seems long in sorrow's sharp sustaining.
Though woe be heavy yet it seldom sleeps;
And they that watch see time how slow
Which all this time hath overslipp'd her thought,
That she with painted images hath spent:
Being from the feeling of her own grief brought
By deep surmise of others' detriment;
Losing her woes in shows of discontent.
It easeth some, though none it ever cur’d,
To think their dolour others have endur'd.
But now the mindful messenger, come back,
Brings home his lord and other company;
Who finds his Lucrece clad in mourning black;
And round about her tear-distained eye
Blue circles stream'd, like rainbows in the sky.
These water-gallsa in her dim element
Foretell new storms to those already spent.
Which when her sad-beholding husband saw,
Amazedly in her sad face he stares :
Her eyes, though sod in tears, look'd red and raw,
Her lively colour kill'd with deadly cares.
He hath no power to ask her how she fares,
But stood, like old acquaintance in a trance,
Met far from home, wondering each other's chance.
At last he takes her by the bloodless hand,
And thus begins: “ What uncouth ill event
Water-galls. Steevens says the woril is current among the shepherds on Salis
Hath thee befallen, that thou dost trembling stand ?
Sweet love, what spite hath thy fair colour spent?
Why art thou thus attir'd in discontent?
Unmask, dear dear, this moody heaviness,
And tell thy grief, that we may give redress.”
Three times with sighs she gives her sorrow fire
Ere once she can discharge one word of woe:
At length address'do to answer his desire,
She modestly prepares to let them know
Her honour is ta’en prisoner by the foe;
While Collatine and his consorted lords
With sad attention long to hear her words.
And now this pale swan in her watery nest
Begins the sad dirge of her certain ending :
“ Few words," quoth she, “shall fit the trespass best,
Where no excuse can give the fault amending:
In me more woes than words are now depending;
And my laments would be drawn out too long,
To tell them all with one poor tired tongue.
“ Then be this all the task it hath to say :-
Dear husband, in the interest of thy bed
A stranger came, and on that pillow lay
Where thou wast wont to rest thy weary head;
And what wrong else may be imagined
By foul enforcement might be done to me,
From that, alas! thy Lucrece is not free.
“ For in the dreadful dead of dark midnight,
With shining falchion in my chamber came
A creeping creature, with a flaming light,
And softly cried, Awake, thou Roman dame,
And entertain my love; else lasting shame
On thee and thine this night I will inflict,
If thou my love's desire do contradict.