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Even here she sheathed in her harmless breast
A harmful knife, that thence her soul unsheathed,
That blow did bail it from the deep unrest
Of that polluted prison where it breathed :
Her contrite sighs unto the clouds bequeathed
Her winged sprite, and thro' her wounds doth fly
Life's lasting date from cancell'd destiny.
Stone-still, astonish'd, with this deadly deed,
Stood Colatine, and all his lordly crew,
Till Lucrece' father, that beholds her bleed,
Himself on her self-slaughter'd body threw:
And from the purple fountain Brutus drew
The murd'rous knife, and as it left the place,
Her blood, in pure revenge, held it in chase.
And bubbling from her breast it doth divide
In two slow rivers, that the crimson blood
Circles her body in on every side;
Who like a late sack'd island vastly stood
Bare and unpeopled in this fearful food.
Some of her blood still pure and red remain'd,
And some look'd black, and that false Tarquin stain'
About the mourning and congealed face
Of that black blood, a wat’ry rigol goes,
Which seems to weep upon the tainted place ;,
And ever since, as pitying Lucrece' woes,
Corrupted blood some wat’ry tokens shows:
And blood untainted still doth red abide,
Blushing at that which is so putrify'd. Daughter, dear daughter, old Lucretius cries, That life was mine, which thou hast here depriv'd ;. If in the child the father's image lies, Where shall I live, now Lucrece is unliv'd ? Thou wast not to this end from me deriv’d,
If children predecease progenitors,
We are their offspring, and they none of ours..
Poor broken glass, I often did behold
In thy sweet semblance, my old age new-born ;.
But now that fair fresh mirror, dim and old,
Shows-me a bare-bou'd death by time out-worn:
! from thy cheeks my image thou hast torn ! And shiver'd all the beauty of my glass, That I no more can see what once I was.
O time ! cease thou thy course, and last no longer;
If thou surcease to be, that should survive:
Shall rotten death make conquest of the stronger,
And leave the fault'ring feeble souls alive?
The old bees die, the young possess their hive ;
Then live, sweet Lucrece, live again and see
Thy father die, and not thy father thee.
By this starts Colatine as from a dream,
And bids Lucretius give his sorrow place :
And then in clay-cold Lucrece' bleeding stream
He falls, and bathes the pale fear in his face,
And counterfeits to die with her a space :
Till manly shame bids him possess .his breath),
And live to be revenged on her death.
The deep vexation of his inward soul,
Hath serv'd a dumb arrest upon his tongue ;
Who made that sorrow should his use control,
Or keep him from heart-easing words so long,
He 'gins to talk; but thro' his lips do throng
Weak words, so thick come in his poor heart's aidi
That no man could distinguish what he said.
Yet sometimes Tarquin was pronounced plain,
But through his teeth, as if his name he tore:
This windy tempest, till it blew up rain,
Held back his sorrow's tide to make it more,
At last it rains, and busy winds gives o’er:
Then son and father weep with equal strife,
Who should weep most. for daughter, or for wife.
The one doth call her his, the other his ;
Yet neither may possess the claim they lay,
The father says, she's mine ; O mine she is,
Replies her husband, do not take away
My sorrows interest, let no mourner say,
He weeps for her, for she was only mine,
And only must be wailid by Colatine..
O! quoth Lucretius, I did give that life,
Which she too early and too late hath spill'd.
Woe! woe ! quoth Colatine, she was my wife,
I own'd her, and 'tis mine that she hath kill'd,
My daughter and my wife with clamours fill'd
The disperst air, who holding Lucrece's life,
Answer'd their cries, my daughter and my wife.
Brutus, who pluck'd the knife from Lucrece side,
Seeing such emulation in their woe,
Began to clothe his wit in state and pride,
Burying in Lucrece wound his folly's show;
He with the Romans was esteemed so,
As silly jeering ideots are with kings,
For sportive words, and uttering foolish things.
But now he throws that shallow habit by,
Wherein deep policy did him disguise,
And arm'd his long-hid wits advisedly,
To check the tears in Colatinus' eyes.
Thou wronged lord of Rome, quoth he, arise ;
Let my unsounded self, suppos'd a fool,
Now set thy long experienc'd wit to school. Why, Colatine, is woe the cure for woe? Do wounds help wounds, or grief help grievous deeds? Is it revenge to give thyself a blow For his foul act, by whom thy fair wife bleeds ? Such childish humour from weak minds proceeds :
Thy wretched wife mistook the matter so,
To slay lierself, that should have slain her foe.
Courageous Roman, do not steep thy heart
In such lamenting dew of lamentations ;
But kneel with me, and help to bear thy part,
To rouse our Roman gods with invocations,
That they will suffer these abominations
(Since Rome herself in them doth stand disgrac'd)
By our strong arms from forth her fair streets chas'd. Now by the Capitol that we adore ! And by this chaste blood so unjustly stain'd! By heaven's fair sun, that breeds the fat earth's store ! By all our country rites in Rome maintain'd !
And by chaste Lucrece' soul, that late complain'd
Her wrongs to us! and by this bloody knife!
We will revenge the death of this true wife.
This said, he struck his hand upon his breast,
And kiss'd the fatal knife to end his vow :
And to his protestation urg'd the rest,
Who wondering at him, did his words allow !
Then jointly to the ground their knees they bow,
And that deep vow which Brutus made before,
He doth again repeat, and that they swore.
When they had sworn to this advised doom,
They did conclude to bear dead Lucrece thence,
To show her bleeding body throughout Rome,
And so to publish Tarquin's foul offence.
Which being done with speedy diligence,
The Romans plausibly did give consent
To Tarquin's everlasting banishment.