Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Hardy M. Cook
Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Modern)


"O, that is gone for which I sought to live,
And therefore now I need not fear to die.
To clear this spot by death, at least I give
A badge of fame to slander's livery,
1055A dying life to living infamy.
Poor helpless help, the treasure stol'n away,
To burn the guiltless casket where it lay."
"Well, well, dear Collatine, thou shalt not know
The stainèd taste of violated troth;
1060I will not wrong thy true affection so
To flatter thee with an infringèd oath.
This bastard graft shall never come to growth;
He shall not boast who did thy stock pollute
That thou art doting father of his fruit."
1065"Nor shall he smile at thee in secret thought,
Nor laugh with his companions at thy state,
But thou shalt know thy int'rest was not bought
Basely with gold, but stol'n from forth thy gate.
For me, I am the mistress of my fate
1070And with my trespass never will dispense
Till life to death acquit my forced offense."
"I will not poison thee with my attaint,
Nor fold my fault in cleanly coined excuses;
My sable ground of sin I will not paint
1075To hide the truth of this false night's abuses.
My tongue shall utter all; mine eyes, like sluices,
As from a mountain spring that feeds a dale,
Shall gush pure streams to purge my impure tale."
By this, lamenting Philomel had ended
1080The well-tuned warble of her nightly sorrow,
And solemn night with slow sad gate descended
To ugly hell, when, lo, the blushing morrow
Lends light to all fair eyes that light will borrow.
But cloudy Lucrece shames herself to see
1085And therefore still in night would cloistered be.