Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Quarto, 1594)


645Haue done, quoth he, my vncontrolled tide
Turnes not, but swels the higher by this let.
Small lightes are soone blown out, huge fires abide,
And with the winde in greater furie fret:
The petty streames that paie a dailie det
650To their salt soueraigne with their fresh fals hast,
Adde to his flowe, but alter not his tast.

Thou art, quoth shee, a sea, a soueraigne King,
And loe there fals into thy boundlesse flood,
Blacke lust, dishonor, shame, mis-gouerning,
655VVho seeke to staine the Ocean of thy blood.
If all these pettie ils shall change thy good,
Thy sea within a puddels wombe is hersed,
And not the puddle in thy sea dispersed.

So shall these slaues be King, and thou their slaue,
660Thou noblie base, they baselie dignified:
Thou their faire life, and they thy fowler graue:
Thou lothed in their shame, they in thy pride,
The lesser thing should not the greater hide.
The Cedar stoopes not to the base shrubs foote,
665But low-shrubs wither at the Cedars roote.