Showing posts with label Southampton. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Southampton. Show all posts

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Spencer Perceval

iLiKETRAiNS welcomed in 2007 with a spectacular nine and half minute release, reciting the story of the only successful assassination of a British Prime Minister, 'Spencer Perceval,' in 1812. 
The song is written from the perspective of murderer John Bellingham with the accompanying track, 'I am Murdered,' being sung from that of Spencer himself. 
Both tracks were produced by the band late 2006 in the first recording session for their debut album.

433. JOHN BELLINGHAM was indicted for the wilful murder of the Right-Honourable Spencer Perceval , and also stood charged upon the coroner's inquisition.


Ephraim Lee ,
Thomas Whittington ,
Thomas Juggins ,
William English ,
James Osborne ,
John Bellas ,
Daniel Hayward ,
John Kennington ,
Lee Waters ,
Charles Russell ,
James King ,
George Gaton .

The case was stated by Mr. Attorney General.

WILLIAM SMITH , ESQ. Q. You are a member in the present Commons House of Parliament -

A. Yes. On the 11th of this month (last Monday) I was going through the lobby towards the door of the House of Commons . As I was passing through the lobby, I stopped to speak to a gentleman whom I met with there; while in conversation with that gentleman I heard the report of a pistol, which appeared to have been fired close by the entrance of the door of the lobby.

Q. By that door, do you mean the door by which members coming from their residences get into the house 

- A. Yes, the first door of the lobby. This appeared to have been fired from that door; immediately upon hearing the report I turned my head towards the place from whence the noise appeared to have proceeded, and observed a tumult, and probably a dozen or more persons gathering about the spot, almost at the same instant a person rushed hastily from among the crowd, and several voices cried out shut the door, and let no one escape. The person who came from among the crowd came towards me, looking first one way and then another, and as I thought at the moment rather like one seeking for shelter, than as the person who had received the wound, but taking two or three steps towards me, as he approached he rather reeled by me, and almost instantly fell upon the floor, with his face downwards. Before he fell I heard a cry not very distinctly, what appeared to come from him, in which were the words, murder, or something very much like that. 

When he first fell I thought he might be slightly wounded, and expected to see him make an effort to rise, but gazing at him a few moments, I observed that he did not stir at all; I therefore immediately stooped down to raise him from the ground, requesting the assistance of a gentleman who stood close by me for that purpose. 

As soon as we had turned his face towards us, and not till then, I perceived it was Mr. Perceval. We then took him in our arms, the other gentleman on his left side, and I on his right. We carried him into the office of the speaker's secretary, and ourselves on a table there with Mr. Perceval between us also sitting on the table, resting in our at that time completely pale, the small quantity from each corner of its month, and as I then thought probably not more than two minutes had elapsed since the pistol had been fired there were not scarcely any signs of life remaining; his eyes were still open. but he did not appear to know me, nor take any notice of any person that came about him, nor had he uttered the least articulate sound from the moment that he fell. 

A few convulsive sobs, which lasted three or four minutes, together with scarcely a perceptible pulse, were the only signs of life remaining, and this continued but for a short time longer, and when I felt his wrist for the last time assisted by Mr. Lynn a surgeon, who had arrived, it appeared to me that he was totally dead; I remained in the same situation with the body till we carried it into the speaker's house. I am incapable of giving any account of whatever passed afterwards in the lobby respecting the detension or conduct of the prisoner at the bar.

Q. Had you afterwards any opportunity of seeing where Mr. Perceval was wounded - A. Mr. Perceval still remained on my arm when Mr. Lynn examined the wound; he came into the room, and examined the wound while we remained in the same posture. The body not having been moved at all; I saw the wound from which but little blood appeared to have issued.

Q. Where was the wound - A. The wound was very near the nipple of the left breast, a little above it and within it; the orifice appeared to me to be large for a pistol ball, and when Mr. Lynn probed it; it seemed clearly that the ball had slaunted downwards, but it appeared clearly that the ball had penetrated the cavity of the breast, for the probe did not touch it.

Q. Mr. Perceval, I believe, was a person of low stature -

A. Unquestionably.

Q. State the hour of the day that this happened - A. I recollect from various circumstances that it must have been between five o'clock, and a quarter after.

Q. I know you have been long a member of that place, is that about the time that Mr. Perceval, in his public situation, would come to the house - A. It is about the time that Mr. Perceval, in his public situation would come, and about that time he was constantly expected, and nearer to that time than any other.

Q. Was the gentleman that assisted of the name of Phillips -

A. I believe it was.

WILLIAM LYNN . Q. I believe you are a surgeon residing in Great George-street, Westminster -

A. I am.

Q. Were you sent for, and did you go to the House of Commons on Monday the 11th instant -

 A. I did.

Q. What time in the afternoon - 

A. About a quarter past five in the afternoon.

Q. What part of the House of Commons, or about it did you go to - 

A. I went through the lobby into the passage to the speaker's secretary's room.

Q. When you got there what did you see - 

A. I saw Mr. Perceval lay partly upon the table with his feet in two chairs one foot on each chair; I then saw some blood upon the white waistcoat and shirt; I turned it aside and saw an opening in the skin; I examined his pulse, he had no pulsation, and appeared quite dead.

Q. Did you probe the wound - 

A. I probed it, the probe passed three inches obliquely downwards and inwards, it being immediately over the heart, about the further rib: I had no doubt that the ball had passed into the heart, if not through it. It was a large pistol ball apparently.

Q. Could you from the appearance judge, sir, that that was the cause of his death - 

A. I have no doubt of that.


Q. You are a solicitor - 

A. I am.

Q. In the afternoon of Monday were you in the lobby of the House of Commons -

 A. I was.

Q. A little after five o'clock did you hear the report of a pistol - 

A. I did.

Q. From what part of the lobby did that report proceed from - 

A. From the entrance.

Q. What did you observe next after the report of the pistol - 

A. I saw a person coming forwards along the lobby from the entrance towards the House, staggering, and just before he came to the pillars next the door I saw him put his hand to his breast, or nigh his breast, he said, oh, faintly, and fell forwards on his face; I heard some people say, that is the man, and I saw a man pointing towards a bench by the side of the fire place, at the side of the lobby. I immediately at the same instant went to the bench, I saw the prisoner sitting on the bench in great agitation, I looked at both hands, and saw his left hand on the bench, and in his hand, or under his hand I saw the pistol, I immediately took the pistol in my hand and asked him what could have induced him to do such a thing, or act; he replied, want of redress of grievance, and refusal by government; it was to that effect, I do not say these were the exact words; I said, you have another pistol in your pocket; he replied, yes; I asked him if it was loaded; he said, yes; I saw some person take it from the left side of the prisoner's person about the coat or breeches.

Q. When you took hold of the first pistol which you found in his hand, or under his hand in what condition was it - 

A. It was warm, it had the appearance of having been recently discharged; I have the pistol here, this is it.

Q. Is it a large or a small bore to the pistol - 

A. I thought it was a very large bore. When he told me that the other pistol was loaded, I immediately put my hand into his right waistcoat pocket, and took out a pen-knife and a pencil, and a bunch of keys, and some money; at the same time I saw the pistol taken from him, and a bundle of papers.

Q. Was the prisoner detained in custody - 

A. He was.

Q. Was he examined shortly afterwards - 

A. Yes.

Q. Was he taken up stairs in order, with other witnesses to be examined before the magistrate - 

A. He was.

Q. Did you before the magistrate in the presence of the prisoner relate the facts which you have today related 

A. I did.

Q. When you had concluded your narrative did he make any observation up it 

- A. He did, he said as nigh as I can recollect, I wish to correct Mr. Burgess's statement in one part, but I believe he is perfectly correct in any other; instead of my hand, as Mr. Burgess has stated, being on or near the pistol, I think he took it from my hand, or out of my hand; I do not know whether he said from my hand or out of my hand.

Q. Did he make any other observation upon your evidence - 

A. He did not.

Mr. Alley. I take it for granted you have stated every thing that occurred - 

A. No, I cannot recollect every thing that he stated; I have recollected every thing of importance.

Q. He said he had been ill used, and when you asked him why he did it, that is the reason he gave you, mere want of redress of grievance on the part of government - 

A. Redress of grievance, and a refusal by government.

Q. That is all he said to you - 

A. No; he said, I will relate to you why I did it.

Q. And when you asked him why he did it that is the reason he gave you 

- A. That is nearly the reason.

Q. He did not state any personal resentment to Mr. Perceval 

- A. He did not.

Q. There were a great many persons in the lobby 

- A. Not a great many, not more than twenty.

Q. Do you mean at the time the pistol was fired 

- A. I do. I do not think there were twenty at the time the pistol was fired.

Q. There was an order given to shut the door of the lobby, had that order been given before or after your conversation 

- A. I will not pretend to say; I heard the order given.

Q. You say the man was very much agitated 

- A. Very much.

Q. Might not he have absconded after he had fired the pistol, before the door had been ordered to be shut 

- A. I will not say.

Mr. Gurney. How long did that agitation continue 

- A. He was extremely agitated the whole time I was with him, afterwards, up stairs, he appeared perfectly calm and collected.

Q. With respect to the possibility of escape from the firing of the pistol must the prisoner have been within the lobby or without 

- A. I don't know, I should suppose there is no doubt he was in the lobby, I have no doubt he was in the lobby in my own mind.

Q. I believe down three steps from the door of the lobby there is an officer stationed 

- A. Two steps from the lobby.

Q. And then four or five steps down there is an officer 

- A. There are persons belonging to the house stationed.

Q. At the bottom of these four steps there are two persons stationed, are there not 

- A. I generally see one, sometimes there are two, I generally see one.

Q. Could any person go out of the lobby without going close by that person 

- A. He must have gone within a yard of him or less.

Q. I believe you are a member of the House of Commons 

- A. I am.

Q. Were you in one of the committee rooms in the afternoon of Monday last the 11th inst. - 

A. About five o'clock on Monday last I went to the House with a petition, to let Mr. Perceval see it by his own desire, previous to that petition being presented to the House. Before five o'clock the House resolved itself into a committee of the whole House, to proceed further respecting the Order of Council. Mr. Perceval then not being come down to the House, I postponed, till his arrival, presenting that petition, and went up stairs into the committee room, close by the ballustrades which look down into the lobby, the door open towards that ballustrade, it was merely the same thing as to hearing, as to being in the lobby of the House. I heard the loud report of a pistol shot, and almost instantaneously the cry of close the door. I rushed down stairs, through the House into the lobby; the door facing of the ballustrade was open. The moment I came into the lobby, I saw a crowd collected about some individual whom I could not see, and to whom the attention of almost every person was directed, I mean the generality; a person near me, whom I should not know if I were to see him, immediately said, that is the man that fired the pistol, pointing to John Bellingham , who stands there, whose person I well knew, and whose name I was acquainted with; I flew towards him, he was then sitting with one or two others upon the bench, at the right hand side of the fire-place of the lobby, supposing your back turned towards that fire.

Q. Between the fire-place and the entrance door of the lobby - 

A. Just so. I seized him by the breast, I think, and as he lifted up his hand, it appeared to me that a pistol was in that hand, either cocked, or upon the half cock, it appeared to me cocked. The The first impression in my mind was, that it was to be used against himself. I saw the pistol in his hand grasped, I therefore kept down his arm with all my strength, and a person, whom I believe to be the last witness, Mr. Burgess, whom I then did not know, took that pistol from under his hand, his hand being so held that there was little or no resistance from him. I heard that person ask him whether he had another pistol, I heard his reply - that he had; I proceeded to search for it, there were then others searching him. I put my hand into his coat pocket, I think one of the inside pockets, I had my hand in several of his pockets, I pulled out a bundle of papers, tied together with red tape; the pressure was great at that moment, I found myself closely pressed at that time, I was fearful of losing these papers and of losing the prisoner. I held up the papers, and Mr. Hume, a member of the House of Commons, took the papers out of my hand, with my consent; it appeared to me at that time, as it were the prisoner was dragged from my hold, I have no doubt now but it was the effect of persons to secure him; at that time I thought it was to drag him out of the lobby. I fastened both my hands upon him, told him he could not escape, that I knew him well, and that I would not lose sight of him, he said he had submitted, as if it were not to use him ill, I believe he rather complained of my using his arm rather roughly, he said that he had submitted, that he was the person that fired the shot; some other questions were asked, but I cannot now distinctly speak to them, nor to the answers, but with the assistance of other she was dragged into the body of the house and placed at the bar, in the custody of the two messengers. I mentioned to him his name, which he admitted.

Q. From the body of the house he was taken to another place where he and you were examined - A. Yes.

Q. You were examined, and that examination took place in his presence - A. It did.

Q. After you had made your deposition did the prisoner make any remark upon it - 

A. Something to this effect: General Gascoyne is too correct for me to question what he has said. He must have been less agitated than I was; he complained of the violence to his arm.

Q. When you first laid hold of him did he appear to be in a state of agitation - 
A. He certainly appeared to be in a state of agitation, as any man, would be, guilty of a crime, in a perspiration.

Q. Did he appear to have recovered from that agitation after your deposition was over - 

A. Completely composed, as I had known him before this occurrence happened.

Q. You stated that you knew him, how lately before had you seen him - 

A. The precise day I cannot mention, I can recollect some time in April, I saw him and conversed with him at my own house at Liverpool.

Q. You represent Liverpool - 

A. I do. He left his name the day before, saying he would call on the morrow; and when he came, I sent word with my servant to let him in, he came by my appointment.

Q. Where do you live - 

A. No. 11, North Place, Gray's-inn-lane.

Q. Is that in the neighbourhood of Millman-street - A. Very near it.
Q. Do you know the prisoner at the bar - A. I do know him.
Q. How long have you known him - A. Ever since the 5th of last March.
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Q. What business do you follow - A. The profession of a taylor.

Q. Have you ever been employed in the way of your business by the prisoner - A. Only twice.

Q. When first - A. The first time that ever I saw Mr. Bellingham was on the 5th of March; he came into my shop as a chance customer.

Q. He came as a stranger - A. Yes, he gave me an order for a pair of pantaloons and a striped waistcoat. I made them and took them home myself, and he paid me for them.

Q. Where did you take them home to - A. No. 11, New Millman-street, in Guildford-street.

Q. Did you take them according to the directions that you received from the customer at the time of the order - A. Entirely so, he gave me the directions in my hand; he wrote his own address in my presence.

Q. You carried them home, and he paid you - A. Yes, he approved of them, and he paid me.

Q. Did you learn from him whether he kept the house, or was a lodger - A. I do not know.

Q. How soon after you carried home this first article did you see the prisoner again - A. The next time was about the 25th of April, the other was on the 5th of March. On the 25th of April I met him in Guildford-street, he informed me that he had a small job to do, and if I would step back with him he would give it me immediately.

