Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Modern)


Her lily hand her rosy cheek lies under,
Coz'ning the pillow of a lawful kiss,
Who, therefore angry, seems to part in sunder,
Swelling on either side to want his bliss;
390Between whose hills her head entombèd is;
Where like a virtuous monument she lies,
To be admired of lewd unhallowed eyes.
Without the bed her other fair hand was,
On the green coverlet whose perfect white
395Showed like an April daisy on the grass,
With pearly sweat resembling dew of night.
Her eyes, like marigolds, had sheathed their light,
And canopied in darkness sweetly lay
Till they might open to adorn the day.
400Her hair, like golden threads, played with her breath,
O modest wantons, wanton modesty!
Showing life's triumph in the map of death,
And death's dim look in life's mortality.
Each in her sleep themselves so beautify,
405As if between them twain there were no strife,
But that life lived in death and death in life.
Her breasts like ivory globes circled with blue,
A pair of maiden worlds unconquerèd,
Save of their lord no bearing yoke they knew,
410And him by oath they truly honorèd.
These worlds in Tarquin new ambition bred,
Who like a foul usurper went about
From this fair throne to heave the owner out.
What could he see, but mightily he noted?
415What did he note, but strongly he desired?
What he beheld, on that he firmly doted,
And in his will his willful eye he tired.
With more than admiration he admired
Her azure veins, her alabaster skin,
420Her coral lips, her snow-white dimpled chin.