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The precedent whereof in Lucrece view,
Assail'd by night with circumstances strong
Of present death, and shame that might ensue.
By that her death to do her husband wrong;
Such danger to resistance did belong.

The dying fear thro' all her body spread,
And who cannot abuse a body dead?

By this mild patience did fair Lucrece speak
To the poor counterfeit of her complaining;
My girl, (quoth she) on what occasion break
Those tears from thee, that down thy cheeks are raining,
If thou dost weep for grief of my sustaining,

Know, gentle wench, it small avails my mood,
If tears could help, mine own would do me good.

But tell me, girl, when went (and there she staid,
Till after a deep groan) Tarquin from hence?
Madam, ere I was up, reply'd the maid.
The more to blame my sluggard negligence;
Yet with the fault I thus far can dispense;
Myself was stirring ere the break of day,
And ere I rose was Tarquin gone away.

But, lady, if your maid may be so bold,
She would request to know your heaviness.
O peace, (quoth Lucrece) if it should be told,
The repetition cannot make it less ;

For more it is than I can well express;

And that deep torture may be call'd a hell,
When more is felt than one hath power to tell.

Go, get me hither paper, ink and pen;
Yet save that labour, for I have them here..
What should I say? One of my husband's men
Bid thou be ready, by and by to bear

A letter to my lord, my love, my dear;

Bid him with speed prepare to carry it,

The cause craves haste, and it will soon be writ

Her maid is gone, and she prepares to write,
First hovering o'er the paper with her quill;
Conceit and grief an eager combat fight,

What wit sets down, is blotted still with will;

This is too curious good, this blunt and ill;
Much like a press of people at a door,

Throng her inventions, which shall go before.

At last she thus begins: Thou worthy lord
Of that unworthy wife, that greeteth thee,
Health to thy person; next vouchsafe t' afford
If ever, love, thy Lucrece thou wilt see
Some present speed to come and visit me ;
So I commend me from our house in grief,
My woes are tedious, tho' my words are brief.

Here folds she up the tenor of her woe,
Her certain sorrow writ uncertainly ;
By this short schedule Colatine may know
Her grief, but not her grief's true quality ;
She dares not therefore make discovery,

Lest he should hold it her own gross abuse,
Ere she with blood had stain'd her strain'd excuse.

Besides the life and feeling of her passion,

She hoards to spend, when he is by to hear her ;
When sighs, and groans, and tears may grace the fashion
Of her disgrace, the better so to clear her

From that suspicion which the world might bear her:
To shun this blot, she would not blot the letter
With words, till action might become them better.

To see sad sights, moves more than hear them told;
For then the eye interprets to the ear

The heavy motion that it doth behold;
When every part a part of woe doth bear,

'Tis but a part of sorrow that we hear,

Deep sounds make lesser noise than shallow fords, And sorrow ebbs, being blown with wind of words.

Her letter now is seal'd and on it writ,

At Ardea to my lord with more than haste;

The post attends, and she delivers it,

Charging the sour-fac'd groom to hie as fast,
As lagging souls before the northern blast.

Speed, more than speed, but dull and slow she deems,
Extremity still urgeth such extremes.

The homely villain curtsies to her low,
And blushing on her with a stedfast eye,
Receives the scroll without or yea or no:
For outward bashful innocence doth fly.
But they whose guilt within their bosoms lie,
Imagine every eye beholds their blame,

For Lucrece thought he blush'd to see her shame.

When silly groom, God wot, it was defect,
Of spirit, life, and bold audacity;

Such harmless creatures have a true respect
To talk in deeds, while others saucily
Promise more speed, but do it leisurely.

Even so this pattern of the worn-out age
Pawn'd honest looks, but laid no words to gage.

His kindled duty kindled her mistrust,

That two red fires in both their faces blaz❜d,
She thought he blush'd as knowing Tarquin's lust,
And blushing with him, wistly on him gaz'd;
Her earnest eye did make him more amaz'd;

The more she saw the blood his cheeks replenish,
The more she thought he spy'd in her some blemish.