Q. Did you go back with him to the same house that you took the former articles - 

A. I did. When I got to the house he asked me into the parlour, he then went up stairs and brought me a dark coloured coat, he gave me directions to make him an inside pocket on the left side, so as he could get at it conveniently, he wished to have it a particular depth, he accordingly gave me a bit of paper about the length of nine inches.

Q. He gave you a bit of paper about nine inches in length, did he bring that from up stairs, or from what other place did he produce it - A. He brought it all down stairs together; I saw him go up stairs and come down; he brought the coat and the pattern paper.

Q. How long had you waited from the time that he asked you to sit down and wait for his coming down stairs - A. I suppose about ten minutes.
Q. Did you execute that order - A. I did, he was very particular to have it home that evening.
Q. Did you carry it home yourself - A. Yes, I delivered it to the maid-servant, I met him about six days ago in Gray's Inn-lane.
COURT. Did any thing pass between you and the prisoner when you met him in Gray's Inn-lane - A. Yes, I bowed to him, and he informed me that in the course of a few days hence he should have something for me to do; I never saw him from that till this morning.
A. Can you recollect what day this was - A. It was about six days before I heard of the death of Mr. Perceval.
JOHN NORRIS . Q. I believe, sir, you have frequent occasions to attend in the gallery provided for strangers in the House of Commons - A. I have.
Q. Did you go down to the house for that purpose on Monday last - A. I did.
Q. In passing to the stair case of that gallery do you necessarily go through the outer door of the house - A. Certainly.
Q. About what time did you arrive at that spot - A. About five o'clock, or from five to ten minutes past five at the outside. I arrived at the door of the lobby.
Q. Did you observe any person who is now here standing near that door - A. I did, I observed the prisoner at the bar.
Q. Describe particularly where he stood - A. I observed him standing in the lobby, by the side of that part of the door that is generally closed.
Q. It is a double door, and the other part open for the members to go through into the lobby - A. Yes.
Q. There is one half closed and the other half opened - A. Yes, he stood at the lobby door, at that part which is generally closed.
Q. How near might that be to where a person must pass the avenue, who are members - A. Within an arms length. I observed him, as if watching for somebody that was coming; perhaps the impression is stronger on my mind now than it was then. I thought he appeared to be anxiously watching, and as my recollection serves me his right hand was within the breast of his coat in this way; I passed on to the stair case of the gallery.
Q. How soon after you had passed that door where the prisoner was that you described did you hear any noise - A. Almost as soon as I got on the top of the stairs that leads to the gallery for strangers there is a sort of an anti-lobby as you pass part of that gallery there, I had just got into the upper lobby.
Q. About twenty steps - A. Yes, about that. When I got up there I heard the report of a pistol, I immediately heard the general confusion, and somebody said Mr. Perceval was dead. Then I came down stairs.
Q. Are you certain that the prisoner was the person that you thus saw at that place - A. I am perfectly certain; I had frequently seen him before.
Q. Had you any private acquaintance with him - A. None; I had seen him in the gallery of the House of Commons, and about the passages of the House.
Q. That is the gallery if any person wishes to be present at the debates - A. It is.
JOHN VICKREY . Q. You are an officer of Bow-street - A. I am.
Q. Did you go to the lodgings of the prisoner - A. I received a paper, desiring me to go to No. 9, New Millmann-street, it was last Monday.
Q. Did you search his lodging - A. I did, I found in a drawer up stairs in a bed-room, a pair of pistol bags, in the same drawer I found a small powder-flask, this pistol key, it fits the pistol exactly, and a quantity of letters and papers; and I found a mould and some balls. This ball fits the pistol exactly, and it was made in this mould I have no doubt.
VINCENT GEORGE DOWLING . Q. Were you in the lobby of the House of Commons on Monday last - A. I was in the gallery when I heard the pistol
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discharged, I immediately rushed into the lobby.
Q. Did you there see the prisoner at the bar - A. I did; I took from his small clothes pocket, on the left hand side, this pistol.
Q. Did you keep it in your possession until it was examined to see whether it was loaded - A. I examined it myself almost immediately after I took the prisoner, it was loaded with powder and ball that is now in it. It was primed as well as loaded. This ball fits one pistol as well as the other.
Q. Are the pistols a pair - A. They are; they bear the same maker's name.
Q. Had you seen the prisoner ever before - A. Several times. I had seen him several times in galleries in the House of Commons, and the avenues leading to it.
Q. According to your best recollection about how long is it ago since you have seen him - A. About a week or six days back, from my seeing him last Monday.
Q. I apprehend you are frequently in the galleries during the debates - A. Frequently; on one occasion I sat immediately next to him, while the House was in debate; I sat next to him about half an hour; I cannot say the precise time; there was a sort of general conversation between him and myself, and some other person that was sitting near me.
JOHN ADDISON NEWMAN . Q. You are the keeper of Newgate - A. Yes.
Q. The prisoner was brought into your custody after he was apprehended on Monday last - A. He was. I have a coat I was desired to produce.
Q. Is that the coat that he wore at the time he came into your custody - A. I believe so; the prisoner has been wearing this coat till yesterday, I believe. It was delivered to me by Bowman, the man that came in with him.

GEORGE BOWMAN . Q. You are an assistant to Mr. Newman, are not you - A. I am employed occasionally.
Q. Then you are an assistant. Did you deliver any coat to Mr. Newman - A. I did.

Q. Did you see it delivered to him 
- A. I did not.

Q. Did you ever see that coat before 

- A. I saw it in a room adjoining the chapel, the present prisoner occupied that room.

Q. The prisoner has been confined in that room since Monday last - A. Yes.

Q. Have you been frequently in that room while the prisoner was there 

- A. I was there on Tuesday evening last between eight and nine o'clock, and I remained there until eight or nine o'clock the following evening.

Q. Do you know any thing of this coat which is now produced 

- A. I was in the room when the prisoner acknowledged this coat to be his coat; he said that in the scuffle at the lobby in the House of Commons the coat was torn, and that he wished to have it mended, it had been torn by some person endeavouring to take the papers from his pocket; he wished to have a taylor to mend the coat; there was a man in the chapel-yard in the room under the prisoner's room, that was a taylor, and the coat was lowered down to him by a string to the window to be mended.

Q. Is that the coat 

- A. It is the coat.

Q. to James Taylor . Look at that coat of the prisoner's, do you know the coat 

- A. Yes, sir, that is the same coat that I put the pocket in it, and this is the pocket I made in consequence of his pattern.

Q. to General Gascoyne. Do you know the Christian name of the late Mr. Perceval 

- A. His Christian name was Spencer.

COURT. Prisoner, the evidence being gone through on the part of the prosecution, now is the time for you to make any defence you have to offer or to produce any witnesses that you wish to be examined.

Prisoner. The documents and papers are necessary to my defence which were taken out of my pocket in the House of Commons, I beg to be indulged with them.

Mr. Attorney General. The papers must first be proved that they were taken from the prisoner, and when that is done they shall be returned.

JOSEPH HUME . Q. You are a member of the House of Commons 

- A. Yes.

Q. Did you observe any papers taken from the prisoner 

- A. Yes. They have been in my possession ever since. They are the whole, there is none kept back; I took them out of the hand of General Gascoyne . I saw him take them from the prisoner.
General Gascoyne. I delivered them into Mr. Hume's hand, and he had all.

