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Here folds she up the tenour of her woe,
Her certain sorrow writ uncertainly.
By this short schedule Collatine may know
Her grief, but not her grief's true quality :
She dares not thereof make discovery,
Lest he should hold it her own gross abuse,
Ere she with blood had stain'd her stain'd excuse.
Besides, the life and feeling of her passior.
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 seald, 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 fowls before the northern blast :
Speed more than speed but dull and slow she deems;
Extremity still urgeth such extremes.
The homely villain court'sies to her low,
And blushing on her, with a steadfast eye
Receives the scroll, without or yea or no,
And forth with bashful innocence doth hie:
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 lay'd no words to gage.
His kindled duty kindled her mistrust,
That two red fires in both their faces blazed ;
She thought he blush'd, as knowing Tarquin's lust,
And, blushing with him, wistly on him gazed;
Her earnest eye did make him more amazed :
The more, she saw the blood his cheeks replenish,
The more she thought he spied 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 woe hath wearied woe, 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 dry drop seem'd a weeping tear,
Shed for the slaughter'd husband by the wife:
The red blood reek'd to show 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 through 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
In Ajax and Ulysses, o, what art
Of physiognomy might one behold!
The face of either 'cipher'd either's heart;
Their face their manners most expressly told :
In Ajax' eyes blunt rage and rigour roll'd ;
But the mild glance that sly Ulysses lent,
Show'd deep regard and smiling government.
There pleading might you see grave Nestor stand,
As 'twere encouraging the Greeks to fight ;
Making such sober action with his hand,
That it beguild 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 purl'd up to the sky.
About him were a press of gaping faces,
Which seem'd to swallow up his sound advice ;
All jointly listening, 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 boll'n and
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 seem'd 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 to 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 through 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 sought
With swelling ridges; and their ranks began
To break upon the galled shore, and than
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 steld.
Many she sees, where cares have carved some,
But none where all distress and dolour dwellid,
Till she despairing Hecuba beheld,
Staring on Priam's wounds with her old eyes,
Which bleeding under Pyrrhus' proud foot lies.