Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Modern)


Wrapped and confounded in a thousand fears,
Like to a new-killed bird she trembling lies.
She dares not look; yet, winking, there appears
Quick-shifting antics, ugly in her eyes.
460Such shadows are the weak brain's forgeries,
Who, angry that the eyes fly from their lights,
In darkness daunts them with more dreadful sights.
His hand, that yet remains upon her breast,
Rude ram, to batter such an ivory wall,
465May feel her heart, poor citizen, distressed,
Wounding itself to death, rise up and fall,
Beating her bulk, that his hand shakes withal.
This moves in him more rage and lesser pity
To make the breach and enter this sweet city.
470First, like a trumpet, doth his tongue begin
To sound a parley to his heartless foe,
Who o'er the white sheet peers her whiter chin,
The reason of this rash alarm to know,
Which he by dumb demeanor seeks to show;
475But she with vehement prayers urgeth still
Under what color he commits this ill.
Thus he replies, "The color in thy face,
That even for anger makes the lily pale
And the red rose blush at her own disgrace,
480Shall plead for me and tell my loving tale.
Under that color am I come to scale
Thy never-conquered fort; the fault is thine,
For those thine eyes betray thee unto mine."
"Thus I forestall thee, if thou mean to chide;
485Thy beauty hath ensnared thee to this night,
Where thou with patience must my will abide,
My will that marks thee for my earth's delight,
Which I to conquer sought with all my might;
But as reproof and reason beat it dead,
490By thy bright beauty was it newly bred."