(The papers handed to the prisoner.
Prisoner's Defence. I feel great personal obligations to the learned Attorney General for the objections that he made to the defence set up by my counsel on account of insanity, it is far more fortunate for me that such a plea as that should be unfounded, and at the same time I am under the same obligation to my learned counsels for their zeal in my defence in setting up the plea that I am insane by the desire of my friends, or that I have been insane. I am not apprised of a single instance in Russia where my insanity was made public except in one single instance, when the pressure of my sufferings had exposed me to that imputation.
Gentlemen, I beg pardon. This is the first time I ever was in public in this kind of way, and you I am sure will look at the substance of what I say more than the manner of my offering it.
Gentlemen, As to the lamentable catastrophe for which I am now on my trial before this court, if I am the man that I am supposed to be, to go and deliberately shoot Mr. Perceval without malice, I should consider myself a monster, and not fit to live in this world or the next. The learned Attorney General has candidly stated to you, that till this fatal time of this catastrophe, which I heartily regret, no man more so, not even one of the family of Mr. Perceval. I had no personal or premeditated malice towards that gentleman; the unfortunate lot had fallen upon him as the leading member of that administration which had repeatedly refused me any reparation for the unparalled injuries I had sustained in Russia for eight years with the cognizance and sanction of the minister of the country at the court of St. Petersburg.
Gentlemen, I must begin to explain the origin of
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this unhappy affair, which took place in 1804. I was a merchant at Liverpool, in that year I went to Russia on some mercantile business of importance to myself, and having finished that business I was about to take my departure from Archangel for England; at that time a ship called the Soleure was lost in the White Sea: she was chartered for England, and by the direction of her owners insured at Lloyd's coffee-house, but the underwriters at Lloyd's refused to pay the owners for their loss. In consequence of some circumstances connected with this refusal, and the loss of the ship, they cast their suspicions at me, at the same time I had no concern in it whatever, I was about leaving the place; they writ up to Lloyd's coffee-house who had given the communication; I was seized as I was passing the Russian frontier by order of the military governor of Archangel, and thrown into prison; I immediately aplied to the British consul at Archangel, and through him to the British Ambassador, Lord Granville Leveson Gower , then at the Russian court, stating my case. Lord Gower wrote to the military governor of Archangel, desiring that if I was not detained for any legal cause I might be liberated as a British subject, but the governor answered, that I was detained in prison for a legal cause, and that I had conducted myself in a very indecorous manner. From this time Lord Gower and the British Consul positively declined any further interference in the business, and I was detained in durance for near two years, in spite of all my endeavours to induce the British Minister to interfere with the Emperor of Russia for an investigation of my case. At length, however, after being banded from prison to prison, and from dungeon to dungeon, fed on bread and water, treated with the utmost cruelty, and frequently marched through the streets under a military guard with felons and criminals of the most atrocious description, even before the residence of the British Minister, who might view from his window, this degrading severity towards a British subject who had committed no crime to the disgrace and insult of the British nation. I was afterwards enabled to make my case known through the Procureur - it was investigated, and he obtained a judgment against the military governour, and the senate. Notwithstanding this decision I was immediately sent to another prison, and a demand was made on me for two thousand rubles, alledged to be due by me to a Russian merchant who was a bankrupt. I refused to pay this demand for a debt which I did not owe, and the Senate, finding me determined to resist the demand, I was declared a bankrupt, and continued in prison under the pretence I had made answer that I could not pay it, because all my property was in England. No such answer was ever given by me; under this pretence I was detained in prison.
Gentlemen - It is a custom in Russia, that if a foreigner is declared a bankrupt, three months are allowed for all his creditors in Russia to make their claims, and eighteen months more for creditors resident in other parts of the world; but notwithstanding that, the three months had elapsed and not a single claimant appeared, although the Senate sent forth their clerks to enquire of all strangers who arrived, whether they had any demands against me. Still I was detained in prison, and sent from gaol to gaol, and I was finally handed over to the College of Commerce; the two thousand rubles were still demanded of me, and Lord Gower refused to interfere in the business, and the Consul told me I must pay the money. I was not destitute of the means of payment, but I resisted the claim, on account of its gross injustice. When the Marquis of Douglas arrived in Russia I made my case known to him, and said I only wished it to be shewn that the money was justly due, and I would pay it. The Marquis of Douglas made a representation, and stated, that it was only desired that the justice of the claim should be shewn and the money should be paid; this application was ineffectual, and I was still required to pay the two thousand rubles, or even twenty rubles, to acknowledge, in some degree, the justice of the demand; but I was aware if I had done this, I should justify the conduct of the Senate, and the military Governour of Archangel, against whom I had obtained a legal decision, with an acknowledgement that I had been unjustly treated. The necessary consequence would be, that for my supposed contumacy in bringing a false charge against the Senate and Governor, I should be sent to Siberia, I persisted in refusing to comply with the claims.
Gentlemen, All this while my wife, a young woman of only twenty years of age, with an infant at her breast, remained at St. Petersburg, in expectation of my arrival, and at length, in the eighth month of her pregnancy, disappointed of her hopes, was obliged to set out, unprotected, on her voyage to England. At last, after a series of six years persesution in the manner I have described, and after the repeated refusal of Lord Gower and the British Consul to represent my case to the Emperor, a circumstance occurred which proved, in a more particular degree the peculiar negligence which I had experienced. A captain Gardiner, of a Hull ship, arrived at Archangel, he had a little squabble with the commander of a guard ship about a demand of a few rubles for pilotage, and yet this man's complaint was represented to the Emperor four times within a month by the British ambassador, while, for a series of six years unparalleled persecution I was not able to obtain any interference on my behalf. At length the Senate, quite tired out by these severities, in 1809 I received, at midnight, a discharge from my confinement, with a pass, and an order to quit the Russian dominions, which was in fact an acknowledgment of the justice of my cause. On my return in England I laid a statement of my grievances before the Marquis Wellesley, accompanied by authentic documents, and claiming some redress for the injuries I had sustained through the British minister in Russia, which injuries it was impossible I should have suffered, if they had not been sanctioned by that minister. The noble Marquis is now in Court, and could contradict my statement if false, but I represent the circumstances as they really were, and not as personally concerning myself but as involving the honour of the British Government, I was referred by the Marquis to the Privy Council, and from the Privy Council to the Treasury; and thus baffled from one party to another,
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I applied to Mr. Perceval, during the session 1811, but received for answer, from his secretary, that the time for presenting private petitions was gone by, and that Mr. Perceval could not encourage my hopes, that he would recommend my claims to the House of Commons. I next memorialized his Royal Highness the Prince Regent, with a statement of my sufferings.
(Here the prisoner read a petition to the Prince Regent.)
Foreign Office, January 31, 1810.
"SIR, I am directed by the Marquis Wellesley to transmit to you the papers which you sent to this office, accompanied with your letter of the 27th of last month; and I am to inform you, that his Majesty's Government is precluded from interfering in the support of your cause in some measure by the circumstances of the case itself, and entirely so at the present moment by the suspension of intercourse with the Court of St. Petersburgh."
Council Office, Whitehall, May 16, 1810.
"Mr. John Bellingham ,
SIR, I am directed by the Lords of the Council to acquaint you that their Lordships have taken into consideration your petition on the subject of your arrest in Russia, do not find that it is a matter in which their Lordship's can interfere.
I am, Sir, your most obedient humble servant, W. FAWKENER."
Whitehall, 20th March, 1812.
John Bellingham , Esq.
"SIR, I am directed by Mr. Secretary Ryder to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 17th instant, requesting permission on the part of his Majesty's Ministers to present your petition to the House of Commons, and in reply I am to acquaint you, that you should address your application to the Right Honourable the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
I am, Sir, your most obedient servant, J. BECKETT."
Some time afterwards I received an answer from Colonel M'Mahon, stating, that by some accident my petition was mislaid. I then wrote another petitition to his Royal Highness, and I understood it was referred to the Treasury, as appeared by a letter I received from Mr. Ryder at Whitehall. Gentlemen - under these circumstances I was plunged into ruin, and involved in debt; and the learned Attorney General has admitted there was not a spot on my character until this fatal catastrophe, which when I reflect on it I could burst into a flood of tears. I was totally refused any redress. Gentlemen, what would be your feelings - what would be your alternative; as the affair was national, and as his Majesty's Ministers recommended me backwards and forwards from one to another. I wrote another petition to his Royal Highness, but was informed by a letter from Mr. Ryder, that his Royal Highness had not been pleased to give any commands on the subject.
Gentlemen. - As my petition was of a pecuniary nature I was informed by General Gascoyne, that it was impossible to come into the house without the consent of one of his Majesty's Ministers, for which I thank General Gascoyne for his politeness in giving me that information, and as I was very well known in Liverpool, I could have got the signatures of the whole town. I began to flatter myself I should get redress, but instead of redress, his Majesty's Ministers, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer told me I was not to expect any thing. I was obliged to give notice about six week since to the magistrates at the public office Bow-street, in a letter stating my grievances, intreating their interference, by application to Government, and adding, that if all redress was refused me, I must be obliged to do myself justice by taking such steps as those must be responsible for who resisted all my applications.
(Here the prisoner read a letter to Mr. Read, of Bow-street.)
To their Worships the Police Magistrates of the Public Office, Bow-street.
"SIRS, I much regret it being my lot to apply to your Worships under most peculiar and novel circumstances, for the particulars of the case I refer you to the enclosed letter from Mr. Secretary Ryder, the notification from Mr. Perceval, and my petition Parliament, together with the printed papers herewith. The affair requires no further remark, than that I consider his Majesty's Government to have completely closed the door of justice, in declining to have or even permit my grievances to be brought before Parliament for redress, which privilege is the birth-right of every individual. The purport of the present, is, therefore once more to solicit his Majesty's Ministers, through your medium, to let what is right and proper be done in my instance, which is all I require. Should this reasonable request be finally denied, I shall then feel myself justified in executing justice myself, in which case I shall be ready to argue the merits of so reluctant a measure with his Majesty's Attorney General, wherever and whenever I may be called upon so to do; in the hopes of averting so abhorrent but compulsive an alternative,
I have the honour to be, Sirs, Your very humble and obedient Servant. JOHN BELLINGHAM ."
9, New Milman-street.
Whitehall, April 18, 1812.
"SIR, I am directed by Mr. Secretary Ryder to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 12th instant, requesting to be informed in what stage your claim on his Majesty's Government for criminal detention in Russia now is. In reply, I am to refer you to my several letters of the 18th of February, 9th and 20th of March, by which you have been already informed that your first petition to his Royal Highness the Prince Regent, praying for remuneration, had been refered to the Lords of the Council, that upon your second memorial, praying his Royal Highness to give orders that the subject should be brought before Parliament, his Royal Highness has not been pleased to signify any commands; and lastly, in answer to your application to Mr. Ryder, requesting permission on the part of his Majesty's Ministers to present your petition to the House of Commons, you were informed that your application should be addressed to the Right Honourable the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
I am, Sir, Your most obedient humble Servant, J. BECKITT."
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I received an answer from Mr. justice Read, saying that the office could not interfere. But I found that Mr. Read as was his duty had represented the circumstance to government, and on a subsequent application to the Treasury I was informed that I had nothing to expect, and that I was at liberty to take such steps as I thought fit.
Finding myself thus bereft of all hopes of redress, my affairs ruined by my long imprisonment in Russia through the fault of the British minister, my property all dispersed for want of my own attention, my family driven into tribulation and want, my wife and child claiming support, which I was unable to give them, myself involved in difficulties, and pressed on all sides by claims I could not answer; and that justice refused to me which is the duty of government to give, not as a matter of favour, but of right; and Mr. Perceval obstinately refusing to sanction my claims in Parliament; and I trust this fatal catastrophe will be warning to other ministers. If they had listened to my case this court would not have been engaged in this case, but Mr. Perceval obstinately refusing to sanction my claim in Parliament I was driven to despair, and under these agonizing feelings I was impelled to that desperate alternative which I unfortunately adopted. My arm was the instrument that shot Mr. Perceval, but, gentlemen, ought I not to be redressed; instead of that Mr. Ryder referred me to the Treasury, and after several weeks the Treasury sent me to the Secretary of State's office; Mr. Hill informed me that it would be useless to apply to government any more; Mr. Beckitt added, Mr. Perceval has been consulted, he would not let my petition come forward.
Gentlemen, A refusal of justice was the sole cause of this fatal catastrophe; his Majesty's ministers have now to reflect upon their conduct for what has happened. Lord Gower is now in court, I call on him to contradict, if he can, the statement I have made, and, gentlemen, if he does not, I hope you will then take my statement to be correct. Mr. Perceval has unfortunately fallen the victim of my desperate resolution. No man, I am sure, laments the calamitous event more than I do. If I had met Lord Gower he would have received the ball, and not Mr. Perceval. As to death, if it were to be suffered five hundred times, I should prefer it to the injuries and indignities which I have experienced in Russia, I should consider it as the wearied traveller does the inn which affords him an asylum for repose, but government, in the injustice they have done me, were infinitely more criminal than the wretch, who, for depriving the traveller of a few shillings on the highway, forfeits his life to the law. What is the comparison of this man's offence to government? or, gentlemen, what is my crime to the crime of government itself? It is no more than a mite to a mountain, unless it was proved that I had malice propense towards the unfortunate gentleman for whose death I am now upon my trial. I disclaim all personal or intentional malice against Mr. Perceval.
ANN BILLETT . Q. Where do you reside - A. At Ringwood, near Southampton.
Q. When did you arrive in London - A. Last night.
Q. What induced you to come to London - A. I thought I knew more of Mr. Bellingham than any other friend that would come forward. I have known him from his childhood.
Q. Where did he live latterly - A. In Liverpool.
Q. Do you know how long ago it is that he left Liverpool to come to London - A. I think that he came at Christmas.
Q. Does his wife and children now reside there - - A. Yes, they do.
Q. What situation of life has he been in - A. Something in the mercantile Liverpool business.
Q. Did you know his father - A. Yes, he died insane in Titchfield-street, Oxford-street; he died there in a state of insanity.
Mr. Attorney General. Do you know that of your own knowledge - A. Yes, and my knowing of it was a great inducement of bringing me to London, and within this last three or four years it is known to myself and Mr. Bellingham's friends that he has been in a state of perfect derangement with respect to this business he has been pursuing.
Q. Have you had an opportunity of seeing him in London lately - A. No, not lately; it is more than a twelvemonth ago that I saw him.
Q. At that time how was he - A. Deranged, when he spoke of this business.
Q. Do you know for what purpose he was in London at that time - A. Pursuing the same plan.
Q. Before that had you seen him at Liverpool - A. I saw him at Liverpool about a year and a half ago.
Q. In what state of mind was he at that time - A. He was in a deranged state when any thing of this was mentioned to him. I did not mention it to him because of the state of mind he was in.
Mr. Garrow. This purpose of being in London a year ago was for the purpose of pursuing the same object, what do you mean by pursuing the same object - A. That of going to government for redress of grievances.
Q. And to use your own words in you own opinion you considered he was in a state of perfect derangement - A. Yes, I do. He has been more than three years in a state of derangement, and since he has been in London he has been pursuing the same plan, and for a long time before that. When he was in Russia when he was pursuing the same object as soon as he returned home all his friends were well convinced that was the case.
Q. I think you spoke of him as a married man - A. Yes, he has a wife, she carries on the millenery business at Liverpool.
Q. I suppose that he some male friends - A. Yes.
Q. Do you know that he was engaged as a merchant - A. Yes.
Q. Do you know any of the persons that he was engaged in business with - A. No.
Q. Do not you know the name of any one person that he was in business with at Liverpool - A. No, not one. I was in the house with his family at Liverpool, I did not know any body that he was concerned in trade with. I was in the house more than a week. I would wish to mention one circumstance which strongly confirmed me in my opinion, and a strong mark of insanity. Two years ago last Christmas
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he had been telling me of his great schemes that he had pursued, he said that he had realized more than an hundred thousand pounds, with which he intended to buy an estate in the west of England, and to take a house in London; I asked him where the money was, he said he had not got the money, but it was the same as if he had; for that he had gained his cause in Russia, and our government must make it good to him; this he repeatedly said to me and his wife, but neither she nor I gave any credit to it; he then told Mrs. Bellingham and myself, to convince us of the truth of it, he would take us to the secretary of state's office; he did so, and we saw Mr. Smith the secretary. When Mr. Smith came to us, he told Mr. Bellingham that if he had not known that he had ladies with him, he would not have come at all Mr. Bellingham then told him the reason he had brought us, that it was to convince us that his claim was just, and that he should very soon have the money. Mr. Bellingham said - Sir, my friends say that I am out of my senses, is it your opinion, Mr. Smith, that I am so, Mr. Smith said, it is a very delicate question for me to answer, I only know you upon this business, and I can assure you, that you will never have what you are pursuing after, or something to that effect. We then took our leave of Mr. Smith, and when we got into the coach, he took-hold of his wife's hand, and said, now I hope my dear, you are well convinced all will happen well, and as I wished, and as he had informed us, to which we felt indignant, that he should have taken us to an office, and made us appear in the light he did.
Q. How long is this ago, pray ma'am - A. This was last Christmas two years.
Q. I think you stated that he has been in town from last Christmas - A. Yes.
Q. Has he been staying in London all that time - A. Yes.
Q. Has he been pursuing the same plan - A. I understood all along that he was here pursuing the same object at the public offices.
Q. And upon that object you always considered him in a perfect state of derangement - A. I did.
Q. Mr. Smith received you with politeness and attention - A. Yes he did.
Q. How long did you remain in town after that - A. Till the next midsummer.
Q. In the same family with the prisoner - A. No, I saw him frequent.
Q. Was he under any restraint at that time - A. Not at that time.
Q. Were you in habits of intimacy with his family - A. Yes.
Q. If he was coersed you must have known it - A. I think I must.
Q. If there had been any restraint do you think it would have happened without your knowing it - A. I do not know that it could.
Q. Where did he live when you were in London, at the time you went to the secretary's office - A. I think Theobald's road; his wife was in town then, she was on a visit with me.
Q. And he was living by himself at the time that all his friends' thought him in a state of perfect derangement - A. Yes.
Q. Can you state any period or month, or a week, or a single day, he was ever - A. No.
Q. At no period from his return from Russia - A. Not as I know of.
Q. Has he been left to act upon his own will as much as me, or of any body else - A. Yes. I believe he was.
Q. Did you ever communicate to the government that he was in a deranged state - A. No.
Q. After your visit to Mr. Smith, at the secretary of state's office he remained in town, and after that, either you nor his wife give any intimation to Mr. Smith that he was a deranged man, or to any of the officers of government - A. No.
Q. How long is it ago since you saw him - A. More than a twelve month ago.
Q. Did it consist with your knowledge that he carried fire arms about him - A. No.
Q. Did you ever know him confined for a single day - A. No.
MARY CLARK . Q. Where do you live - A. No. 7, Bagnio court, Newgate-street. I have known the prisoner since his return from Russia, I have known him several years, but I have known most of him since he returned from Russia, about two years and a half, I have been in company with him several times.

Q. Can you form any judgment respecting the state of his mind ever since he came from Russia 

- A. It is my opinion that he has been disordered in his mind. I have seen him six or seven times; the last time I saw him was last January; I saw him at No. 20, North-street, Red Lion-Square, I did not see any particular derangement then, I had but very little conversation with him then, he said he came upon business, he might not stay above ten days or a week, I did not see him above ten minutes at that time.

Mr. Attorney General. He came up from Liverpool to London he came up alone 

- A. Yes, he left his wife, and he came up alone, to the best of my knowledge, he told me that he was come on business.

Q. He transacted business for himself then, did not he 

- A. I did not know any thing about his business.

Q. You do not know any body that transacted business for him do you 

- A. No, I heard that he was confined in Russia.

Q. For all that he was suffered to go about here in this country 

- A. I do not know of any control over him.

Q. Or do you know of any medical person being consulted about him 

- A. No, I do not know.

Q. You do not know of any precautions that were taken to prevent him from squandering his property, in this state of derangement, do you 

- A. I do not.

Q. You do not know of any course pursued to him by his friends, that would not be pursued to any rational man - A. I do not.

CATHERINE FIGGINS . I am Mrs. Roberts's servant.

Q. Why is not Mrs. Roberts here, she was served with a subpoena 

- A. My mistress is unwell, she lives at No. 9, New Millman-street.

Q. Was it in her house that the prisoner lodged 

- A. Yes, he lodged there four months, to the 2d of this present month.

Q. Do you recollect the day he was taken in custody - A. Last Monday.

Q. On the day before, on Sunday, did you make any observations on the conduct of the prisoner - A. I did rather, I thought he seemed confused, and was so for some time.

Q. Had you made that observation for some time before - A. I had.

Q. On the day before he was taken, tell me whether any thing particular occurred in the house 

- A. No.

Q. Were you at home on that day - A. I was out in the evening about two hours and a half.

Q. On the Monday, before you went out, had you noticed any thing particular 

- A. I noticed a word and his actions, I thought he was not so well as he had been for some time past.

Mr. Garrow. How long had you lived with Mrs. Roberts - A. Only two months.

Q. Why he had been there four months, had not he - A. Yes. My sister lived there before me.

Q. Mr. Bellingham was respected by the family, I believe - A. Yes, I believe they respected him very much.

Q. Did he dine at home - A. Very seldom, he dined once with the family.

Q. What hours did he use to keep - A. Very regular hours, a remarkable regular man.

Q. What place of worship did he go to - A. He went with Mrs. Roberts and her little boy in the morning.

Q. They went to the Foundling did not they 

- A. Yes.

Q. That was the last Sunday of all 

- A. Yes.

Q. Did he dine at home that day 

- A. Yes, he dined alone, and I think it was too late for them to go to the Magdalen, my mistress and Mr. Bellingham went to the Foundling in the evening, the service of the Foundling is over in the evening between eight and nine.

