Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Quarto, 1594)


A prettie while these prettie creatures stand,
Like Iuorie conduits corall cesterns filling:
1235One iustlie weepes, the other takes in hand
No cause, but companie of her drops spilling.
Their gentle sex to weepe are often willing,
Greeuing themselues to gesse at others smarts,
And thē they drown their eies, or break their harts.

1240For men haue marble, women waxen mindes,
And therefore are they form'd as marble will,
The weake opprest, th'impression of strange kindes
Is form'd in them by force, by fraud, or skill.
Then call them not the Authors of their ill,
1245No more then waxe shall be accounted euill,
VVherein is stampt the semblance of a Deuill.

Their smoothnesse; like a goodly champaine plaine,
Laies open all the little wormes that creepe,
In men as in a rough-growne groue remaine.
1250Caue-keeping euils that obscurely sleepe.
Through christall wals ech little mote will peepe,
Though mē cā couer crimes with bold stern looks,
Poore womens faces are their owne faults books.