Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Quarto, 1594)


O that is gone for which I sought to liue,
And therefore now I need not feare to die,
To cleare this spot by death (at least) I giue
A badge of Fame to sclanders liuerie,
1055A dying life, to liuing infamie:
Poore helplesse helpe, the treasure stolne away,
To burne the guiltlesse casket where it lay.
VVell well deare COLATINE, thou shalt not know
The stained tast of violated troth:
1060I will not wrong thy true affection so,
To flatter thee with an infringed oath:
This bastard graffe shall neuer come to growth,
He shall not boast who did thy stocke pollute,
That thou art doting father of his fruite.
1065Nor shall he smile at thee in secret thought,
Nor laugh with his companions at thy state,
But thou shalt know thy intrest was not bought
Basely with gold, but stolne from foorth thy gate.
For me I am the mistresse of my fate,
1070And with my trespasse neuer will dispence,
Till life to death acquit my forst offence.
I will not poyson thee with my attaint,
Nor fold my fault in cleanly coin'd excuses,
My sable ground of sinne I will not paint,
1075To hide the truth of this false nights abuses.
My tongue shall vtter all, mine eyes like sluces,
As from a mountaine spring that feeds a dale,
Shal gush pure streams to purge my impure tale.
By this lamenting Philomele had ended
1080The well-tun'd warble of her nightly sorrow,
And solemne night with slow sad gate descended
To ouglie Hell, when loe the blushing morrow
Lends light to all faire eyes that light will borrow.
But cloudie LVCRECE shames her selfe to see,
1085And therefore still in night would cloistred be.