Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Quarto, 1594)


THE RAPE OF LVCRECE.

Poore Instrument (quoth shee) without a sound,
1465Ile tune thy woes with my lamenting tongue,
And drop sweet Balme in PRIAMS painted wound,
And raile on PIRRHVS that hath done him wrong;
And with my tears quench Troy that burns so long;
And with my knife scratch out the angrie eyes,
1470Of all the Greekes that are thine enemies.

Shew me the strumpet that began this stur,
That with my nailes her beautie I may teare:
Thy heat of lust fond PARIS did incur
This lode of wrath, that burning Troy doth beare;
1475Thy eye kindled the fire that burneth here,
And here in Troy for trespasse of thine eye,
The Sire, the sonne, the Dame and daughter die.

VVhy should the priuate pleasure of some one
Become the publicke plague of manie moe?
1480Let sinne alone committed, light alone
Vppon his head that hath transgressed so.
Let guiltlesse soules be freed from guilty woe,
For ones offence why should so many fall?
To plague a priuate sinne in generall.