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BODY OF LUCRETIA.
JOHN HOWARD PAYNE'S "BRUTUS."
THUS, thus, my friends, fast as our breaking hearts
Permitted utterance, we have told our story;
And now to say one word of the imposture,
The mask necessity has made me wear.
When the ferocious malice of your king,—
King do I call him?-When the monster, Tarquin,
Slew, as most of you may well remember,
My father Marcus, and my elder brother,
Envying at once their virtues and their wealth,
How could I hope a shelter from his power,
But in the false face I have worn so long?
Would you know why I summoned you together?
Ask ye what brings me here? Behold this dagger,
Clotted with gore! Behold that frozen corsę!
See where the lost Lucretia sleeps in death!
She was the mark and model of the time,
The mould in which each female face was formed,
The very shrine and sacristy of virtue !
Fairer than ever was a form created
By youthful fancy when the blood strays wild,
And never-resting thought is all on fire!
The worthiest of the worthy! Not the nymph
Who met old Numa in his hallowed walks,
And whispered in his ear her strains divine,
Can I conceive beyond her; the young choir
Of vestal virgins bent to her. "Tis wonderful
Amid the darnel, hemlock, and base weeds,
Which now spring rife from the luxurious compost
Spread o'er the realm, how this sweet lily rose;
How from the shade of those ill-neighbouring plants
Her father sheltered her, that not a leaf
Was blighted, but, arrayed in purest grace,
She bloomed unsullied beauty. Such perfections
Might have called back the torpid breast of age
To long-forgotten rapture: such a mind
Might have abashed the boldest libertine,
And turned desire to reverential love,
And holiest affection! Oh, my countrymen!
You all can witness when that she went forth
It was a holiday in Rome; old age
Forgot its crutch, labour its task,—all ran;
And mothers, turning to their daughters, cried,
"There, there's Lucretia!" Now, look ye, where she
That beauteous flower, that innocent sweet rose,
Torn up by ruthless violence-gone! gone! gone !
Say, would you seek instruction? would ye ask What ye should do? Ask ye yon conscious walls, Which saw his poisoned brother, they will cry, Revenge! Ask yon deserted street, where Tullia drove
O'er her dead father's corse, 'twill cry, Revenge!
Ask yonder senate-house, whose stones are purple
With human blood, and it will cry, Revenge!
Go to the tomb where lies his murdered wife,
And the poor queen, who loved him as her son,
Their unappeased ghosts will shriek, Revenge!
The temples of the gods, the all-viewing heavens,
The gods themselves, shall justify the cry,
And swell the general sound, Revenge! Revenge!
And we will be revenged, my countrymen !
Brutus shall lead you on; Brutus, a name
Which will, when you're revenged, be dearer to him
Than all the noblest titles earth can boast.
Now take the body up. Bear it before us
To Tarquin's palace; there we'll light our torches,
And, in the blazing conflagration, rear
A pile for these chaste relics, that shall send
Her soul amongst the stars. On! Brutus leads you!
ΤΟ THE ROMANS ON
You common cry of curs! whose breath I hate
As reek o' the rotten fens, whose loves I prize
As the dead carcases of unburied men
That do corrupt my air, I banish you;
And here remain with your uncertainty!
Let every feeble rumour shake your hearts!
Your enemies, with nodding of their plumes,
Fan you into despair! Have the power still
To banish your defenders; till, at length,
Your ignorance (which finds not, till it feels),
Making not reservation of yourselves,
(Still your own foes), deliver you
As most abated captives, to some nation
That won you without blows! Despising,
For you, the city, thus I turn my back:
There is a world elsewhere.
TO-MORROW, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow; a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
SHAKESPEARE'S "JULIUS CESAR."
Commoner. But, indeed sir, we make
Holiday, to see Cæsar, and to rejoice in his triumph.
WHEREFORE rejoice? What conquest brings he home?
What tributaries follow him to Rome,
To grace in captive bonds his chariot-wheels?
You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things!
O, you hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome,
Knew you not Pompey? Many a time and oft
Have you climbed up to walls and battlements,
To towers and windows, yea, to chimney-tops,
Your infants in your arms, and there have sat
The livelong day, with patient expectation,
To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome :
And when you saw his chariot but appear,
Have you not made a universal shout,
That Tiber trembled underneath her banks,
To hear the replication of your sounds,
Made in her concave shores ?
And do you now put on your best attire?
And do you now cull out a holiday?
And do you now strew flowers in his way,
That comes in triumph over Pompey's blood?
Run to your houses, fall upon your knees,
Pray to the gods to intermit the plague
That needs must light on this ingratitude.
MEN'S evil manners live in brass; their virtues
SHAKESPEARE'S "Henry VIII.”
MARK ANTONY'S ADDRESS TO CESAR'S BODY.
SHAKESPEARE'S "JULIUS CÆSAR."
O, PARDON me, thou bleeding piece of earth, That I am meek and gentle with these butchers! Thou art the ruins of the noblest man
That ever lived in the tide of times.
Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood!
Over thy wounds now do I prophesy,-
Which, like dumb mouths, do ope their ruby lips,
To beg the voice and utterance of my tongue,-
A curse shall light upon the limbs of men;
Domestic fury, and fierce civil strife,
Shall cumber all the parts of Italy;
Blood and destruction shall be so in use,
And dreadful objects so familiar,
That mothers shall but smile when they behold
Their infants quartered with the hands of war;
All pity choked with custom of fell deeds:
And Caesar's spirit, ranging for revenge,
With Atè by his side, come hot from hell,
Shall in these confines, with a monarch's voice,
Cry "Havock," and let slip the dogs of war;
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men groaning for burial.
THE cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve;
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind.