Abbildungen der Seite

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,

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.

Oh, 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 for defame!

Grim cave of death! whispering conspirator
With close-tongu'd treason and the ravisher!

Oh, 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 unwholesome breaths make sick
The life of purity, the supreme fair,
Ere he arrive his weary noon-tide prick;
And let thy musty vapourso 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.

Oh 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,

9 And let thy musty vapours] Modern editors (including the Rev. Mr. Dyce), following the later impressions, have, with Malone, printed “mustymisty: the context shows that “musty,'' the word in all the copies of the edition of 1594, is right: in the previous part of the stanza we have had “rotten damps,” and “ wholesome airs,” and “musty vapours" is quite consistent with them. “Misty vapours" is mere tautology, since vapours are necessarily misty.


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 undeserv'd reproach to him allotted,

That is as clear from this attaint of mine,
As I ere this was pure to Collatine.

Oh unseen shame! invisible disgrace!
Oh 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.


1 Will quote my loathsome trespass] i. e. Will note or observe my loathsome trespass. See Vol. iv. p. 568; Vol. v. p. 116, &c.

may read the mot afar,] The “ mot " is the word of reproach, from the French : we generally now resort to the Italian, motto. In “ Pericles " (this Vol. p. 413), where Thaisa repeats the inscriptions on the shields of the knights, Shakespeare uses “word " just as he employs “mot" in our text.

Yet am I guiltys 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.-Oh, 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.

his gold,

The aged man that coffers

up 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 :
Their father was too weak, and they too strong,
To hold their cursed-blessed fortune long.

The sweets we wish for turn to loathed sours,
Even in the moment that we call them our's.

Unruly blasts wait on the tender spring,
Unwholesome weeds take root with precious flowers ;
The adder hisses where the sweet birds sing,
What virtue breeds, iniquity devours;
We have no good that we can say is our's,

3 Yet am I GUILTY] Malone altered “guilty" to guiltless, but he was clearly wrong: Lucrece first accuses herself of being guilty by entertaining Tarquin, and then excuses herself by adding that she did it for her husband's honour. The Rev. Mr. Dyce properly retains “ guilty.” “Wrack,” at the end of the line, is again the old spelling of wreck ; and it is here, as on pp. 502 and 556, necessary to preserve it for the sake of the rhyme.

But ill annexed opportunity
Or kills his life, or else his quality.

Oh, Opportunity! thy guilt is great : 'Tis thou that execut'st the traitor's treason ; Thou sett'st the wolf where he the lamb may get; Whoever plots the sin, thou 'point'st the season. 'Tis thou that spurn’st at right, at law, at reason;

And in thy shady cell, where none may spy him, Sits sin to seize the souls that wander by him.

Thou mak'st the vestal violate her oath;
Thou blow'st the fire when temperance is thaw'd;
Thou smother'st honesty, thou murder'st troth:
Thou foul abettor ! thou notorious bawd !
Thou plantest scandal, and displacest laud :

Thou ravisher, thou traitor, thou false thief,
Thy honey turns to gall, thy joy to grief !

Thy secret pleasure turns to open shame,
Thy private feasting to a public fast;
Thy smoothing titles to a ragged name,
Thy sugar'd tongue to bitter wormwood taste :
Thy violent vanities can never last.

How comes it, then, vile Opportunity,
Being so bad, such numbers seek for thee?

When wilt thou be the humble suppliant's friend, And bring him where his suit may be obtained ? When wilt thou sort an hour* great strifes to end, Or free that soul which wretchedness hath chained ? Give physic to the sick, ease to the pained ?

The poor, lame, blind, halt, creep, cry out for thee, But they ne'er meet with Opportunity.

The patient dies while the physician sleeps ;
The orphan pines while the oppressor feeds ;

4 When wilt thou sort an hour] i.e. Select or choose an hour. See Vol. iv. pp. 211. 270. Steevens refers to the line,

“But I will sort a pitchy day for thee," as if it were in “ Richard III.” It is in fact in “Henry VI., Part III.;" but the scene was made a portion of “ Richard III.” as it was acted in the time of Steevens, and in our own, and hence, perhaps, his strange mistake.

« ZurückWeiter »