Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Quarto, 1594)

Make me not obiect to the tell-tale day,
The light will shew characterd in my brow,
The storie of sweete chastities decay,
The impious breach of holy wedlocke vowe.
810Yea the illiterate that know not how
To cipher what is writ in learned bookes,
VVill cote my lothsome trespasse in my lookes.
The nourse to still her child will tell my storie,
And fright her crying babe with TARQVINS name.
815The Orator to decke his oratorie,
VVill couple my reproch to TARQVINS shame.
Feast-finding minstrels tuning my defame,
VVill tie the hearers to attend ech line,
How TARQVIN wronged me, I COLATINE.
820Let my good name, that sencelesse reputation,
For COLATINES deare loue be kept vnspotted:
If that be made a theame for disputation,
The branches of another roote are rotted;
And vndeseru'd reproch to him alotted,
825That is as cleare from this attaint of mine,
As I ere this was pure to COLATINE.
O vnseene shame, inuisible disgrace,
O vnfelt sore, crest-wounding priuat scarre!
Reproch is stampt in COLATINVS face,
830And TARQVINS eye maie read the mot a farre,
"How he in peace is wounded not in warre.
"Alas how manie beare such shamefull blowes,
VVhich not thēselues but he that giues thē knowes.
If COLATINE, thine honor laie in me,
835From me by strong assault it is bereft:
My Honnie lost, and I a Drone-like Bee,
Haue no perfection of my sommer left,
But rob'd and ransak't by iniurious theft.
In thy weake Hiue a wandring waspe hath crept,
840And suck't the Honnie which thy chast Bee kept.