Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Quarto, 1594)


The ayme of all is but to nourse the life,
VVith honor, wealth, and ease in wainyng age:
And in this ayme there is such thwarting strife,
That one for all, or all for one we gage:
145As life for honour, in fell battailes rage,
Honor for wealth, and oft that wealth doth cost
The death of all, and altogether lost.

So that in ventring ill, we leaue to be
The things we are, for that which we expect:
150And this ambitious foule infirmitie,
In hauing much torments vs with defect
Of that we haue: so then we doe neglect
The thing we haue, and all for want of wit,
Make something nothing, by augmenting it.

155Such hazard now must doting TARQVIN make,
Pawning his honor to obtaine his lust,
And for himselfe, himselfe he must forsake.
Then where is truth if there be no selfe-trust?
VVhen shall he thinke to find a stranger iust,
160VVhen he himselfe, himselfe confounds, betraies,
To sclandrous tongues & wretched hateful daies?