Q. He went to bed as usual 

- A. Yes.

Q. What time did he go out the next day 

- A. The first time about twelve o'clock, he came home to accompany my mistress and her little boy to the European museum about one, and they went off altogether.

Q. Had they a coach 

- A. No, they walked, my mistress and her little boy came home about a quarter after five.

Q. Then they came home without Mr. Bellingham 

- A. Yes.

Q. Were his pistols usually in the bags or loose - A. I never knew that he had pistols.

Q. Though you had attended him in his room for two months, you did not know that he had pistols, did you use to brush his clothes - A. No.

Q. What was the taylor's name that brought home a coat that had a little job done to it - A. I never knew his name; I remember a man bringing home a coat.

Q. How long before the last Sunday was it that the taylor brought home a coat that there had been a little job done to it - A. That is three weeks or a month ago.

Q. Did he pay the washer woman's bill on the Monday - A. Yes, there was a dispute what was to be paid for washing a dressing gown; he settled the bill before he went out that morning; he breakfasted at home.

Q. Are you sure that you never saw either of these pistols - A. Yes.

Q. Nor noticed the bag for pistols - A. No, I never noticed any thing of the kind.

Q. Did you ever know of any surgeon or apothecary attending him 

- A. No.

Mr. Alley, counsel for the prisoner, directed the door-keeper to call at the door for the purpose of ascertaining whether any witnesses had arrived from Liverpool; shortly after, Mr. Sheriff Heygate announced to the bench that he had been informed two persons had, within the few last minutes, arrived from Liverpool in a post chaise and four, to give evidence in favour of the prisoner, these persons being admitted into court, looked at the prisoner, but declared he was not the person they supposed him to be; they mentioned the circumstance of their having heard of the apprehension of the prisoner, and knowing something of a person bearing his description, in whose conduct they had seen frequent marks of derangement.

Lord Chief Justice Mansfield. Gentlemen of the jury, you are now to try an indictment which charges the prisoner at the bar with the wilful murder (here the learned judge was so hurt by his feelings, that he could not proceed for several seconds) of Mr. Spencer Perceval, (in a faint voice) who was murdered with a pistol loaded with a bullet; when he mentioned the name of (here again his lordship was sincerely affected, and burst into tears, in which he was joined by the greatest portion of the persons in court) a man so dear, and so revered as that of Mr. Spencer Perceval, I find it difficult to suppress my feelings. 

As, however, to say any thing of the distinguished talents and virtues of that excellent man, might tend to excite improper emotions in the minds of the jury, but would with-hold these feelings which pressed for utterance from my heart, and leave you, gentlemen, to form your judgment upon the evidence which has been adduced in support of the case, undressed by any unfair indignation which you might feel against his murderer, by any description, however faint, of the excellent qualities of the deceased. 

Gentlemen, you are to try the unfortunate man at the bar, in the same manner, as if he was arraigned for the murder of any other man. The law protected all his Majesty's subjects alike, and the crime was the same whether committed upon the person of the highest and most distinguished character in the country, as upon that of the lowest. The only question you have to try, is, whether the prisoner did wilfully and maliciously murder Mr. Spencer Perceval or not. It is not necessary to go very minutely into the evidence which has been produced to the fact, as there is little doubt as to the main object of your enquiry. 

The first thing you have to say is, whether the person charged with having murdered him; and whether that murder had been committed with a pistol bullet. 

The learned judge then proceeded to read the testimony given by the several witnesses examined. That of Mr. Smith, surgeon Lynn, and Mr. Burgess, clearly substantiated the fact, that the deceased had died in consequence of a pistol shot which had been discharged into his breast, and that the hand of the prisoner was the hand which had discharged that weapon. 

With respect to the deliberation that had been proved by other witnesses, and from what I could collect from the prisoner's defence, it seems to amount to a conclusion, that he conceived himself justified in what he had done, by his Majesty's government having refused to redress some supposed grievances. 

Such dreadful reasoning could not be too strongly reprobated. 

If a man fancied he was right, and in consequence conceived that that fancy was not gratified, he had a right to obtain justice by any means which his physical strength gave him, there is no knowing where so pernicious a doctrine might end. 

If a man fancies he has a right, and endeavours to assert that right, is he to put to death the persons who refuses to give him any reparation to that which he supposes himself entitled. 

By the same reason every person who presided in a court of judicature refusing to give to a suitor in an action, what he requires, would be liable to revenge equally atrocious. In another part of the prisoner's defence, which was not, however, urged by himself, it was attempted to be proved, that at the time of the commission of the crime he was insane. With respect to this the law was extremely clear, if a man was deprived of all power of reasoning, so as not to be able to distinguish whether it was right or wrong to commit the most wicked, or the most innocent transaction, he could not certainly commit an act against the law; such a man, so destitute of all power of judgment, could have no intention at all. In order to support this defence, it ought to be proved by the most distinct and unquestionable evidence, that the criminal was incapable of judging between right or wrong. There was no other proof of insanity which would excuse murder, or any other crime. There are various species of insanity. 

Some human creatures are void of all power of reasoning from their birth, such could not be guilty of any crime. 

These is another species of madness in which persons were subject to temporary paroxysms, in which they were guilty of acts of extravagance, this was called lunacy, if these persons committed a crime when they were not affected with the malady, they were to all intents and purposes ameniable to justice: so long as they can distinguish good from evil, so long are they answerable for their conduct. 

There is a third species of insanity, in which the patient fancied the existence of injury, and sought an opportunity of gratifying revenge, by some hostile act; if such a person was capable, in other respects, of distinguishing right from wrong, there is no excuse for any act of atrocity which he might commit under this description of derangement. 

The witnesses who had been called to support this extraordinary defence, had given a very singular account, to shew that at the, commission of the crime the prisoner was insane. What might have been the state of his mind some time ago, was perfectly immaterial. 

The single question is, whether at the time this fact was committed, he possessed a sufficient degree of understanding to distinguish good from evil, right from wrong, and whether murder was a crime not only against the law of God, but against the law of his country. 

Here it appears that the prisoner had gone out like another man; that he came up to London by himself, at Christmas last, that he was under no restraint, that no medical man had attended him to cure his malady, that he was perfectly regular in all his habits, in short there was no proof adduced to shew that his understanding was so deranged, as not to enable him to know that murder was a crime. 

On the contrary, the testimony adduced in his defence, has most distinctly proved, from a description of his general demeanour, that he was in every respect a full and competent judge of all his actions. Having then commented on the evidence of Mrs. Clarke, Mrs. Billett, and Mary Figgins , his Lordship concluded by advising the jury to take all the facts into their most serious consideration. 

If you have any doubt, you will give the prisoner the benefit of that doubt; but if you conceive him guilty of the crime alledged against him, in that case you will find him guilty.

The jury, after a consultation of two minutes and a half in the box, expressed a wish to retire; and an officer of the court, being sworn, accompanied them to the jury-room. As they passed out, the prisoner regarded them separately with a look of mingled confidence and complacency. They were absent fourteen minutes; and on their return into court, their countenances acting as indices to their minds, at once unfolded the determination for which they had come. The prisoner again directed his attention to them in the same manner as before.

The names being called over, and the verdict being asked for in the usual form, the foreman announced the fatal decission of - GUILTY upon the indictment for MURDER, and upon the Coroner's Inquisition.

Mr. Shelton. Q. (to Prisoner.) John Bellingham , you stand convicted of the wilful murder of the Right Honourable Spencer Perceval; what have you to say why the court should not give you judgment to die according to law.

To this interrogatory the prisoner made no reply.
The Recorder passed sentence in a most solemn and affecting manner, which was as follows: -

"Prisoner at the bar! you have been convicted by a most attentive and a most merciful jury, of one of the most malicious and atrocious crimes it is in the power of human nature to perpetrate - that of wilful and premeditated murder! A crime which in all ages and in all nations has been held in the deepest detestation - a: crime as odious and abominable in the eyes of God, as it is hateful and abhorrent to the feelings of man. A crime which, although thus heinous in itself, in your case has been heightened by every possible feature of aggravation. You have shed the blood of a man admired for every virtue which can adorn public or private life - a man, whose suavity and meekness of manner was calculated to disarm all political rancour, and to deprive violence of its asperity. 

By his death, charity has lost one of its greatest promoters; religion, one of its firmest supporters; domestic society, one of its happiest and sweetest examples; and the country, one of its brightest ornaments - a man, whose ability and worth was likely to produce lasting advantages to this empire, and ultimate benefit to the world. Your crime has this additional feature of atrocious guilt, that in the midst of civil society, unarmed, defenceless, in the fulfilment of his public duty, and within the very verge of the sanctuary of the law, your impure hand has deprived of existence a man as universally beloved, as preeminent for his talents and excellence of heart. To indulge in any conjecture as to the motive which could have led you to the commission of this atrocious deeds, would be to enquire into all that is base and perfidious in the human heart. - Assassination is most horrid and revolting to the soul of man, inasmuch as it is calculated to render bravery useless and cowardice successful. It is therefore that the voice of God himself has declared,

"that he that sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed." 

In conformity to these laws, which God hath ordained, and men have obeyed, your disgraced and indignant country, by the example of your ignominious fate, will appreciate the horror of your offence, and set up a warning to all others who might hereafter be tempted to the perpetration of a crime of so deep a dye. A short time, a very short time, remains for you to supplicate for that mercy in another world, which public justice forbids you to expect in this. Sincerely do I hope that the short interval that; has elapsed since the commission of this atrocious offence has not been unemployed by you in soliciting that pardon from the Almighty which I trust your prayers may obtain, through the merits of your Redeemer, whose first attribute is mercy. It only now remains for me to pass the dreadful sentence of the law, which is -

"That you be taken from hence to the place from whence you came, and from thence to a place of execution, where you shall be hanged by the neck until you be dead; your body to be dissected and anatomized ."

Tried by the Third Middlesex jury, before Sir James Mansfield .

Saturday, 10 December 2016

The Rape of Lucrece

"But I hope Truth is subject to no prescription, for Truth is Truth though never so old, and time cannot make that false which was once True." 

Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford
Private Letter to Lord Salisbury, Sir Robert Cecil
May 7, 1603

Earl of Southampton, and Baron of Tichfield.

The love I dedicate to your lordship is without end; whereof this pamphlet, without beginning, is but a superfluous moiety. The warrant I have of your honourable disposition, not the worth of my untutored lines, makes it assured of acceptance. What I have done is yours; what I have to do is yours; being part in all I have, devoted yours. Were my worth greater, my duty would show greater; meantime, as it is, it is bound to your lordship, to whom I wish long life, still lengthened with all happiness.

