When lovely woman stoops to folly,
And finds too late that men betray,
What charm can soothe her melancholy?
What art can wash her guilt away?
Thy steady temper, Portius,
Can look on guilt, rebellion, fraud, and Caesar,
In the calm lights of mild philosophy.
I know not, I ask not, if guilt's in that heart,
I but know that I love thee whatever thou art.
But whither am I strayed? I need not raise
Trophies to thee from other men's dispraise;
Nor is thy fame on lesser ruins built;
Nor needs thy juster title the foul guilt
Of Eastern kings, who, to secure their reign,
Must have their brothers, sons, and kindred slain.
So full of artless jealousy is guilt,
It spills itself in fearing to be spilt.
Men the most infamous are fond of fame,
And those who fear not guilt yet start at shame.
The only art her guilt to cover,
To hide her shame from every eye,
To give repentance to her lover,
And wring his bosom, is—to die.