Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Quarto, 1594)


This silent warre of Lillies and of Roses,
VVhich TARQVIN vew'd in her faire faces field,
In their pure rankes his traytor eye encloses,
VVhere least betweene them both it should be kild.
75The coward captiue vanquished, doth yeeld
To those two Armies that would let him goe,
Rather then triumph in so false a foe.
Now thinkes he that her husbands shallow tongue,
The niggard prodigall that praisde her so:
80In that high taske hath done her Beauty wrong.
VVhich farre exceedes his barren skill to show.
Therefore that praise which COLATINE doth owe,
Inchaunted TARQVIN aunswers with surmise,
In silent wonder of still gazing eyes.
85This earthly sainct adored by this deuill,
Little suspecteth the false worshipper:
"For vnstaind thoughts do seldom dream on euill.
"Birds neuer lim'd, no secret bushes feare:
So guiltlesse shee securely giues good cheare,
90And reuerend welcome to her princely guest,
VVhose inward ill no outward harme exprest.
For that he colourd with his high estate,
Hiding base sin in pleats of Maiestie:
That nothing in him seemd inordinate,
95Saue sometime too much wonder of his eye,
VVhich hauing all, all could not satisfie;
But poorly rich so wanteth in his store,
That cloy'd with much, he pineth still for more.
But she that neuer cop't with straunger eies,
100Could picke no meaning from their parling lookes,
Nor read the subtle shining secrecies,
VVrit in the glassie margents of such bookes,
Shee toucht no vnknown baits, nor feard no hooks,
Nor could shee moralize his wanton sight,
105More then his eies were opend to the light.