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Soe when in
My deare Lavinia was betrothed than
He being slaine, was cast in cruel wise,
my three sonnes, who fell into the den.
The moore then fetcht the emperour with speed, 45
But nowe, behold! what wounded most my mind,
When they had tasted of soe sweete a flowre, Fearing this sweete should shortly turn to sowre, They cutt her tongue, whereby she could not tell How that dishonoure unto her befell.
Then both her hands they basely cutt off quite,
My brother Marcus found her in the wood, Staining the grassie ground with purple bloud, That trickled from her stumpes, and bloudlesse
armes : Noe tongue at all she had to tell her harmes.
But when I sawe her in that woefull case,
Lavinia I lamented more
When as I sawe she could not write nor speake, With grief mine aged heart began to breake; 70 We spred an heape of sand upon the ground, Whereby those bloudy tyrants out we found.
For with a staffe, without the helpe of hand,
I tore the milk-white hairs from off mine head,
The moore I caus’d to strike it off with speede, 85
But as my life did linger thus in paine,
Then past reliefe I upp and downe did goe,
The empresse then, thinking that I was mad,
* If the ballad was written before the play, I should suppose this to be only a metaphorical expression, taken from that in the Psalms, They shoot out their arrows, even bitter words.” Ps. lxiv. 3.
I fed their foolish veines* a certaine space,
friendes did find a secret place, Where both her sonnes unto a post were bound, And just revenge in cruell sort was found.
I cut their throates, my daughter held the pan 105
Then with their fleshe I made two mighty pyes,
Myselfe bereav'd my daughter then of life,
Then this revenge against the moore was found,
* i.e. encouraged them in their foolish humours, or fancies.
Take those Lips Away.
The first stanza of this little sonnet, which an eminent critic* justly admires for its extreme sweetness, is found in Shakspeare's Measure for Measure, act. iv. sc. 1. Both the stanzas are preserved in Beaum. and Fletcher's Bloody Brother, act v. sc. 2. Sewel and Gildon have printed it among Shakspeare's smaller poems, but they have done the same by twenty other pieces that were never writ by him; their book being a wretched heap of inaccuracies and mistakes. It is not found in Jaggard's old edition of Shakspeare's Passionate Pilgrime,t &c.
TAKE, oh take those lips away,
That so sweetlye were forsworne;
Lights, that do misleade the morne :
Hide, oh hide those hills of snowe,
Which thy frozen bosom beares,
Are of those that April wears :
* Dr. Warb, in his Shakspeare.
+ Mr. Malone, in his improved edit. of Shakspeare's Sonnets, &c. hath substituted this instead of Marlow's Madrigal, printed above; for which he hath assigned reasons, which the reader may see in his vol. x. p. 340.