Your lordship's in all duty,


The Rape of Lucrece

The Argument

Lucius Tarquinius, for his excessive pride surnamed Superbus, after he had caused his own father-in-law Servius Tullius to be cruelly murdered, and, contrary to the Roman laws and customs, not requiring or staying for the people's suffrages, had possessed himself of the kingdom, went, accompanied with his sons and other noblemen of Rome, to besiege Ardea. During which siege the principal men of the army meeting one evening at the tent of Sextus Tarquinius, the king's son, in their discourses after supper every one commended the virtues of his own wife: among whom Collatinus extolled the incomparable chastity of his wife Lucretia. In that pleasant humour they posted to Rome; and intending, by their secret and sudden arrival, to make trial of that which every one had before avouched, only Collatinus finds his wife, though it were late in the night, spinning amongst her maids: the other ladies were all found dancing and revelling, or in several disports. Whereupon the noblemen yielded Collatinus the victory, and his wife the fame. At that time Sextus Tarquinius being inflamed with Lucrece' beauty, yet smothering his passions for the present, departed with the rest back to the camp; from whence he shortly after privily withdrew himself, and was, according to his estate, royally entertained and lodged by Lucrece at Collatium. The same night he treacherously stealeth into her chamber, violently ravished her, and early in the morning speedeth away. Lucrece, in this lamentable plight, hastily dispatcheth messengers, one to Rome for her father, another to the camp for Collatine. They came, the one accompanied with Junius Brutus, the other with Publius Valerius; and finding Lucrece attired in mourning habit, demanded the cause of her sorrow. She, first taking an oath of them for her revenge, revealed the actor, and whole manner of his dealing, and withal suddenly stabbed herself. Which done, with one consent they all vowed to root out the whole hated family of the Tarquins; and bearing the dead body to Rome, Brutus acquainted the people with the doer and manner of the vile deed, with a bitter invective against the tyranny of the king: wherewith the people were so moved, that with one consent and a general acclamation the Tarquins were all exiled, and the state government changed from kings to consuls.
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,
In their pure ranks his traitor eye encloses;
Where, lest between them both it should be kill'd,
The coward captive vanquished doth yield
To those two armies that would let him go,
Rather than triumph in so false a foe.
Now thinks he that her husband's shallow tongue,--
The niggard prodigal that praised her so,--
In that high task hath done her beauty wrong,
Which far exceeds his barren skill to show:
Therefore that praise which Collatine doth owe
Enchanted Tarquin answers with surmise,
In silent wonder of still-gazing eyes.
This earthly saint, adored by this devil,
Little suspecteth the false worshipper;
For unstain'd thoughts do seldom dream on evil;
Birds never limed no secret bushes fear:
So guiltless she securely gives good cheer
And reverend welcome to her princely guest,
Whose inward ill no outward harm express'd:
For that he colour'd with his high estate,
Hiding base sin in plaits of majesty;
That nothing in him seem'd inordinate,
Save something too much wonder of his eye,
Which, having all, all could not satisfy;
But, poorly rich, so wanteth in his store,
That, cloy'd with much, he pineth still for more.
But she, that never coped with stranger eyes,
Could pick no meaning from their parling looks,
Nor read the subtle-shining secrecies
Writ in the glassy margents of such books:
She touch'd no unknown baits, nor fear'd no hooks;
Nor could she moralize his wanton sight,
More than his eyes were open'd to the light.
He stories to her ears her husband's fame,
Won in the fields of fruitful Italy;
And decks with praises Collatine's high name,
Made glorious by his manly chivalry
With bruised arms and wreaths of victory:
Her joy with heaved-up hand she doth express,
And, wordless, so greets heaven for his success.
Far from the purpose of his coming hither,
He makes excuses for his being there:
No cloudy show of stormy blustering weather
Doth yet in his fair welkin once appear;
Till sable Night, mother of Dread and Fear,
Upon the world dim darkness doth display,
And in her vaulty prison stows the Day.
For then is Tarquin brought unto his bed,
Intending weariness with heavy spright;
For, after supper, long he questioned
With modest Lucrece, and wore out the night:
Now leaden slumber with life's strength doth fight;
And every one to rest themselves betake,
Save thieves, and cares, and troubled minds, that wake.
As one of which doth Tarquin lie revolving
The sundry dangers of his will's obtaining;
Yet ever to obtain his will resolving,
Though weak-built hopes persuade him to abstaining:
Despair to gain doth traffic oft for gaining;
And when great treasure is the meed proposed,
Though death be adjunct, there's no death supposed.
Those that much covet are with gain so fond,
For what they have not, that which they possess
They scatter and unloose it from their bond,
And so, by hoping more, they have but less;
Or, gaining more, the profit of excess
Is but to surfeit, and such griefs sustain,
That they prove bankrupt in this poor-rich gain.
The aim of all is but to nurse the life
With honour, wealth, and ease, in waning age;
And in this aim there is such thwarting strife,
That one for all, or all for one we gage;
As life for honour in fell battle's rage;
Honour for wealth; and oft that wealth doth cost
The death of all, and all together lost.
So that in venturing ill we leave to be
The things we are for that which we expect;
And this ambitious foul infirmity,
In having much, torments us with defect
Of that we have: so then we do neglect
The thing we have; and, all for want of wit,
Make something nothing by augmenting it.
Such hazard now must doting Tarquin make,
Pawning his honour to obtain his lust;
And for himself himself be must forsake:
Then where is truth, if there be no self-trust?
When shall he think to find a stranger just,
When he himself himself confounds, betrays
To slanderous tongues and wretched hateful days?
Now stole upon the time the dead of night,
When heavy sleep had closed up mortal eyes:
No comfortable star did lend his light,
No noise but owls' and wolves' death-boding cries;
Now serves the season that they may surprise
The silly lambs: pure thoughts are dead and still,
While lust and murder wake to stain and kill.
And now this lustful lord leap'd from his bed,
Throwing his mantle rudely o'er his arm;
Is madly toss'd between desire and dread;
Th' one sweetly flatters, th' other feareth harm;
But honest fear, bewitch'd with lust's foul charm,
Doth too too oft betake him to retire,
Beaten away by brain-sick rude desire.
His falchion on a flint he softly smiteth,
That from the cold stone sparks of fire do fly;
Whereat a waxen torch forthwith he lighteth,
Which must be lode-star to his lustful eye;
And to the flame thus speaks advisedly,
'As from this cold flint I enforced this fire,
So Lucrece must I force to my desire.'
Here pale with fear he doth premeditate
The dangers of his loathsome enterprise,
And in his inward mind he doth debate
What following sorrow may on this arise:
Then looking scornfully, he doth despise
His naked armour of still-slaughter'd lust,
And justly thus controls his thoughts unjust:
'Fair torch, burn out thy light, and lend it not
To darken her whose light excelleth thine:
And die, unhallow'd thoughts, before you blot
With your uncleanness that which is divine;
Offer pure incense to so pure a shrine:
Let fair humanity abhor the deed
That spots and stains love's modest snow-white weed.
'O shame to knighthood and to shining arms!
O foul dishonour to my household's grave!
O impious act, including all foul harms!
A martial man to be soft fancy's slave!
True valour still a true respect should have;
Then my digression is so vile, so base,
That it will live engraven in my face.
'Yea, though I die, the scandal will survive,
And be an eye-sore in my golden coat;
Some loathsome dash the herald will contrive,
To cipher me how fondly I did dote;
That my posterity, shamed with the note
Shall curse my bones, and hold it for no sin
To wish that I their father had not bin.
'What win I, if I gain the thing I seek?
A dream, a breath, a froth of fleeting joy.
Who buys a minute's mirth to wail a week?
Or sells eternity to get a toy?
For one sweet grape who will the vine destroy?
Or what fond beggar, but to touch the crown,
Would with the sceptre straight be strucken down?
'If Collatinus dream of my intent,
Will he not wake, and in a desperate rage
Post hither, this vile purpose to prevent?
This siege that hath engirt his marriage,
This blur to youth, this sorrow to the sage,
This dying virtue, this surviving shame,
Whose crime will bear an ever-during blame?
'O, what excuse can my invention make,
When thou shalt charge me with so black a deed?
Will not my tongue be mute, my frail joints shake,
Mine eyes forego their light, my false heart bleed?
The guilt being great, the fear doth still exceed;
And extreme fear can neither fight nor fly,
But coward-like with trembling terror die.
'Had Collatinus kill'd my son or sire,
Or lain in ambush to betray my life,
Or were he not my dear friend, this desire
Might have excuse to work upon his wife,
As in revenge or quittal of such strife:
But as he is my kinsman, my dear friend,
The shame and fault finds no excuse nor end.
'Shameful it is; ay, if the fact be known:
Hateful it is; there is no hate in loving:
I'll beg her love; but she is own:
The worst is but denial and reproving:
My will is strong, past reason's weak removing.
Who fears a sentence or an old man's saw
Shall by a painted cloth be kept in awe.'
Thus, graceless, holds he disputation
'Tween frozen conscience and hot-burning will,
And with good thoughts make dispensation,
Urging the worser sense for vantage still;
Which in a moment doth confound and kill
All pure effects, and doth so far proceed,
That what is vile shows like a virtuous deed.
Quoth he, 'She took me kindly by the hand,
And gazed for tidings in my eager eyes,
Fearing some hard news from the warlike band,
Where her beloved Collatinus lies.
O, how her fear did make her colour rise!
First red as roses that on lawn we lay,
Then white as lawn, the roses took away.
'And how her hand, in my hand being lock'd
Forced it to tremble with her loyal fear!
Which struck her sad, and then it faster rock'd,
Until her husband's welfare she did hear;
Whereat she smiled with so sweet a cheer,
That had Narcissus seen her as she stood,
Self-love had never drown'd him in the flood.
'Why hunt I then for colour or excuses?
All orators are dumb when beauty pleadeth;
Poor wretches have remorse in poor abuses;
Love thrives not in the heart that shadows dreadeth:
Affection is my captain, and he leadeth;
And when his gaudy banner is display'd,
The coward fights and will not be dismay'd.
'Then, childish fear, avaunt! debating, die!
Respect and reason, wait on wrinkled age!
My heart shall never countermand mine eye:
Sad pause and deep regard beseem the sage;
My part is youth, and beats these from the stage:
Desire my pilot is, beauty my prize;
Then who fears sinking where such treasure lies?'
As corn o'ergrown by weeds, so heedful fear
Is almost choked by unresisted lust.
Away he steals with open listening ear,
Full of foul hope and full of fond mistrust;
Both which, as servitors to the unjust,
So cross him with their opposite persuasion,
That now he vows a league, and now invasion.
Within his thought her heavenly image sits,
And in the self-same seat sits Collatine:
That eye which looks on her confounds his wits;
That eye which him beholds, as more divine,
Unto a view so false will not incline;
But with a pure appeal seeks to the heart,
Which once corrupted takes the worser part;
And therein heartens up his servile powers,
Who, flatter'd by their leader's jocund show,
Stuff up his lust, as minutes fill up hours;
And as their captain, so their pride doth grow,
Paying more slavish tribute than they owe.
By reprobate desire thus madly led,
The Roman lord marcheth to Lucrece' bed.
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 there;
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 conduct 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 where it lies,
And griping it, the needle his finger pricks;
As who should say 'This glove to wanton tricks
Is not inured; return again in haste;
Thou see'st our mistress' ornaments are chaste.'
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 slay his course doth let,
Till every minute pays the hour his debt.
'So, so,' quoth he, '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 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 be 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 th' eternal power
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 deflower:
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 watch-word to his hand full soon
To draw the cloud that hides the silver moon.
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 supposed;
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 honoured.
These worlds in Tarquin new ambition bred;
Who, like a foul ursurper, 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,
So o'er this sleeping soul doth Tarquin stay,
His rage of lust by gazing qualified;
Slack'd, not suppress'd; for standing by her side,
His eye, which late this mutiny restrains,
Unto a greater uproar tempts his veins:
And they, like straggling slaves for pillage fighting,
Obdurate vassals fell exploits effecting,
In bloody death and ravishment delighting,
Nor children's tears nor mothers' groans respecting,
Swell in their pride, the onset still expecting:
Anon his beating heart, alarum striking,
Gives the hot charge and bids them do their liking.
His drumming heart cheers up his burning eye,
His eye commends the leading to his hand;
His hand, as proud of such a dignity,
Smoking with pride, march'd on to make his stand
On her bare breast, the heart of all her land;
Whose ranks of blue veins, as his hand did scale,
Left there round turrets destitute and pale.
They, mustering to the quiet cabinet
Where their dear governess and lady lies,
Do tell her she is dreadfully beset,
And fright her with confusion of their cries:
She, much amazed, breaks ope her lock'd-up eyes,
Who, peeping forth this tumult to behold,
Are by his flaming torch dimm'd and controll'd.
Imagine her as one in dead of night
From forth dull sleep by dreadful fancy waking,
That thinks she hath beheld some ghastly sprite,
Whose grim aspect sets every joint a-shaking;
What terror or 'tis! but she, in worser taking,
From sleep disturbed, heedfully doth view
The sight which makes supposed terror true.
Wrapp'd and confounded in a thousand fears,
Like to a new-kill'd bird she trembling lies;
She dares not look; yet, winking, there appears
Quick-shifting antics, ugly in her eyes:
Such shadows are the weak brain's forgeries;
Who, angry that the eyes fly from their lights,
In darkness daunts them with more dreadful sights.
His hand, that yet remains upon her breast,--
Rude ram, to batter such an ivory wall!--
May feel her heart-poor citizen!--distress'd,
Wounding itself to death, rise up and fall,
Beating her bulk, that his hand shakes withal.
This moves in him more rage and lesser pity,
To make the breach and enter this sweet city.
First, like a trumpet, doth his tongue begin
To sound a parley to his heartless foe;
Who o'er the white sheet peers her whiter chin,
The reason of this rash alarm to know,
Which he by dumb demeanor seeks to show;
But she with vehement prayers urgeth still
Under what colour he commits this ill.
Thus he replies: 'The colour in thy face,
That even for anger makes the lily pale,
And the red rose blush at her own disgrace,
Shall plead for me and tell my loving tale:
Under that colour am I come to scale
Thy never-conquer'd fort: the fault is thine,
For those thine eyes betray thee unto mine.
'Thus I forestall thee, if thou mean to chide:
Thy beauty hath ensnared thee to this night,
Where thou with patience must my will abide;
My will that marks thee for my earth's delight,
Which I to conquer sought with all my might;
But as reproof and reason beat it dead,
By thy bright beauty was it newly bred.
'I see what crosses my attempt will bring;
I know what thorns the growing rose defends;
I think the honey guarded with a sting;
All this beforehand counsel comprehends:
But will is deaf and hears no heedful friends;
Only he hath an eye to gaze on beauty,
And dotes on what he looks, 'gainst law or duty.
'I have debated, even in my soul,
What wrong, what shame, what sorrow I shall breed;
But nothing can affection's course control,
Or stop the headlong fury of his speed.
I know repentant tears ensue the deed,
Reproach, disdain, and deadly enmity;
Yet strive I to embrace mine infamy.'
This said, he shakes aloft his Roman blade,
Which, like a falcon towering in the skies,
Coucheth the fowl below with his wings' shade,
Whose crooked beak threats if he mount he dies:
