Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Quarto, 1594)

Let him haue time to teare his curled haire,
Let him haue time against himselfe to raue,
Let him haue time of times helpe to dispaire,
Let him haue time to liue a lothed slaue,
985Let him haue time a beggers orts to craue,
And time to see one that by almes doth liue,
Disdaine to him disdained scraps to giue.
Let him haue time to see his friends his foes,
And merrie fooles to mocke at him resort:
990Let him haue time to marke how slow time goes
In time of sorrow, and how swift and short
His time of follie, and his time of sport.
And euer let his vnrecalling crime
Haue time to waile th'abusing ofhis time.
995O time thou tutor both to good and bad,
Teach me to curse him that thou taught'st this ill:
At his owne shadow let the theefe runne mad,
Himselfe, himselfe seeke euerie howre to kill,
Such wretched hāds such wretched blood shuld spill.
1000For who so base would such an office haue,
As sclandrous deaths-man to so base a slaue.
The baser is he comming from a King,
To shame his hope with deedes degenerate,
The mightier man the mightier is the thing
1005That makes him honord, or begets him hate:
For greatest scandall waits on greatest state.
The Moone being clouded, presently is mist,
But little stars may hide them when they list.
The Crow may bath his coaleblacke wings in mire,
1010And vnperceau'd flie with the filth away,
But if the like the snow-white Swan desire,
The staine vppon his siluer Downe will stay.
Poore grooms are sightles night, kings glorious day,
Gnats are vnnoted wheresoere they flie,
1015But Eagles gaz'd vppon with euerie eye.