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away. Lucrece, in this lamentable plight, haftily dif patcheth meffengers, one to Rome for her father, another to the camp for Collatine. They came, the one accompanied with Junius Brutus, the other with Publius Valerius; and finding Lucrece attired in mourning habit, demanded the caufe of her forrow. She, firft taking an oath of them for her revenge, revealed the actor, and whole manner of his dealing, and withal fuddenly stabbed herself. Which done, with one concent they all vowed to root out the whole hated family of the Tarquins; and bearing the dead body to Rome, Brutus acquainted the people with the doer and manner of the vile deed, with a bitter invective against the tyranny of the king: wherewith the people were fo moved, that with one concent and a general acclamation the Tarquins were all exiled, and the ftate government changed from kings to confuls.
ROM the befieg'd Ardea all in poft 2,
"A book entitled The Ravishment of Lucrece," was entered on the Stationers' regifter, by Mr. Harrison, fen. May 9, 1594, and the poem was first printed in quarto, in the fame year. It was again publifhed in fmall octavo in 1598, 1600, and 1607. I have heard of editions of this piece likewife in 1596 and 1602, but I have not feen either of them. In 1616 another edition appeared, which in the titlepage is faid to be newly revised and corrected. When this copy first came to my hands, it occurred to me, that our authour had perhaps an intention of revifing and publishing all his works, (which his fellowcomedians in their preface to his plays feem to hint he would have done, If he had lived,) and that he began with this early production of his mufe, but was prevented by death from completing his fcheme; for he died in the fame year in which this corrected copy of Lucrece (as it is called) was printed. But on an attentive examination of this edition, I have not the leaft doubt that the piece was revised by fome other hand. It is fo far from being correct, that it is certainly the most inaccurate and corrupt of all the ancient copies. In fome paffages emendations are attempted merely for the fake of harmony; in others, a word of an ancient caft is changed for one fomewhat more modern; but most of the alterations feem to have been made, because the revifer did not understand the poet's meaning, and imagined he faw errours of the prefs, where in fact there were none. Of this the reader will find initances in the courfe of the following notes; for the variations of the editions are conftantly fet down. I may alfo add, that this copy (which all the modern editions have followed) appears manifeftly to have been. printed from the edition in 1607, the most incorrect of all thofe that preceded, as being the moft diftant from the original, which there is
Haply that name of chafte unhapp'ly fet
Where mortal stars, as bright as heaven's beauties,
For he the night before, in Tarquin's tent,
Reckoning his fortune at fuch high-proud rate,
reafon to fuppofe was published under the authour's immediate infpection. Had he undertaken the talk of revifing and correcting any part of his works, he would furely have made his own edition, and not a very inaccurate re-impreffion of it, the bafis of his improvements.
The story on which this poem is formed, is related by Dion. Hali. carnaffenfis, lib. iv. c. 72; by Livy, lib. i. c. 57, 58; and by Ovid, Faft. lib. ii. Diodorus Siculus and Dion Caffius have alfo related it. The hiftorians differ in fome minute particulars.
The Legend of Lucretia is found in Chaucer. In 1558 was entered on the Stationers' books, "A ballet called The grevious complaint of Lucrece," licenfed to John Alde: and in 1569 was licensed to James Roberts, "A ballad of the death of Lucryflia." There was alío a ballad of the legend of Lucrece, printed in 1576. Some of thefe, Mr. Warton thinks, probably fuggefted this story to our authour. "Lucretia (he adds,) was the grand example of conjugal fidelity throughout the gothick ages."
Since the former edition, I have obferved that Painter has inferted the ftory of Lucrece in the first volume of his Palace of Pleafure, 1567, on which I make no doubt our authour formed his poem. This story
is likewife told in Lydgate's FALL OF PRINCES. MALONE. 2-all in poft,] So, in Painter's Novel :-"Let us take our horfe to prove which of oure wives doth furmount. Whereuppon they roode to Rome in poft." MALONE.
3-did not let] Did not forbear. MALONE.
4 Where mortal stars,- i. e. eyes. Our authour has the fame allufon in A Midsummer-Night's Dream:
who more engilds the night,
"Than all yon firy o's and eyes of light."
Again, in Romeo and Juliet :
"At my poor houfe look to behold this night
"Earth treading ftars, that make dark heaven light."
That kings might be efpoufed to more fame,
O happiness enjoy'd but of a few!
5 Reckoning bis fortune at fuch high-proud rate,
But king nor peer to fuch a peerless dame.] Thus the quarto, 1594, and three fubfequent editions. The octavo, 1616, reads:
at jo high a rate,
and in the next line but one,
But king nor prince to fuch a peerless dame.
The alteration in the first line was probably made in confequence of the editor's not being fufficiently converfant with Shakspeare's compounded words; (thus, in All's Well that ends Well, we find bigb-repented blames; and in Twelfth Night, bigb fantastical;) in the last, to avoid that jingle which the authour feems to have confidered as a beauty, or received as a fashion. MALONE.
6-as foon decay'd and done-] Done is frequently ufed by our ancient writers in the fenie of confumed. So, in Venus and Adonis, p. 49.
"-wafted, thaw'd, and done,
"As mountain fnow melts with the mid-day fun." MALONE. 7 As is the morning's filver-melting-dew,] The octavo 1616, and the modern editions, read corruptedly:
As if the morning's filver-melting dew. MALONE.
8 An expir'd date, cancel'd ere well begun:] Thus the quarto, 1594, the editions of 1598, 1600, and 1607. That of 1616 reads, apparently for the fake of fmoother verfification:
A date expir'd, and cancel'd ere begun.
Our authour feems to have remembered Daniel's Complaint of Rofa. mond, 1592:
Thou must not thinke thy flowre can always florish,
"And that thy beauty will be ftiil admir'd,
"But that thofe rayes which all these flames do nourish,
Again, in Pericles, Prince of Tyre:
"Diana's temple is not diftant far,
"Where you may 'bide untill your date expire." MALONE.
So, in Romeo and Juliet:
"and expire the term
"Of a defpifed life." STEEVENS.