Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

With this, they all at once began to say,
Her body's stain her mind untainted clears;
While with a joyless smile she turns away

[ocr errors]

ori,

Te, pudor, heu violo ;-valeant jam gaudin vitæ !

Carior et vitâ, care marite, vale!..
Ferrum at restituet læso sua jura pudori,

Ad cælum et surget sanguine fama meo. In these verses the author seems to have had in view the following lines in Young's seventh Satire:

“ Ambition, in the truly noble mind,
“ With sister virtue is for ever join'd:
As in fam'd Lucrece, who, with equal dread,
“ From guilt and shame by her last conduct fled:

“ Her virtue long rebell'd in firm disdain,
on " And the sword pointed at her heart in vain ;

“ But when the slave was threaten'd to be laid

“ Dead by her side, her love of fame obey'd.” M. Antonius Casanova, a writer of the sixteenth century, has also defended the conduct of Lucretia in the following lines : :

Dicite, cum melius cadere ante Lucretia posset,

Cur potius voluit post scelus illa mori?
Crimine se absolvit manus, habitura coactæ

Ultorem, et patriæ depositura jugum.
Quam bene contempto sacrat sua pectora ferro,

Dum pariter famæ consulit et patriæ !
Thus translated by Thomas Heywood, the dramatick poet:

" Why Lucrece better might herselfe have slain,
“ Before the Act, than after her black stain,
“ Can any tell? No crime did she commit,
“For of all guilt her hand did her acquit.
“ Her ravisher she slew by that brave stroke,
“ And from her countries neck tooke off the yoke;
“ From thine own hand thy death most willing came,

To save thy country, and preserve thy fame." Malone. Peradventure a certain lady of Basil, whose name those who have leisure or inclination to disport themselves in such researches, may hereafter discover, hath a better title to admiration than the loquacious wife of Tarquinius Collatinus. I have heretofore met with a pretty epigram, of good antiquity, in praise of the aforesaid lady, which, me seemeth, may afford no improper supplement to the remarks that the conduct of the celebrated Roman matron hath produced :

Passa torum, non passa virum, Lucretia nostri

Ævi, postgenitis nobilis historia ;

The face, that map which deep impression bears Of hard misfortune, carv'd in it with tears.

No, no, quoth she, no dame, hereafter living, By my excuse shall claim excuse's giving'.

Here with a sigh, as if her heart would break,
She throws forth Tarquin's name: He, he, she says,
But more than he her poor tongue could not speak;
Till after many accents and delays,
Untimely breathings, sick and short assays,

She utters this : He, he, fair lords, 'tis he,
That guides this hand to give this wound to me.

Quæ virgo et matrona simul tria lustra peregi,

Nupta innupta simul semiviri atque viri.
Conjugium tacui; cujus languentia membra

Non Venus aspexit, non ruber ille deus.
Sed tacui, atque tuli: non hanc vicina querelam

Audiit, aut frater,aut pater, aut genetrix.
Heu male pro meritis tribuuntur præmia tantis ;

Alcestem exoriens sol scit et occiduus,
Solum me Basilea ; sed est, me judice, majus

Semper ab igne uri, quam semel igne mori. And this remindeth me of another unfortunate lady, whose il hap gave birth to some pretty conceited verses :

Impubes nupsi valido, nunc firmior annis

Exsucco et moli sum satiata viro.
Ille fatigavit teneram, hic ætate virentem

Intactam tota nocte jacere sinit.
Dum licuit, nolui; nunc, dum volo, non licet uti.

O Hymenî, aut annos aut mihi redde virum. AMNER. 1- po dame, hereafter living,

By my excuse shall claim excuse's giving.] “Ego me, etsi peccato absolvo, supplicio non libero; nec ulla deinde impudica exemplo Lucretiæ vivet." Liv. lib. i. cap. 58.—No translation of the first book of Livy having appeared before the publication of this poem, this coincidence seemed to me extraordinary; but since the former edition I have observed that Painter's novel furnished our author with this sentiment. “As for my part, though I cleare my selfe of the offence, my body shall feel the punishment, for no unchaste or ill woman shall hereafter impute no dishonest act to Lucrece.Palace of Pleasure, 1567, vol. i. f. 7. MALONE.

