Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Quarto, 1594)


VVhen Trueth and Vertue haue to do with thee,
A thousand crosses keepe them from thy aide:
They buie thy helpe, but sinne nere giues a fee,
He gratis comes, and thou art well apaide,
915As well to heare, as graunt what he hath saide.
My COLATINE would else haue come to me,
VVhen TARQVIN did, but he was staied by thee.
Guilty thou art of murther, and of theft,
Guilty of periurie, and subornation,
920Guilty of treason, forgerie, and shift,
Guilty of incest that abhomination,
An accessarie by thine inclination.
To all sinnes past and all that are to come,
From the creation to the generall doome.
925Misshapen time, copesmate of vgly night,
Swift subtle post, carrier of grieslie care,
Eater of youth, false slaue to false delight:
Base watch of woes, sins packhorse, vertues snare.
Thou noursest all, and murthrest all that are.
930O heare me then, iniurious shifting time,
Be guiltie of my death since of my crime.
VVhy hath thy seruant opportunity
Betraide the howres thou gau'st me to repose?
Canceld my fortunes, and inchained me
935To endlesse date of neuer-ending woes?
Times office is to fine the hate offoes,
To eate vp errours by opinion bred,
Not spend the dowrie of a lawfull bed.
Times glorie is to calme contending Kings,
940To vnmaske falshood, and bring truth to light,
To stampe the seale of time in aged things,
To wake the morne, and Centinell the night,
To wrong the wronger till he render right,
To ruinate proud buildings with thy howres,
945And smeare with dust their glitring golden towrs.