But long she thinks till he return again,
And yet the duteous vassal scarce is gone;
The weary time she cannot entertain,
For now 'tis stale to sigh, to weep, and groan.
So wo hath wearied wo, moan tired moan,

That she her plaints a little while doth stay,
Pausing for means to mourn some newer way.

At last she calls to mind where hangs a piece
Of skilful painting made for Priam's Troy ;
Before the which is drawn the power of Greece,
For Helen's rape the city to destroy,

Threatening cloud-kissing Ilion with annoy;

Which the conceited painter drew so proud,
As heaven, it seem'd, to kiss the turrets bow'd.

A thousand lamentable objects there,
In scorn of nature, art gave lifeless life;
Many a dire drop seem'd a weeping tear,
Shed for the slaughter'd husband by the wife.

The red blood reek'd to shew the painter's strife,
And dying eyes gleam'd forth their ashy lights,
Like dying coals burnt out in tedious nights.

There might you see the labouring pioneer
Begrim'd with sweat, and smeared all with dust!
And from the towers of Troy, there would appear
The very eyes of men thro' loop-holes thrust,
Gazing upon the Greeks with little lust:

Such sweet observance in this work was had,
That one might see those far-off eyes look sad.

In great commanders, grace and majesty
You might behold triumphing in their faces.
In youth quick-bearing and dexterity:

And here and there the painter interlaces

Pale cowards marching on with trembling paces:
Which heartless peasants did so well resemble,
That one would swear he saw them quake and tremble.

In Ajax and Ulysses, O what art
Of phisiognomy might one behold!

The face of either cypher'd either's heart;
Their face, their manners most expressly told.
In Ajax's eyes blunt rage and rigour roll'd;
But the mild glance that she Ulysses lent,
Show'd deep regard and smiling government.

There pleading might you see brave Nestor stand,
As 'twere encouraging the Greeks to fight,
Making such sober actions with his hand,
That it beguil'd attention, charm'd the sight:
In speech it seem'd his beard, all silver white,
Wagg'd up and down, and from his lips did fly
Thin winding breath, which pearl'd up to the sky.

About him were a press of gaping faces,
Which seem'd to swallow up his sound advice ;
All jointly list'ning, but with several graces,
As if some mermaid did their ears entice;
Some high, some low, the painter was so nice.
The scalps of many almost hid behind,

To jump up higher seem'd to mock the mind.

Here one man's hand lean'd on another's head,
His nose being shadow'd by his neighbour's ear;
Here one being throng'd, bears back all swoln and red;
Another smother'd seems to pelt and swear,
And in their rage, (such signs of rage they bear,)
As but for loss of Nestor's golden words,

It seems they would debate with angry swords.

For much imaginary work was there;
Conceit deceitful, so compact, so kind,
That for Achilles' image stood his spear,
Grip'd in an armed hand; himself behind
Was left unseen, save in the eye of mind:
A hand, a foot, a face, a leg, a head,
Stood for the whole to be imagined.

And from the walls of strong besieged Troy,
When their brave hope, bold Hector, march'd to field,
Stood many Trojan mothers, sharing joy,

To see their youthful sons bright weapons wield,
And to their hope they such odd action yield,
That thro' their light joy seemed to appear,
(Like bright things stain'd) a kind of heavy fear.

And from the strond of Dardan where they fought,
To Simois' reedy banks the red blood ran;
Whose waves to imitate the battle fought
With swelling ridges; and their ranks began
To break upon the galled shore, and then
Retire again, till meeting greater ranks,

They join, and shoot their foam at Simois' banks.

To this well-painted piece is Lucrece come
To find a face where all distress is stell'd;
Many she sees, where cares have carved some,
But none where all distress and dolour dwell'd,
Till she despairing Hecuba beheld,

Staring on Priam's wounds with her old eyes,
Who bleeding under Pyrrhus' proud foot lies.

In her the painter had anatomiz'd

Time's ruin, beauty's wreck, and grim care's reign ; Her cheeks with chops and wrinkles were disguis'd; Of what she was no semblance did remain ;

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