Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Quarto, 1594)


THE RAPE OF LVCRECE.

15For he the night before in Tarquins Tent,
Vnlockt the treasure of his happie state:
VVhat priselesse wealth the heauens had him lent,
In the possession of his beauteous mate.
Reckning his fortune at such high proud rate,
20That Kings might be espowsed to more fame,
But King nor Peere to such a peerelesse dame.

O happinesse enioy'd but of a few,
And if possest as soone decayed and done:
As is the mornings siluer melting dew,
25Against the golden splendour of the Sunne.
An expir'd date canceld ere well begunne.
Honour and Beautie in the owners armes,
Are weakelie fortrest from a world ofharmes.

Beautie it selfe doth of it selfe perswade,
30The eies of men without an Orator,
VVhat needeth then Apologies be made
To set forth that which is so singuler?
Or why is Colatine the publisher
Of that rich iewell he should keepe vnknown,
35From theeuish eares because it is his owne?
Perchance