Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Modern)


Which all this time hath overslipped her thought
That she with painted images hath spent,
Being from the feeling of her own grief brought
By deep surmise of others' detriment,
1580Losing her woes in shows of discontent.
It easeth some, though none it ever cured,
To think their dolor others have endured.
But now the mindful messenger come back
Brings home his lord and other company,
1585Who finds his Lucrece clad in mourning black,
And round about her tear-distainèd eye
Blue circles streamed, like rainbows in the sky.
These water-galls in her dim element
Foretell new storms to those already spent.
1590Which when her sad-beholding husband saw,
Amazedly in her sad face he stares.
Her eyes, though sod in tears, looked red and raw,
Her lively color killed with deadly cares.
He hath no power to ask her how she fares.
1595Both stood like old acquaintance in a trance,
Met far from home, wond'ring each other's chance.
At last he takes her by the bloodless hand
And thus begins: "What uncouth ill event
Hath thee befall'n, that thou dost trembling stand?
1600Sweet love, what spite hath thy fair color spent?
Why art thou thus attired in discontent?
Unmask, dear dear, this moody heaviness,
And tell thy grief, that we may give redress."
Three times with sighs she gives her sorrow fire
1605Ere once she can discharge one word of woe.
At length addressed to answer his desire,
She modestly prepares to let them know
Her honor is ta'en prisoner by the foe,
While Collatine and his consorted lords
1610With sad attention long to hear her words.