Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Modern)


"Daughter, dear daughter," old Lucretius cries,
"That life was mine which thou hast here deprived.
If in the child the father's image lies,
Where shall I live now Lucrece is unlived?
1755Thou wast not to this end from me derived.
If children predecease progenitors,
We are their offspring, and they none of ours."
"Poor broken glass, I often did behold
In thy sweet semblance my old age new born;
1760But now that fair fresh mirror, dim and old,
Shows me a bare-boned death by time outworn.
O, from thy cheeks my image thou hast torn,
And shivered all the beauty of my glass,
That I no more can see what once I was."
1765"O time, cease thou thy course and last no longer,
If they surcease to be that should survive.
Shall rotten death make conquest of the stronger
And leave the falt'ring feeble souls alive?
The old bees die, the young possess their hive.
1770Then live, sweet Lucrece, live again and see
Thy father die, and not thy father thee."
By this starts Collatine as from a dream,
And bids Lucretius give his sorrow place;
And then in key-cold Lucrece' bleeding stream
1775He falls and bathes the pale fear in his face
And counterfeits to die with her a space,
Till manly shame bids him possess his breath
And live to be revengèd on her death.
The deep vexation of his inward soul
1780Hath served a dumb arrest upon his tongue,
Who, mad that sorrow should his use control,
Or keep him from heart-easing words so long,
Begins to talk; but through his lips do throng
Weak words, so thick come in his poor heart's aid
1785That no man could distinguish what he said.