Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Modern)


Yet sometime "Tarquin" was pronouncèd plain,
But through his teeth, as if the name he tore.
This windy tempest, till it blow up rain,
Held back his sorrow's tide to make it more.
1790At last it rains, and busy winds give o'er;
Then son and father weep with equal strife
Who should weep most, for daughter or for wife.
The one doth call her his, the other his,
Yet neither may possess the claim they lay.
1795The father says, "She's mine." "O, mine she is,"
Replies her husband. "Do not take away
My sorrow's interest. Let no mourner say
He weeps for her, for she was only mine,
And only must be wailed by Collatine."
1800"O," quoth Lucretius, "I did give that life
Which she to early and too late hath spilled."
"Woe, woe," quoth Collatine, "she was my wife.
I owed her, and 'tis mine that she hath killed."
"My daughter" and "my wife" with clamors filled
1805The dispersed air, who, holding Lucrece' life,
Answered their cries, "my daughter" and "my wife."
Brutus, who plucked the knife from Lucrece' side,
Seeing such emulation in their woe,
Began to clothe his wit in state and pride,
1810Burying in Lucrece wound his folly's show.
He with the Romans was esteemèd so
As silly jeering idiots are with kings,
For sportive words and utt'ring foolish things.
But now he throws that shallow habit by
1815Wherein deep policy did him disguise,
And armed his long-hid wits advisedly
To check the tears in Collatinus' eyes.
"Thou wrongèd lord of Rome," quoth he, "arise.
Let my unsounded self, supposed a fool,
1820Now set thy long-experienced wit to school."