Thursday, 17 March 2011



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 all 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

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