Even here she sheathed in her harmless breast
A harmful knife, that thence her soul unsheath'd :
That blow did bail it from the deep unrest
Of that polluted prison where it breath’d:
Her contrite sighs unto the clouds bequeath'd

Her winged sprite, and through her wounds doth

fly

Life's lasting date from cancel'd destiny.
Stone-still, astonish’d with this deadly deed,
Stood Collatine 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 murderous knife, and as it left the place,
Her blood, in poor 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 flood.

Some of her blood still pure and red remain'd,
And some look'd black, and that false Tarquin

stain'd.

About the mourning and congealed face
Of that black blood, a watery rigol goes",
Which seems to weep upon the tainted place :

VENS.

? — vastly stood,] i. e. like a waste. Vastum is the law term for waste ground. Thus, in The Winter's Tale: “ — shook hands as over a vast." Again, in Pericles :

“ Tiou God of this great vast, rebuke the surges." 3 — a watery RIGOL goes,] A rigol is a circle. Malone. So, in King Henry IV. Part II. :

“ a sleep
“ That from this golden rigol hath divorc'd
“ So many English kings." Steevens.

And ever since, as pitying Lucrece' woes,
Corrupted blood some watery token 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'do ?
Thou wast not to this end from me derivd.

If children pre-decease 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 oldo,

4 If in the child the father's IMAGE Lies,

Where shall I live, now Lucrece is unliv'D?] So, in King Richard III.:

“And liv'd by looking on his images." Malone. “ – unliv’d?” The quaintness of this word has only been equalled by another of the same kind in Chrononhotonthologos :

. “ Himself he unfatigues with pleasing slumbers.” I wa ..

:

; STEEVENS. I do not perceive any peculiar uncouthness in this expression. What is unlivd but liveless (for so the word lifeless was frequently written in our author's time)? Thus, in The Comedy of Errors :

“ But to procastinate his liveless end." The privative un may be joined to almost any English participle. When indeed it is annexed to a word that is itself of a privative nature, (as fatigue,) the word so formed may justly be objected to. But unliv'd does not appear to me more exceptionable than unhoused, unpaved, and twenty more. In Macbeth we meet with unrough :

"- many unrough youths, that even now

“ Protest their first of manhood." And in King Richard II. we have undeaf:

“My death's sad tale may yet undeaf his ear." MALONE. s If children pre-decease progenitors,] So, in Romeo and Juliet :

“ oh, thou untaught !
“ To press before thy father to a grave!” Steevens.

Shows me a bare-bon'd death by time out-worn ?;
O, 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.

6 But now that fair fresh mirror, dim and old,] Thus the quarto. The modern editions have-dim and cold, which I once thought might have been the true reading. This indeed is not a very proper epithet, because all mirrors are cold.' But the poet, I conceived, might have thought that its being descriptive of Lucretia's state was sufficient. On a more mature consideration, however, I am of opinion that the old copy is right. As dim is opposed to fair, so olid is to fresh. Malone,

Old, I believe, is the true reading. Though glass may not prove subject to decay, the quicksilver behind it will perish, through age, and it then exhibits a faithless reflection. A steelglass, however, would certainly grow dim in proportion as it grows old. Steevens 7 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-bond death by time out-worn ;] So, in King Richard III. :

“I have bewept a worthy husband's death,
“ And liv'd by looking on his images;
“ But now two mirrors of his princely semblance
Are crack'd in pieces by malignant death;
“ And I for comfort have but one false glass,

“That grieves me when I see my shame in him." Again, in our author's third Sonnet :'...

“ Thou art thy mother's glass," &c. Malone. , Compare this stanza with the speech of King Richard II, when he commands a mirror to be brought, and afterwards dashes it on the ground. Steevens.

“ Shows me a bare-bon'd death.” So, in King John : .. " — and on' his forehead sits

A bare ribb'd death-,” Steevens. : 0, from the cheeks my image thou hast torn!) Thus the quarto. The edition of 1600, and all subsequent to it, have:

“ O, from my cheeks my image thou hast torn! But the father's image was in his daughter's countenance, which she had now disfigured. The old copy is therefore certainly right.

Malone.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »