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 room 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 newborn.

'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 mayst 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.

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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