So under his insulting falchion lies
Harmless Lucretia, marking what he tells
With trembling fear, as fowl hear falcon's bells.
'Lucrece,' quoth he,'this night I must enjoy thee:
If thou deny, then force must work my way,
For in thy bed I purpose to destroy thee:
That done, some worthless slave of thine I'll slay,
To kill thine honour with thy life's decay;
And in thy dead arms do I mean to place him,
Swearing I slew him, seeing thee embrace him.
'So thy surviving husband shall remain
The scornful mark of every open eye;
Thy kinsmen hang their heads at this disdain,
Thy issue blurr'd with nameless bastardy:
And thou, the author of their obloquy,
Shalt have thy trespass cited up in rhymes,
And sung by children in succeeding times.
'But if thou yield, I rest thy secret friend:
The fault unknown is as a thought unacted;
A little harm done to a great good end
For lawful policy remains enacted.
The poisonous simple sometimes is compacted
In a pure compound; being so applied,
His venom in effect is purified.
'Then, for thy husband and thy children's sake,
Tender my suit: bequeath not to their lot
The shame that from them no device can take,
The blemish that will never be forgot;
Worse than a slavish wipe or birth-hour's blot:
For marks descried in men's nativity
Are nature's faults, not their own infamy.'
Here with a cockatrice' dead-killing eye
He rouseth up himself and makes a pause;
While she, the picture of pure piety,
Like a white hind under the gripe's sharp claws,
Pleads, in a wilderness where are no laws,
To the rough beast that knows no gentle right,
Nor aught obeys but his foul appetite.
But when a black-faced cloud the world doth threat,
In his dim mist the aspiring mountains hiding,
From earth's dark womb some gentle gust doth get,
Which blows these pitchy vapours from their bidding,
Hindering their present fall by this dividing;
So his unhallow'd haste her words delays,
And moody Pluto winks while Orpheus plays.
Yet, foul night-waking cat, he doth but dally,
While in his hold-fast foot the weak mouse panteth:
Her sad behavior feeds his vulture folly,
A swallowing gulf that even in plenty wanteth:
His ear her prayers admits, but his heart granteth
No penetrable entrance to her plaining:
Tears harden lust, though marble wear with raining.
Her pity-pleading eyes are sadly fix'd
In the remorseless wrinkles of his face;
Her modest eloquence with sighs is mix'd,
Which to her oratory adds more grace.
She puts the period often from his place;
And midst the sentence so her accent breaks,
That twice she doth begin ere once she speaks.
She conjures him by high almighty Jove,
By knighthood, gentry, and sweet friendship's oath,
By her untimely tears, her husband's love,
By holy human law, and common troth,
By heaven and earth, and all the power of both,
That to his borrow'd bed he make retire,
And stoop to honour, not to foul desire.
Quoth she, 'Reward not hospitality
With such black payment as thou hast pretended;
Mud not the fountain that gave drink to thee;
Mar not the thing that cannot be amended;
End thy ill aim before thy shoot be ended;
He is no woodman that doth bend his bow
To strike a poor unseasonable doe.
'My husband is thy friend; for his sake spare me:
Thyself art mighty; for thine own sake leave me:
Myself a weakling; do not then ensnare me:
Thou look'st not like deceit; do not deceive me.
My sighs, like whirlwinds, labour hence to heave thee:
If ever man were moved with woman moans,
Be moved with my tears, my sighs, my groans:
'All which together, like a troubled ocean,
Beat at thy rocky and wreck-threatening heart,
To soften it with their continual motion;
For stones dissolved to water do convert.
O, if no harder than a stone thou art,
Melt at my tears, and be compassionate!
Soft pity enters at an iron gate.
'In Tarquin's likeness I did entertain thee:
Hast thou put on his shape to do him shame?
To all the host of heaven I complain me,
Thou wrong'st his honour, wound'st his princely name.
Thou art not what thou seem'st; and if the same,
Thou seem'st not what thou art, a god, a king;
For kings like gods should govern everything.
'How will thy shame be seeded in thine age,
When thus thy vices bud before thy spring!
If in thy hope thou darest do such outrage,
What darest thou not when once thou art a king?
O, be remember'd, no outrageous thing
From vassal actors can be wiped away;
Then kings' misdeeds cannot be hid in clay.
'This deed will make thee only loved for fear;
But happy monarchs still are fear'd for love:
With foul offenders thou perforce must bear,
When they in thee the like offences prove:
If but for fear of this, thy will remove;
For princes are the glass, the school, the book,
Where subjects' eyes do learn, do read, do look.
'And wilt thou be the school where Lust shall learn?
Must he in thee read lectures of such shame?
Wilt thou be glass wherein it shall discern
Authority for sin, warrant for blame,
To privilege dishonour in thy name?
Thou black'st reproach against long-living laud,
And makest fair reputation but a bawd.
'Hast thou command? by him that gave it thee,
From a pure heart command thy rebel will:
Draw not thy sword to guard iniquity,
For it was lent thee all that brood to kill.
Thy princely office how canst thou fulfil,
When, pattern'd by thy fault, foul sin may say,
He learn'd to sin, and thou didst teach the way?
'Think but how vile a spectacle it were,
To view thy present trespass in another.
Men's faults do seldom to themselves appear;
Their own transgressions partially they smother:
This guilt would seem death-worthy in thy brother.
O, how are they wrapp'd in with infamies
That from their own misdeeds askance their eyes!
'To thee, to thee, my heaved-up hands appeal,
Not to seducing lust, thy rash relier:
I sue for exiled majesty's repeal;
Let him return, and flattering thoughts retire:
His true respect will prison false desire,
And wipe the dim mist from thy doting eyne,
That thou shalt see thy state and pity mine.'
'Have done,' quoth he: 'my uncontrolled tide
Turns not, but swells the higher by this let.
Small lights are soon blown out, huge fires abide,
And with the wind in greater fury fret:
The petty streams that pay a daily debt
To their salt sovereign, with their fresh falls' haste
Add to his flow, but alter not his taste.'
'Thou art,' quoth she, 'a sea, a sovereign king;
And, lo, there falls into thy boundless flood
Black lust, dishonour, shame, misgoverning,
Who seek to stain the ocean of thy blood.
If all these pretty ills shall change thy good,
Thy sea within a puddle's womb is hearsed,
And not the puddle in thy sea dispersed.
'So shall these slaves be king, and thou their slave;
Thou nobly base, they basely dignified;
Thou their fair life, and they thy fouler grave:
Thou loathed in their shame, they in thy pride:
The lesser thing should not the greater hide;
The cedar stoops not to the base shrub's foot,
But low shrubs wither at the cedar's root.
'So let thy thoughts, low vassals to thy state'--
No more,' quoth he; 'by heaven, I will not hear thee:
Yield to my love; if not, enforced hate,
Instead of love's coy touch, shall rudely tear thee;
That done, despitefully I mean to bear thee
Unto the base bed of some rascal groom,
To be thy partner in this shameful doom.'
This said, he sets his foot upon the light,
For light and lust are deadly enemies:
Shame folded up in blind concealing night,
When most unseen, then most doth tyrannize.
The wolf hath seized his prey, the poor lamb cries;
Till with her own white fleece her voice controll'd
Entombs her outcry in her lips' sweet fold:
For with the nightly linen that she wears
He pens her piteous clamours in her head;
Cooling his hot face in the chastest tears
That ever modest eyes with sorrow shed.
O, that prone lust should stain so pure a bed!
The spots whereof could weeping purify,
Her tears should drop on them perpetually.
But she hath lost a dearer thing than life,
And he hath won what he would lose again:
This forced league doth force a further strife;
This momentary joy breeds months of pain;
This hot desire converts to cold disdain:
Pure Chastity is rifled of her store,
And Lust, the thief, far poorer than before.
Look, as the full-fed hound or gorged hawk,
Unapt for tender smell or speedy flight,
Make slow pursuit, or altogether balk
The prey wherein by nature they delight;
So surfeit-taking Tarquin fares this night:
His taste delicious, in digestion souring,
Devours his will, that lived by foul devouring.
O, deeper sin than bottomless conceit
Can comprehend in still imagination!
Drunken Desire must vomit his receipt,
Ere he can see his own abomination.
While Lust is in his pride, no exclamation
Can curb his heat or rein his rash desire,
Till like a jade Self-will himself doth tire.
And then with lank and lean discolour'd cheek,
With heavy eye, knit brow, and strengthless pace,
Feeble Desire, all recreant, poor, and meek,
Like to a bankrupt beggar wails his case:
The flesh being proud, Desire doth fight with Grace,
For there it revels; and when that decays,
The guilty rebel for remission prays.
So fares it with this faultful lord of Rome,
Who this accomplishment so hotly chased;
For now against himself he sounds this doom,
That through the length of times he stands disgraced:
Besides, his soul's fair temple is defaced;
To whose weak ruins muster troops of cares,
To ask the spotted princess how she fares.
She says, her subjects with foul insurrection
Have batter'd down her consecrated wall,
And by their mortal fault brought in subjection
Her immortality, and made her thrall
To living death and pain perpetual:
Which in her prescience she controlled still,
But her foresight could not forestall their will.
Even in this thought through the dark night he stealeth,
A captive victor that hath lost in gain;
Bearing away the wound that nothing healeth,
The scar that will, despite of cure, remain;
Leaving his spoil perplex'd in greater pain.
She bears the load of lust he left behind,
And he the burden of a guilty mind.
He like a thievish dog creeps sadly thence;
She like a wearied lamb lies panting there;
He scowls and hates himself for his offence;
She, desperate, with her nails her flesh doth tear;
He faintly flies, sneaking with guilty fear;
She stays, exclaiming on the direful night;
He runs, and chides his vanish'd, loathed delight.
He thence departs a heavy convertite;
She there remains a hopeless castaway;
He in his speed looks for the morning light;
She prays she never may behold the day,
'For day,' quoth she, 'nights scapes doth open lay,
And my true eyes have never practised how
To cloak offences with a cunning brow.
'They think not but that every eye can see
The same disgrace which they themselves behold;
And therefore would they still in darkness be,
To have their unseen sin remain untold;
For they their guilt with weeping will unfold,
And grave, like water that doth eat in steel,
Upon my cheeks what helpless shame I feel.'
Here she exclaims against repose and rest,
And bids her eyes hereafter still be blind.
She wakes her heart by beating on her breast,
And bids it leap from thence, where it may find
Some purer chest to close so pure a mind.
Frantic with grief thus breathes she forth her spite
Against the unseen secrecy of night:
'O comfort-killing Night, image of hell!
Dim register and notary of shame!
Black stage for tragedies and murders fell!
Vast sin-concealing chaos! nurse of blame!
Blind muffled bawd! dark harbour for defame!
Grim cave of death! whispering conspirator
With close-tongued treason and the ravisher!
'O hateful, vaporous, and foggy Night!
Since thou art guilty of my cureless crime,
Muster thy mists to meet the eastern light,
Make war against proportion'd course of time;
Or if thou wilt permit the sun to climb
His wonted height, yet ere he go to bed,
Knit poisonous clouds about his golden head.
'With rotten damps ravish the morning air;
Let their exhaled unwholesome breaths make sick
The life of purity, the supreme fair,
Ere he arrive his weary noon-tide prick;
And let thy misty vapours march so thick,
That in their smoky ranks his smother'd light
May set at noon and make perpetual night.
'Were Tarquin Night, as he is but Night's child,
The silver-shining queen he would distain;
Her twinkling handmaids too, by him defiled,
Through Night's black bosom should not peep again:
So should I have co-partners in my pain;
And fellowship in woe doth woe assuage,
As palmers' chat makes short their pilgrimage.
'Where now I have no one to blush with me,
To cross their arms and hang their heads with mine,
To mask their brows and hide their infamy;
But I alone alone must sit and pine,
Seasoning the earth with showers of silver brine,
Mingling my talk with tears, my grief with groans,
Poor wasting monuments of lasting moans.
'O Night, thou furnace of foul-reeking smoke,
Let not the jealous Day behold that face
Which underneath thy black all-hiding cloak
Immodestly lies martyr'd with disgrace!
Keep still possession of thy gloomy place,
That all the faults which in thy reign are made
May likewise be sepulchred in thy shade!
'Make me not object to the tell-tale Day!
The light will show, character'd in my brow,
The story of sweet chastity's decay,
The impious breach of holy wedlock vow:
Yea the illiterate, that know not how
To cipher what is writ in learned books,
Will quote my loathsome trespass in my looks.
'The nurse, to still her child, will tell my story,
And fright her crying babe with Tarquin's name;
The orator, to deck his oratory,
Will couple my reproach to Tarquin's shame;
Feast-finding minstrels, tuning my defame,
Will tie the hearers to attend each line,
How Tarquin wronged me, I Collatine.
'Let my good name, that senseless reputation,
For Collatine's dear love be kept unspotted:
If that be made a theme for disputation,
The branches of another root are rotted,
And undeserved reproach to him allotted
That is as clear from this attaint of mine
As I, ere this, was pure to Collatine.
'O unseen shame! invisible disgrace!
O unfelt sore! crest-wounding, private scar!
Reproach is stamp'd in Collatinus' face,
And Tarquin's eye may read the mot afar,
How he in peace is wounded, not in war.
Alas, how many bear such shameful blows,
Which not themselves, but he that gives them knows!
'If, Collatine, thine honour lay in me,
From me by strong assault it is bereft.
My honour lost, and I, a drone-like bee,
Have no perfection of my summer left,
But robb'd and ransack'd by injurious theft:
In thy weak hive a wandering wasp hath crept,
And suck'd the honey which thy chaste bee kept.
'Yet am I guilty of thy honour's wrack;
Yet for thy honour did I entertain him;
Coming from thee, I could not put him back,
For it had been dishonour to disdain him:
Besides, of weariness he did complain him,
And talk'd of virtue: O unlook'd-for evil,
When virtue is profaned in such a devil!
'Why should the worm intrude the maiden bud?
Or hateful cuckoos hatch in sparrows' nests?
Or toads infect fair founts with venom mud?
Or tyrant folly lurk in gentle breasts?
Or kings be breakers of their own behests?
But no perfection is so absolute,
That some impurity doth not pollute.
'The aged man that coffers-up his gold
Is plagued with cramps and gouts and painful fits;
And scarce hath eyes his treasure to behold,
But like still-pining Tantalus he sits,
And useless barns the harvest of his wits;
Having no other pleasure of his gain
But torment that it cannot cure his pain.
'So then he hath it when he cannot use it,
And leaves it to be master'd by his young;
Who in their pride do presently abuse it:
Their father was too weak, and they too strong,
To hold their cursed-blessed fortune long.
The sweets we wish for turn to loathed sours
Even in the moment that we call them ours.
'Unruly blasts wait on the tender spring;
Unwholesome weeds take root with precious flowers;
The adder hisses where the sweet birds sing;
What virtue breeds iniquity devours:
We have no good that we can say is ours,
But ill-annexed Opportunity
Or kills his life or else his quality.
'O Opportunity, thy guilt is great!
'Tis thou that executest the traitor's treason:
Thou set'st the wolf where he the lamb may get;
Whoever plots the sin, thou 'point'st the season;
'Tis thou that spurn'st at right, at law, at reason;
And in thy shady cell, where none may spy him,
Sits Sin, to seize the souls that wander by him.
'Thou makest the vestal violate her oath;
Thou blow'st the fire when temperance is thaw'd;
Thou smother'st honesty, thou murder'st troth;
Thou foul abettor! thou notorious bawd!
Thou plantest scandal and displacest laud:
Thou ravisher, thou traitor, thou false thief,
Thy honey turns to gall, thy joy to grief!
'Thy secret pleasure turns to open shame,
Thy private feasting to a public fast,
Thy smoothing titles to a ragged name,
Thy sugar'd tongue to bitter wormwood taste:
Thy violent vanities can never last.
How comes it then, vile Opportunity,
Being so bad, such numbers seek for thee?
'When wilt thou be the humble suppliant's friend,
And bring him where his suit may be obtain'd?
When wilt thou sort an hour great strifes to end?
Or free that soul which wretchedness hath chain'd?
Give physic to the sick, ease to the pain'd?
The poor, lame, blind, halt, creep, cry out for thee;
But they ne'er meet with Opportunity.
'The patient dies while the physician sleeps;
