Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Quarto, 1594)


1695At this request, with noble disposition,
Each present Lord began to promise aide,
As bound in Knighthood to her imposition,
Longing to heare the hatefull Foe bewraide.
But shee that yet her sad taske hath not said,
1700The protestation stops, ô speake quoth shee,
How may this forced staine be wip'd from me?

VVhat is the qualitie of my offence
Being constrayn'd with dreadfull circumstance?
May my pure mind with the fowle act dispence
1705My low declined Honor to aduance?
May anie termes acquit me from this chance?
The poysoned fountaine cleares it selfe againe,
And why not I from this compelled staine?

VVith this they all at once began to saie,
1710Her bodies staine, her mind vntainted cleares,
VVhile with a ioylesse smile, shee turnes awaie
The face, that map which deepe impression beares
Of hard misfortune, caru'd it in with tears.
No no, quoth shee, no Dame hereafter liuing,
1715By my excuse shall claime excuses giuing.