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The locks between her chamber and his will,
Each one by him enforced, retires his ward;
But as they open, they all rate his ill,
Which drives the creeping thief to some regard :
The threshold grates the door to have him heard;
Night-wandering weasels shriek to
see him


They fright him, yet he still pursues his fear.

As each unwilling portal yields him way,
Through little vents and crannies of the place
The wind wars with his torch, to make him stay,
And blows the smoke of it into his face,

Extinguishing his conduct1 in this case:

But his hot heart, which fond desire doth scorch,

Puffs forth another wind that fires the torch :

And, being lighted, by the light he spies
Lucretia's glove, wherein her needle sticks :
He takes it from the rushes 2 where it lies;
And, griping it, the neeld3 his finger pricks :
As who should say, This glove to wanton tricks
Is not inured; return again in haste:

Thou seest our mistress' ornaments are chaste.

1 Conduct for conductor.


Apartments in England were strewed with rushes in the time of our author. 3 Neeld for needle.

But all these poor forbiddings could not stay him : He in the worst sense construes their denial :

The doors, the wind, the glove, that did delay him, He takes for accidental things of trial;

Or as those bars which stop the hourly dial,

Who with a lingering stay his course doth let,1

Till every minute

So, so,' quoth he,

pays the hour his debt.

'these lets attend the time, Like little frosts that sometime threat the spring, To add a more rejoicing to the prime,

And give the sneaped 2 birds more cause to sing.
Pain pays the income of each precious thing:

Huge rocks, high winds, strong pirates, shelves and sands,

The merchant fears, ere rich at home he lands.'

Now is he come unto the chamber door,

That shuts him from the heaven of his thought;
Which with a yielding latch, and with no more,
Hath barr'd him from the blessed thing he sought.
So from himself impiety hath wrought,

That for his prey to pray he doth begin,
As if the Heavens should countenance his sin.

But in the midst of his unfruitful prayer,
Having solicited the eternal Power,

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That his foul thoughts might compass his fair fair, And they would stand auspicious to the hour;Even there he starts :-quoth he, 'I must deflour: The powers, to whom I pray, abhor this fact; How can they then assist me in the act?

Then Love and Fortune be my gods, my guide!
My will is back'd with resolution :

Thoughts are but dreams till their effects be tried;
The blackest sin is clear'd with absolution:
Against love's fire fear's frost hath dissolution.
The eye of heaven is out, and misty night
Covers the shame that follows sweet delight.'

This said, his guilty hand pluck'd up the latch,
And with his knee the door he opens wide:
The dove sleeps fast that this night-owl will catch;
Thus treason works ere traitors be espied.
Who sees the lurking serpent, steps aside;
But she, sound sleeping, fearing no such thing,
Lies at the mercy of his mortal sting.

Into the chamber wickedly he stalks,
And gazeth on her yet unstained bed:
The curtains being close, about he walks,
Rolling his greedy eyeballs in his head:
By their high treason is his heart misled;

Which gives the watchword to his hand fuli


To draw the cloud that hides the silver moon.

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Look, as the fair and fiery-pointed sun,

Rushing from forth a cloud, bereaves our sight;
Even so, the curtain drawn, his eyes begun
To wink, being blinded with a greater light:
Whether it is, that she reflects so bright,

That dazzleth them, or else some shame sup


But blind they are, and keep themselves enclosed.

O, had they in that darksome prison died,
Then had they seen the period of their ill!
Then Collatine again, by Lucrece' side,
In his clear bed might have reposed still:
But they must ope, this blessed league to kill;
And holy-thoughted Lucrece to their sight
Must sell her joy, her life, her world's delight.

Her lily hand her rosy cheek lies under,
Cozening the pillow of a lawful kiss;
Who, therefore angry, seems to part in sunder,
Swelling on either side, to want his bliss;
Between whose hills her head entombed is :

Where, like a virtuous monument, she lies,
To be admired of lewd, unhallow'd eyes.

Without the bed her other fair hand was,
On the green coverlet; whose perfect white
Show'd like an April daisy on the grass.
With pearly sweat, resembling dew of night.
Her eyes, like marigolds, had sheathed their light;

And, canopied in darkness, sweetly lay,
Till they might open to adorn the day.

Her hair, like golden threads, play'd with her breath;

O, modest wantons! wanton modesty !
Showing life's triumph in the map of death,
And death's dim look in life's mortality:
Each in her sleep themselves so beautify,

As if between them twain there were no strife,
But that life lived in death, and death in life.

Her breasts, like ivory globes circled with blue,
A pair of maiden worlds unconquered;
Save of their lord, no bearing yoke they knew,
And him by oath they truly honored..
These worlds in Tarquin new ambition bred;

Who, like a foul usurper, went about

From this fair throne to heave the owner out.

What could he see, but mightily he noted?
What did he note, but strongly he desired?
What he beheld, on that he firmly doted;
And in his will his wilful eye he tired.
With more than admiration he admired
Her azure veins, her alabaster skin,
Her coral lips, her snow-white, dimpled chin.

As the grim lion fawneth o'er his prey,
Sharp hunger by the conquest satisfied,

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