The orphan pines while the oppressor feeds;
Justice is feasting while the widow weeps;
Advice is sporting while infection breeds:
Thou grant'st no time for charitable deeds:
Wrath, envy, treason, rape, and murder's rages,
Thy heinous hours wait on them as their pages.
'When Truth and Virtue have to do with thee,
A thousand crosses keep them from thy aid:
They buy thy help; but Sin ne'er gives a fee,
He gratis comes; and thou art well appaid
As well to hear as grant what he hath said.
My Collatine would else have come to me
When Tarquin did, but he was stay'd by thee.
Guilty thou art of murder and of theft,
Guilty of perjury and subornation,
Guilty of treason, forgery, and shift,
Guilty of incest, that abomination;
An accessary by thine inclination
To all sins past, and all that are to come,
From the creation to the general doom.
'Mis-shapen Time, copesmate of ugly Night,
Swift subtle post, carrier of grisly care,
Eater of youth, false slave to false delight,
Base watch of woes, sin's pack-horse, virtue's snare;
Thou nursest all and murder'st all that are:
O, hear me then, injurious, shifting Time!
Be guilty of my death, since of my crime.
'Why hath thy servant, Opportunity,
Betray'd the hours thou gavest me to repose,
Cancell'd my fortunes, and enchained me
To endless date of never-ending woes?
Time's office is to fine the hate of foes;
To eat up errors by opinion bred,
Not spend the dowry of a lawful bed.
'Time's glory is to calm contending kings,
To unmask falsehood and bring truth to light,
To stamp the seal of time in aged things,
To wake the morn and sentinel 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 fill 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 ancient ravens' wings,
To dry the old oak's sap and cherish springs,
To spoil antiquities of hammer'd steel,
And turn the giddy round of Fortune's wheel;
'To show the beldam daughters of her daughter,
To make the child a man, the man a child,
To slay the tiger that doth live by slaughter,
To tame the unicorn and lion wild,
To mock the subtle in themselves beguiled,
To cheer the ploughman with increaseful crops,
And waste huge stones with little water drops.
'Why work'st thou mischief in thy pilgrimage,
Unless thou couldst return to make amends?
One poor retiring minute in an age
Would purchase thee a thousand thousand friends,
Lending him wit that to bad debtors lends:
O, this dread night, wouldst thou one hour come back,
I could prevent this storm and shun thy wrack!
'Thou ceaseless lackey to eternity,
With some mischance cross Tarquin in his flight:
Devise extremes beyond extremity,
To make him curse this cursed crimeful night:
Let ghastly shadows his lewd eyes affright;
And the dire thought of his committed evil
Shape every bush a hideous shapeless devil.
'Disturb his hours of rest with restless trances,
Afflict him in his bed with bedrid groans;
Let there bechance him pitiful mischances,
To make him moan; but pity not his moans:
Stone him with harden'd hearts harder than stones;
And let mild women to him lose their mildness,
Wilder to him than tigers 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 slave,
Let him have time a beggar's orts to crave,
And time to see one that by alms doth 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 resort;
Let him have time to mark how slow 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 crime
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 so base would such an office have
As slanderous death's-man to so base a slave?
'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 honour'd, or begets him hate;
For greatest scandal waits on greatest state.
The moon being clouded presently is miss'd,
But little stars may hide them when they list.
'The crow may bathe his coal-black wings in mire,
And unperceived fly with the filth 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 gazed upon with every eye.
'Out, idle words, servants to shallow fools!
Unprofitable sounds, weak arbitrators!
Busy yourselves in skill-contending schools;
Debate where leisure serves with dull debaters;
To trembling clients be you mediators:
For me, I force not argument a straw,
Since that my case is past the help of law.
'In vain I rail at Opportunity,
At Time, at Tarquin, and uncheerful Night;
In vain I cavil with mine infamy,
In vain I spurn at my confirm'd despite:
This helpless smoke of words doth me no right.
The remedy indeed to do me good
Is to let forth my foul-defiled blood.
'Poor 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 livest in my defame:
Since thou couldst not defend thy loyal dame,
And wast afeard to scratch her wicked foe,
Kill both thyself and her for yielding so.'
This said, from her be-tumbled couch she starteth,
To find some desperate instrument of death:
But this no slaughterhouse no tool imparteth
To make more vent for passage of her breath;
Which, thronging through her lips, so vanisheth
As smoke from AEtna, that in air consumes,
Or that which from discharged cannon fumes.
'In vain,' quoth she, 'I live, and seek in vain
Some happy mean to end a hapless life.
I fear'd by Tarquin's falchion to be slain,
Yet for the self-same purpose seek a knife:
But when I fear'd I was a loyal wife:
So am I now: O no, that cannot be;
Of that true type hath Tarquin rifled me.
'O, that is gone for which I sought to live,
And therefore now I need not fear to die.
To clear this spot by death, at least I give
A badge of fame to slander's livery;
A dying life to living infamy:
Poor helpless help, the treasure stol'n away,
To burn the guiltless casket where it lay!
'Well, well, dear Collatine, thou shalt not know
The stained taste of violated troth;
I will not wrong thy true affection so,
To flatter thee with an infringed oath;
This bastard graff shall never come to growth:
He shall not boast who did thy stock pollute
That thou art doting father of his fruit.
'Nor shall he smile at thee in secret thought,
Nor laugh with his companions at thy state:
But thou shalt know thy interest was not bought
Basely with gold, but stol'n from forth thy gate.
For me, I am the mistress of my fate,
And with my trespass never will dispense,
Till life to death acquit my forced offence.
'I will not poison thee with my attaint,
Nor fold my fault in cleanly-coin'd excuses;
My sable ground of sin I will not paint,
To hide the truth of this false night's abuses:
My tongue shall utter all; mine eyes, like sluices,
As from a mountain-spring that feeds a dale,
Shall gush pure streams to purge my impure tale.'
By this, lamenting Philomel had ended
The well-tuned warble of her nightly sorrow,
And solemn night with slow sad gait descended
To ugly hell; when, lo, the blushing morrow
Lends light to all fair eyes that light will borrow:
But cloudy Lucrece shames herself to see,
And therefore still in night would cloister'd be.
Revealing day through every cranny spies,
And seems to point her out where she sits weeping;
To whom she sobbing speaks: 'O eye of eyes,
Why pry'st thou through my window? leave thy peeping:
Mock with thy tickling beams eyes that are sleeping:
Brand not my forehead with thy piercing light,
For day hath nought to do what's done by night.'
Thus cavils she with every thing she sees:
True grief is fond and testy as a child,
Who wayward once, his mood with nought agrees:
Old woes, not infant sorrows, bear them mild;
Continuance tames the one; the other wild,
Like an unpractised swimmer plunging still,
With too much labour drowns for want of skill.
So she, deep-drenched in a sea of care,
Holds disputation with each thing she views,
And to herself all sorrow doth compare;
No object but her passion's strength renews;
And as one shifts, another straight ensues:
Sometime her grief is dumb and hath no words;
Sometime 'tis mad and too much talk affords.
The little birds that tune their morning's joy
Make her moans mad with their sweet melody:
For mirth doth search the bottom of annoy;
Sad souls are slain in merry company;
Grief best is pleased with grief's society:
True sorrow then is feelingly sufficed
When with like semblance it is sympathized.
'Tis double death to drown in ken of shore;
He ten times pines that pines beholding food;
To see the salve doth make the wound ache more;
Great grief grieves most at that would do it good;
Deep woes roll forward like a gentle flood,
Who being stopp'd, the bounding banks o'erflows;
Grief dallied with nor law nor limit knows.
'You mocking-birds,' quoth she, 'your tunes entomb
Within your hollow-swelling feather'd breasts,
And in my hearing be you mute and dumb:
My restless discord loves no stops nor rests;
A woeful hostess brooks not merry guests:
Relish your nimble notes to pleasing ears;
Distress likes dumps when time is kept with tears.
'Come, Philomel, that sing'st of ravishment,
Make thy sad grove in my dishevell'd hair:
As the dank earth weeps at thy languishment,
So I at each sad strain will strain a tear,
And with deep groans the diapason bear;
For burden-wise I'll hum on Tarquin still,
While thou on Tereus descant'st better skill.
'And whiles against a thorn thou bear'st thy part,
To keep thy sharp woes waking, wretched I,
To imitate thee well, against my heart
Will fix a sharp knife to affright mine eye;
Who, if it wink, shall thereon fall and die.
These means, as frets upon an instrument,
Shall tune our heart-strings to true languishment.
'And for, poor bird, thou sing'st not in the day,
As shaming any eye should thee behold,
Some dark deep desert, seated from the way,
That knows not parching heat nor freezing cold,
Will we find out; and there we will unfold
To creatures stern sad tunes, to change their kinds:
Since men prove beasts, let beasts bear gentle minds.'
As the poor frighted deer, that stands at gaze,
Wildly determining which way to fly,
Or one encompass'd with a winding maze,
That cannot tread the way out readily;
So with herself is she in mutiny,
To live or die which of the twain were better,
When life is shamed, and death reproach's debtor.
'To kill myself,' quoth she, 'alack, what were it,
But with my body my poor soul's pollution?
They that lose half with greater patience bear it
Than they whose whole is swallow'd in confusion.
That mother tries a merciless conclusion
Who, having two sweet babes, when death takes one,
Will slay the other and be nurse to none.
'My body or my soul, which was the dearer,
When the one pure, the other made divine?
Whose love of either to myself was nearer,
When both were kept for heaven and Collatine?
Ay me! the bark peel'd from the lofty pine,
His leaves will wither and his sap decay;
So must my soul, her bark being peel'd away.
'Her house is sack'd, her quiet interrupted,
Her mansion batter'd by the enemy;
Her sacred temple spotted, spoil'd, corrupted,
Grossly engirt with daring infamy:
Then let it not be call'd impiety,
If in this blemish'd fort I make some hole
Through which I may convey this troubled soul.
'Yet die I will not till my Collatine
Have heard the cause of my untimely death;
That he may vow, in that sad hour of mine,
Revenge on him that made me stop my breath.
My stained blood to Tarquin I'll bequeath,
Which by him tainted shall for him be spent,
And as his due writ in my testament.
'My honour I'll bequeath unto the knife
That wounds my body so dishonoured.
'Tis honour to deprive dishonour'd life;
The one will live, the other being dead:
So of shame's ashes shall my fame be bred;
For in my death I murder shameful scorn:
My shame so dead, mine honour is new-born.
'Dear lord of that dear jewel I have lost,
What legacy shall I bequeath to thee?
My resolution, love, shall be thy boast,
By whose example thou revenged mayest be.
How Tarquin must be used, read it in me:
Myself, thy friend, will kill myself, thy foe,
And for my sake serve thou false Tarquin so.
'This brief abridgement of my will I make:
My soul and body to the skies and ground;
My resolution, husband, do thou take;
Mine honour be the knife's that makes my wound;
My shame be his that did my fame confound;
And all my fame that lives disbursed be
To those that live, and think no shame of me.
'Thou, Collatine, shalt oversee this will;
How was I overseen that thou shalt see it!
My blood shall wash the slander of mine ill;
My life's foul deed, my life's fair end shall free it.
Faint not, faint heart, but stoutly say 'So be it:'
Yield to my hand; my hand shall conquer thee:
Thou dead, both die, and both shall victors be.'
This Plot of death when sadly she had laid,
And wiped the brinish pearl from her bright eyes,
With untuned tongue she hoarsely calls her maid,
Whose swift obedience to her mistress hies;
For fleet-wing'd duty with thought's feathers flies.
Poor Lucrece' cheeks unto her maid seem so
As winter meads when sun doth melt their snow.
Her mistress she doth give demure good-morrow,
With soft-slow tongue, true mark of modesty,
And sorts a sad look to her lady's sorrow,
For why her face wore sorrow's livery;
But durst not ask of her audaciously
Why her two suns were cloud-eclipsed so,
Nor why her fair cheeks over-wash'd with woe.
But as the earth doth weep, the sun being set,
Each flower moisten'd like a melting eye;
Even so the maid with swelling drops gan wet
Her circled eyne, enforced by sympathy
Of those fair suns set in her mistress' sky,
Who in a salt-waved ocean quench their light,
Which makes the maid weep like the dewy night.
A pretty while these pretty creatures stand,
Like ivory conduits coral cisterns filling:
One justly weeps; the other takes in hand
No cause, but company, of her drops spilling:
Their gentle sex to weep are often willing;
Grieving themselves to guess at others' smarts,
And then they drown their eyes or break their hearts.
For men have marble, women waxen, minds,
And therefore are they form'd as marble will;
The weak oppress'd, the impression of strange kinds
Is form'd in them by force, by fraud, or skill:
Then call them not the authors of their ill,
No more than wax shall be accounted evil
Wherein is stamp'd the semblance of a devil.
Their smoothness, like a goodly champaign plain,
Lays open all the little worms that creep;
In men, as in a rough-grown grove, remain
Cave-keeping evils that obscurely sleep:
Through crystal walls each little mote will peep:
Though men can cover crimes with bold stern looks,
Poor women's faces are their own fault's books.
No man inveigh against the wither'd flower,
But chide rough winter that the flower hath kill'd:
Not that devour'd, but that which doth devour,
Is worthy blame. O, let it not be hild
Poor women's faults, that they are so fulfill'd
With men's abuses: those proud lords, to blame,
Make weak-made women tenants to their shame.
The precedent whereof in Lucrece view,
Assail'd by night with circumstances strong
Of present death, and shame that might ensue
By that her death, to do her husband wrong:
Such danger to resistance did belong,
That dying fear through all her body spread;
And who cannot abuse a body dead?
By this, mild patience bid fair Lucrece speak
To the poor counterfeit of her complaining:
'My girl,' quoth she, 'on what occasion break
Those tears from thee, that down thy cheeks are
If thou dost weep for grief of my sustaining,
Know, gentle wench, it small avails my mood:
If tears could help, mine own would do me good.
'But tell me, girl, when went'--and there she stay'd
Till after a deep groan--'Tarquin from hence?'
'Madam, ere I was up,' replied the maid,
'The more to blame my sluggard negligence:
Yet with the fault I thus far can dispense;
Myself was stirring ere the break of day,
And, ere I rose, was Tarquin gone away.
'But, lady, if your maid may be so bold,
She would request to know your heaviness.'
'O, peace!' quoth Lucrece: 'if it should be told,
The repetition cannot make it less;
For more it is than I can well express:
And that deep torture may be call'd a hell
When more is felt than one hath power to tell.
'Go, get me hither paper, ink, and pen:
Yet save that labour, for I have them here.
What should I say? One of my husband's men
Bid thou be ready, by and by, to bear
A letter to my lord, my love, my dear;
Bid him with speed prepare to carry it;
The cause craves haste, and it will soon be writ.'
Her maid is gone, and she prepares to write,
First hovering o'er the paper with her quill:
Conceit and grief an eager combat fight;
What wit sets down is blotted straight with will;
This is too curious-good, this blunt and ill:
Much like a press of people at a door,
Throng her inventions, which shall go before.
At last she thus begins: 'Thou worthy lord
Of that unworthy wife that greeteth thee,
Health to thy person! next vouchsafe t' afford--
If ever, love, thy Lucrece thou wilt see--
Some present speed to come and visit me.
So, I commend me from our house in grief:
My woes are tedious, though my words are brief.'
Here folds she up the tenor 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 passion
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 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 seal'd, and on it writ
'At Ardea to my lord with more than haste.'
The post attends, and she delivers it,
Charging the sour-faced 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 her see 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 laid 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 pioner
Begrimed 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;
