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To eat up error by opinion bred,
Not spend the dow'ry of a lawsul bed.
Time's glory is to calm contending kings;
To unmask falshood, and bring truth to light;
To stamp the seal of time on aged things;
To wake the morn, and centinel the night;
To wrong the wronger, till he render right;
To ruinate proud buildings with thy hours,
And smear with dust their glittering golden towers:
To sill with worm holes stately monuments;
To feed oblivion with decay of things;
To blot old books, and alter their contents:
To pluck the quills from antient ravens wings; .'
To dry the old oak's fap, and cherish springs;
To spoil antiquities of hammer'd steel,
And turn the giddy round of fortune's wheel:
To shew the beldame daughters ofhcr daughter;
To make the child a man, the man a child; '" .
To flay the tyger, that doth live by flaughter;
To tame the unicorn and lion wild;
To mock the subtle in the themselves beguil'd;
To chear the plowman with increasesul crops*.
And waste huge stones with little water-drops*
Why wdrk'st thou mischief in thy pilgrimage,
Unless thou. couLd'st return to make amends?; I
One poor retiring minute, in an age,
Would purchase thee a thoufand thousand friends,
Lending him wit, that to bad debtors lends, [back,
O! this dread night! would'stthou one hour come
I could prevent this storm, and shun this wracks
'. • ... ': or *i-•".- 1-
Thou ceaseless lackey to eternity,
With fome mischance cross Tarquin in his flight;
Devise extremes beyond extremity,
To make him curse this cursed crimesul night:
Let ghastly shadows his lewd eyes asfright,
And the dire thought of his committed evil
Shape every bustr a hideous shapeless devih
Disturb his hours of rest with' restless trances;
Afflict him in his bed with bed-rid groans:
Let there bechance him pitiful mischances,
To make him-moan, but pity not his moans:
Stone Jiim with- harden'd hearts, harder than stones,
And let mild women to him lose their mildness^
Wilder to him than tygers in their wildness.
Let him have time to tear his curled hair:
Let him have time against himself to rave;
Let^him have time of time's" help to despair;
Let him have time to live a loathed flave 5
Let him have time a beggar's orts to crave>
And time to see one, that by alms does live,
Disdain to him disdained scraps to give.
Let him have time to. see his friends his foes*.
And merry fools to mock at him refort:
Let him have time to mark how flow time goes
In time of sorrow, and how swift and short
His time of folly, and his time of sport:
And ever let his unrecalling time
Have time to wail th' abusing of his time.
O time! thou tutor both to good and bad!
Teach me to curse him, that thou taught'st this ill;
At his own shadow let the thief run mad,
Himself, himself seek every hour to kill;
Such wretched hands such wretched blood should spill^
For who fo base would such an office have,
As flanderous death's-man to fo base a flave I
The baser is he, coming from a king,
To shame his hope with deeds degenerate;
The mightier man, the mightier is the thing.
That makes him honoured, or begets him hate:
For greatest scandal waits on greatest state.
The moon being clouded, presently is mist,
But little stars may bide them when they list.
The crow may bathe his cole-black wings in mire).
And unperceiv.ed sly with the silth away;
But if the like the snow-white swan desire,
The stain upon his silver down will stay.
Poor grooms are sightless night, kings glorious day.
Gnats are unnoted wheresoe'er they fly,
But eagles gaz'd upon with every eye.
O idle words! servants to shallow fools v
Unprositable founds, weak arbitrators;
Busy yourselves in lkill-contending schools:
Debate where leisure serves, with dull debators t
To trembling clients be their mediators.
For me, I force not argument a straw,
Since that my case is past all help of law.
In vain I rail at opportunity,
At time, at Tarquin, and unsearchsul night!
In vain I cavil with mine insamy,
In vain I spurn at my consirm'd despight:
This helpless smoke of words doth me no right.
The remedy indeed to do me good,
la to let forth my foul desiled blood.
Pbor hand, why quiver'st thou at this decree?
Honour thyself, to rid me of this shame;
For if I .die, my honour lives in thee:
But if I live, thou liv'st int my defame;
Since thou could'st not desend thy loyal dame,.
And wast afraid to scratch her wicked foe, .
Kill both thyself, and her for yielding fo.
This faid, from her betumbled couch she starts, .
To find fome desperate; instrument of death.
But this no slaughter house, no tool imparts,
To make more vent for passage pt her breath, .
Which thronging thro' her lips fo vanisheth,
As smoke from Ætna; that in air consumes,
Or that which from. discharged cannon sumes*
Ia vain (quoth site) I live, and seek in. vain * .
Some happy peanj to end a. b^pjess lise ;. (.
I sear'd by sarquin'a /auchipn to be flain,
Yet for the self-fame purpose seek a knise:
But when I sear'd, I was. a loyal wise;
So am I nowx O no l^tbatrfiannot jje;
Of that t^nc typie. hath Tarquin rifled me.
O! that is gone, for which I fought to live,r
And thergfojre npw I need not tear to die;
To clear. i^iis spot by death (at least) I give
A badge,of fame to flander's livery,.
A dying lite to living infamy!
Poor helpless help, the treasure stol'n away,. . '£o.b^rn she guiltless qafleet where it .lay,
Well, well, dear Colatine, thou shalt not know
The stained taste of violated troth;
I will not wrong thy true asfection fo,
To flatter thee with an infringed oath:
This bastard grass shall never come to growth;
He shall not boast, who did thy stock pollute^. *
That thou art doating rather of his fruit.
Nor fl»all he smile at thee in secret thought,
Nor laugh with his companions arthy-state;
But thou'shalt know thy interest was not bought
Basely with gold, but stoPn srom forth thy gate.
For me, l am the mistress of my fate,
And with-my trespass never will dispense,. ' 1 3
Till" lise to death acquit my sirst offence.
I wiH not poifon triee with' my attaints
Nor fold my fault in cleanly coin'd excuses y
My fable ground of sin I will not paint,
To hide the truth of this false night's abuses: '\'
My tongue shall utter allj mine eyes like fluices*
As from a mountain spring, that seeds a dale,
Shall gush pure streams, to purge my impure tale*.
By this, lamenting Philomel had' ended * '/
The weO-tun'a waVble'of her nightly sorrow;
And folemn night with flow fad gait descended
To ugly hell'; when lo! the Blushing morrow
Lends light to all fair eyes, that light would borrow.
But cloudy Lucrece shames herself to see,
And therefore still in night worjld clolster'd be.
Revealing day thro' every cranny spieSj . .,n
And seems to point her out where jhe sits weeping ,