Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Quarto, 1594)


So thy suruiuing husband shall remaine
520The scornefull marke of euerie open eye,
Thy kinsmen hang their heads at this disdaine,
Thy issue blur'd with namelesse bastardie;
And thou the author of their obloquie,
Shalt haue thy trespasse cited vp in rimes,
525And sung by children in succeeding times.

But if thou yeeld, I rest thy secret friend,
The fault vnknowne, is as a thought vnacted,
"A little harme done to a great good end,
For lawfull pollicie remaines enacted.
530"The poysonous simple sometime is compacted
In a pure compound; being so applied,
His venome in effect is purified.

Then for thy husband and thy childrens sake,
Tender my suite, bequeath not to their lot
535The shame that from them no deuise can take,
The blemish that will neuer be forgot:
VVorse then a slauish wipe, or birth howrs blot,
For markes discried in mens natiuitie,
Are natures faultes, not their owne infamie.