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The Rape of Lucrece
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The Rape of Lucrece

Shakespeare William

Категории:
Проза, Классическая Проза

  • Язык: Английский

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FROM the besieged Ardea all in post, Borne by the trustless wings of false desire, Lust-breathed Tarquin leaves the Roman host, And to Collatium bears the lightless fire Which, in pale embers hid, lurks to aspire And girdle with embracing flames the waist Of Collatine's fair love, Lucrece the chaste. Haply that name of 'chaste' unhappily set This bateless edge on his keen appetite; When Collatine unwisely did not let To praise the clear unmatched red and white Which triumph'd in that sky of his delight, Where mortal stars, as bright as heaven's beauties, With pure aspects did him peculiar duties. For he the night before, in Tarquin's tent, Unlock'd the treasure of his happy state; What priceless wealth the heavens had him lent In the possession of his beauteous mate; Reckoning his fortune at such high-proud rate, That kings might be espoused to more fame, But king nor peer to such a peerless dame. O happiness enjoy'd but of a few! And, if possess'd, as soon decay'd and done As is the morning's silver-melting dew Against the golden splendor of the sun! An expired date, cancell'd ere well begun: Honour and beauty, in the owner's arms, Are weakly fortress'd from a world of harms. Beauty itself doth of itself persuade The eyes of men without an orator; What needeth then apologies be made, To set forth that which is so singular? Or why is Collatine the publisher Of that rich jewel he should keep unknown From thievish ears, because it is his own? Perchance his boast of Lucrece' sovereignty Suggested this proud issue of a king; For by our ears our hearts oft tainted be: Perchance that envy of so rich a thing, Braving compare, disdainfully did sting His high-pitch'd thoughts, that meaner men should vaunt That golden hap which their superiors want. But some untimely thought did instigate His all-too-timeless speed, if none of those: His honour, his affairs, his friends, his state, Neglected all, with swift intent he goes To quench the coal which in his liver glows. O rash false heat, wrapp'd in repentant cold, Thy hasty spring still blasts, and ne'er grows old! When at Collatium this false lord arrived, Well was he welcomed by the Roman dame, Within whose face beauty and virtue strived Which of them both should underprop her fame: When virtue bragg'd, beauty would blush for shame; When beauty boasted blushes, in despite Virtue would stain that o'er with silver white. But beauty, in that white intituled, From Venus' doves doth challenge that fair field: Then virtue claims from beauty beauty's red, Which virtue gave the golden age to gild Their silver cheeks, and call'd it then their shield; Teaching them thus to use it in the fight, When shame assail'd, the red should fence the white. This heraldry in Lucrece' face was seen, Argued by beauty's red and virtue's white Of either's colour was the other queen, Proving from world's minority their right: Yet their ambition makes them still to fight; The sovereignty of either being so great, That oft they interchange each other's seat. Their silent war of lilies and of roses, Which Tarquin view'd in her fair face's field,


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