Pale cowards, marching on with trembling paces;
Which heartless peasants did so well resemble,
That one would swear he saw them quake and tremble.
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 rigor 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 beguiled 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,
Griped 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
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 strand 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 stell'd.
Many she sees where cares have carved some,
But none where all distress and dolour dwell'd,
Till she despairing Hecuba beheld,
Staring on Priam's wounds with her old eyes,
Which bleeding under Pyrrhus' proud foot lies.
In her the painter had anatomized
Time's ruin, beauty's wreck, and grim care's reign:
Her cheeks with chaps and wrinkles were disguised;
Of what she was no semblance did remain:
Her blue blood changed to black in every vein,
Wanting the spring that those shrunk pipes had fed,
Show'd life imprison'd in a body dead.
On this sad shadow Lucrece spends her eyes,
And shapes her sorrow to the beldam's woes,
Who nothing wants to answer her but cries,
And bitter words to ban her cruel foes:
The painter was no god to lend her those;
And therefore Lucrece swears he did her wrong,
To give her so much grief and not a tongue.
'Poor instrument,' quoth she,'without a sound,
I'll tune thy woes with my lamenting tongue;
And drop sweet balm in Priam's painted wound,
And rail on Pyrrhus that hath done him wrong;
And with my tears quench Troy that burns so long;
And with my knife scratch out the angry eyes
Of all the Greeks that are thine enemies.
'Show me the strumpet that began this stir,
That with my nails her beauty I may tear.
Thy heat of lust, fond Paris, did incur
This load of wrath that burning Troy doth bear:
Thy eye kindled the fire that burneth here;
And here in Troy, for trespass of thine eye,
The sire, the son, the dame, and daughter die.
'Why should the private pleasure of some one
Become the public plague of many moe?
Let sin, alone committed, light alone
Upon his head that hath transgressed so;
Let guiltless souls be freed from guilty woe:
For one's offence why should so many fall,
To plague a private sin in general?
'Lo, here weeps Hecuba, here Priam dies,
Here manly Hector faints, here Troilus swounds,
Here friend by friend in bloody channel lies,
And friend to friend gives unadvised wounds,
And one man's lust these many lives confounds:
Had doting Priam cheque'd his son's desire,
Troy had been bright with fame and not with fire.'
Here feelingly she weeps Troy's painted woes:
For sorrow, like a heavy-hanging bell,
Once set on ringing, with his own weight goes;
Then little strength rings out the doleful knell:
So Lucrece, set a-work, sad tales doth tell
To pencill'd pensiveness and colour'd sorrow;
She lends them words, and she their looks doth borrow.
She throws her eyes about the painting round,
And whom she finds forlorn she doth lament.
At last she sees a wretched image bound,
That piteous looks to Phrygian shepherds lent:
His face, though full of cares, yet show'd content;
Onward to Troy with the blunt swains he goes,
So mild, that Patience seem'd to scorn his woes.
In him the painter labour'd with his skill
To hide deceit, and give the harmless show
An humble gait, calm looks, eyes wailing still,
A brow unbent, that seem'd to welcome woe;
Cheeks neither red nor pale, but mingled so
That blushing red no guilty instance gave,
Nor ashy pale the fear that false hearts have.
But, like a constant and confirmed devil,
He entertain'd a show so seeming just,
And therein so ensconced his secret evil,
That jealousy itself could not mistrust
False-creeping craft and perjury should thrust
Into so bright a day such black-faced storms,
Or blot with hell-born sin such saint-like forms.
The well-skill'd workman this mild image drew
For perjured Sinon, whose enchanting story
The credulous old Priam after slew;
Whose words like wildfire burnt the shining glory
Of rich-built Ilion, that the skies were sorry,
And little stars shot from their fixed places,
When their glass fell wherein they view'd their faces.
This picture she advisedly perused,
And chid the painter for his wondrous skill,
Saying, some shape in Sinon's was abused;
So fair a form lodged not a mind so ill:
And still on him she gazed; and gazing still,
Such signs of truth in his plain face she spied,
That she concludes the picture was belied.
'It cannot be,' quoth she,'that so much guile'--
She would have said 'can lurk in such a look;'
But Tarquin's shape came in her mind the while,
And from her tongue 'can lurk' from 'cannot' took:
'It cannot be' she in that sense forsook,
And turn'd it thus,' It cannot be, I find,
But such a face should bear a wicked mind.
'For even as subtle Sinon here is painted.
So sober-sad, so weary, and so mild,
As if with grief or travail he had fainted,
To me came Tarquin armed; so beguiled
With outward honesty, but yet defiled
With inward vice: as Priam him did cherish,
So did I Tarquin; so my Troy did perish.
'Look, look, how listening Priam wets his eyes,
To see those borrow'd tears that Sinon sheds!
Priam, why art thou old and yet not wise?
For every tear he falls a Trojan bleeds:
His eye drops fire, no water thence proceeds;
Those round clear pearls of his, that move thy pity,
Are balls of quenchless fire to burn thy city.
'Such devils steal effects from lightless hell;
For Sinon in his fire doth quake with cold,
And in that cold hot-burning fire doth dwell;
These contraries such unity do hold,
Only to flatter fools and make them bold:
So Priam's trust false Sinon's tears doth flatter,
That he finds means to burn his Troy with water.'
Here, all enraged, such passion her assails,
That patience is quite beaten from her breast.
She tears the senseless Sinon with her nails,
Comparing him to that unhappy guest
Whose deed hath made herself herself detest:
At last she smilingly with this gives o'er;
'Fool, fool!' quoth she, 'his wounds will not be sore.'
Thus ebbs and flows the current of her sorrow,
And time doth weary time with her complaining.
She looks for night, and then she longs for morrow,
And both she thinks too long with her remaining:
Short time seems long in sorrow's sharp sustaining:
Though woe be heavy, yet it seldom sleeps,
And they that watch see time how slow it creeps.
Which all this time hath overslipp'd her thought,
That she with painted images hath spent;
Being from the feeling of her own grief brought
By deep surmise of others' detriment;
Losing her woes in shows of discontent.
It easeth some, though none it ever cured,
To think their dolour others have endured.
But now the mindful messenger, come back,
Brings home his lord and other company;
Who finds his Lucrece clad in mourning black:
And round about her tear-stained eye
Blue circles stream'd; like rainbows in the sky:
These water-galls in her dim element
Foretell new storms to those already spent.
Which when her sad-beholding husband saw,
Amazedly in her sad face he stares:
Her eyes, though sod in tears, look'd red and raw,
Her lively colour kill'd with deadly cares.
He hath no power to ask her how she fares:
Both stood, like old acquaintance in a trance,
Met far from home, wondering each other's chance.
At last he takes her by the bloodless hand,
And thus begins: 'What uncouth ill event
Hath thee befall'n, that thou dost trembling stand?
Sweet love, what spite hath thy fair colour spent?
Why art thou thus attired in discontent?
Unmask, dear dear, this moody heaviness,
And tell thy grief, that we may give redress.'
Three times with sighs she gives her sorrow fire,
Ere once she can discharge one word of woe:
At length address'd to answer his desire,
She modestly prepares to let them know
Her honour is ta'en prisoner by the foe;
While Collatine and his consorted lords
With sad attention long to hear her words.
And now this pale swan in her watery nest
Begins the sad dirge of her certain ending;
'Few words,' quoth she, 'Shall fit the trespass best,
Where no excuse can give the fault amending:
In me moe woes than words are now depending;
And my laments would be drawn out too long,
To tell them all with one poor tired tongue.
'Then be this all the task it hath to say
Dear husband, in the interest of thy bed
A stranger came, and on that pillow lay
Where thou was wont to rest thy weary head;
And what wrong else may be imagined
By foul enforcement might be done to me,
From that, alas, thy Lucrece is not free.
'For in the dreadful dead of dark midnight,
With shining falchion in my chamber came
A creeping creature, with a flaming light,
And softly cried 'Awake, thou Roman dame,
And entertain my love; else lasting shame
On thee and thine this night I will inflict,
If thou my love's desire do contradict.
' 'For some hard-favour'd groom of thine,' quoth he,
'Unless thou yoke thy liking to my will,
I'll murder straight, and then I'll slaughter thee
And swear I found you where you did fulfil
The loathsome act of lust, and so did kill
The lechers in their deed: this act will be
My fame and thy perpetual infamy.'
'With this, I did begin to start and cry;
And then against my heart he sets his sword,
Swearing, unless I took all patiently,
I should not live to speak another word;
So should my shame still rest upon record,
And never be forgot in mighty Rome
Th' adulterate death of Lucrece and her groom.
'Mine enemy was strong, my poor self weak,
And far the weaker with so strong a fear:
My bloody judge forbade my tongue to speak;
No rightful plea might plead for justice there:
His scarlet lust came evidence to swear
That my poor beauty had purloin'd his eyes;
And when the judge is robb'd the prisoner dies.
'O, teach me how to make mine own excuse!
Or at the least this refuge let me find;
Though my gross blood be stain'd with this abuse,
Immaculate and spotless is my mind;
That was not forced; that never was inclined
To accessary yieldings, but still pure
Doth in her poison'd closet yet endure.'
Lo, here, the hopeless merchant of this loss,
With head declined, and voice damm'd up with woe,
With sad set eyes, and wretched arms across,
From lips new-waxen pale begins to blow
The grief away that stops his answer so:
But, wretched as he is, he strives in vain;
What he breathes out his breath drinks up again.
As through an arch the violent roaring tide
Outruns the eye that doth behold his haste,
Yet in the eddy boundeth in his pride
Back to the strait that forced him on so fast;
In rage sent out, recall'd in rage, being past:
Even so his sighs, his sorrows, make a saw,
To push grief on, and back the same grief draw.
Which speechless woe of his poor she attendeth,
And his untimely frenzy thus awaketh:
'Dear lord, thy sorrow to my sorrow lendeth
Another power; no flood by raining slaketh.
My woe too sensible thy passion maketh
More feeling-painful: let it then suffice
To drown one woe, one pair of weeping eyes.
'And for my sake, when I might charm thee so,
For she that was thy Lucrece, now attend me:
Be suddenly revenged on my foe,
Thine, mine, his own: suppose thou dost defend me
From what is past: the help that thou shalt lend me
Comes all too late, yet let the traitor die;
For sparing justice feeds iniquity.
'But ere I name him, you fair lords,' quoth she,
Speaking to those that came with Collatine,
'Shall plight your honourable faiths to me,
With swift pursuit to venge this wrong of mine;
For 'tis a meritorious fair design
To chase injustice with revengeful arms:
Knights, by their oaths, should right poor ladies' harms.'
At this request, with noble disposition
Each present lord began to promise aid,
As bound in knighthood to her imposition,
Longing to hear the hateful foe bewray'd.
But she, that yet her sad task hath not said,
The protestation stops. 'O, speak, ' quoth she,
'How may this forced stain be wiped from me?
'What is the quality of mine offence,
Being constrain'd with dreadful circumstance?
May my pure mind with the foul act dispense,
My low-declined honour to advance?
May any terms acquit me from this chance?
The poison'd fountain clears itself again;
And why not I from this compelled stain?'
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
The face, that map which deep impression bears
Of hard misfortune, carved 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.'
Even here she sheathed in her harmless breast
A harmful knife, that thence her soul unsheathed:
That blow did that it from the deep unrest
Of that polluted prison where it breathed:
Her contrite sighs unto the clouds bequeath'd
Her winged sprite, and through her wounds doth fly
Life's lasting date from cancell'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:
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 putrified.
'Daughter, dear daughter,' old Lucretius cries,
'That life was mine which thou hast here deprived.
If in the child the father's image lies,
Where shall I live now Lucrece is unlived?
Thou wast not to this end from me derived.
If children predecease 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 fresh fair mirror, dim and old,
Shows me a bare-boned death by time out-worn:
O, from thy cheeks my image thou hast torn,
And shivered all the beauty of my glass,
That I no more can see what once I was!
'O time, cease thou thy course and last no longer,
If they surcease to be that should survive.
Shall rotten death make conquest of the stronger
And leave the faltering feeble souls alive?
The old bees die, the young possess their hive:
Then live, sweet Lucrece, live again and see
Thy father die, and not thy father thee!
By this, starts Collatine as from a dream,
And bids Lucretius give his sorrow place;
And then in key-cold Lucrece' bleeding stream
He falls, and bathes the pale fear in his face,
And counterfeits to die with her a space;
Till manly shame bids him possess his breath
And live to be revenged on her death.
The deep vexation of his inward soul
Hath served a dumb arrest upon his tongue;
Who, mad that sorrow should his use control,
Or keep him from heart-easing words so long,
Begins to talk; but through his lips do throng
Weak words, so thick come in his poor heart's aid,
That no man could distinguish what he said.
Yet sometime 'Tarquin' was pronounced plain,
But through his teeth, as if the name he tore.
This windy tempest, till it blow up rain,
Held back his sorrow's tide, to make it more;
At last it rains, and busy winds give o'er:
Then son and father weep with equal strife
Who should weep most, for daughter or for wife.
The one doth call her his, the other his,
Yet neither may possess the claim they lay.
The father says 'She's mine.' 'O, mine she is,'
Replies her husband: 'do not take away
My sorrow's interest; let no mourner say
He weeps for her, for she was only mine,
And only must be wail'd by Collatine.'
'O,' quoth Lucretius,' I did give that life
Which she too early and too late hath spill'd.'
'Woe, woe,' quoth Collatine, 'she was my wife,
I owed her, and 'tis mine that she hath kill'd.'
'My daughter' and 'my wife' with clamours fill'd
The dispersed air, who, holding Lucrece' life,
Answer'd their cries, 'my daughter' and 'my wife.'
Brutus, who pluck'd the knife from Lucrece' side,
Seeing such emulation in their woe,
Began to clothe his wit in state and pride,
Burying in Lucrece' wound his folly's show.
He with the Romans was esteemed so
As silly-jeering idiots are with kings,
For sportive words and uttering foolish things:
But now he throws that shallow habit by,
Wherein deep policy did him disguise;
And arm'd his long-hid wits advisedly,
To cheque the tears in Collatinus' eyes.
'Thou wronged lord of Rome,' quoth be, 'arise:
Let my unsounded self, supposed a fool,
Now set thy long-experienced wit to school.
'Why, Collatine, is woe the cure for woe?
Do wounds help wounds, or grief help grievous deeds?
Is it revenge to give thyself a blow
For his foul act by whom thy fair wife bleeds?
Such childish humour from weak minds proceeds:
Thy wretched wife mistook the matter so,
To slay herself, that should have slain her foe.
'Courageous Roman, do not steep thy heart
In such relenting dew of lamentations;
But kneel with me and help to bear thy part,
To rouse our Roman gods with invocations,
That they will suffer these abominations,
Since Rome herself in them doth stand disgraced,
By our strong arms from forth her fair streets chased.
'Now, by the Capitol that we adore,
And by this chaste blood so unjustly stain'd,
By heaven's fair sun that breeds the fat earth's
By all our country rights in Rome maintain'd,
And by chaste Lucrece' soul that late complain'd
Her wrongs to us, and by this bloody knife,
We will revenge the death of this true wife.'
This said, he struck his hand upon his breast,
And kiss'd the fatal knife, to end his vow;
And to his protestation urged the rest,
Who, wondering at him, did his words allow:
Then jointly to the ground their knees they bow;
And that deep vow, which Brutus made before,
He doth again repeat, and that they swore.
When they had sworn to this advised doom,
They did conclude to bear dead Lucrece thence;
To show her bleeding body thorough Rome,
And so to publish Tarquin's foul offence:
Which being done with speedy diligence,
The Romans plausibly did give consent
To Tarquin's everlasting banishment.