Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Quarto, 1594)


Deare Lord of that deare iewell I haue lost,
VVhat legacie shall I bequeath to thee?
My resolution loue shall be thy bost,
By whose example thou reueng'd mayst be.
1195How TARQVIN must be vs'd, read it in me,
My selfe thy friend will kill my selfe thy fo,
And for my sake serue thou false TARQVIN so.
This briefe abridgement of my will I make,
My soule and bodie to the skies and ground:
1200My resolution Husband doe thou take,
Mine Honor be the knifes that makes my wound,
My shame be his that did my Fame confound;
And all my Fame that liues disbursed be,
To those that liue and thinke no shame of me.
1205Thou COLATINE shalt ouersee this will,
How was I ouerseene that thou shalt see it?
My bloud shall wash the sclander of mine ill,
My liues foule deed my lifes faire end shall free it.
Faint not faint heart, but stoutlie say so be it,
1210Yeeld to my hand, my hand shall conquer thee,
Thou dead, both die, and both shall victors be.
This plot of death when sadlie shee had layd,
And wip't the brinish pearle from her bright eies,
VVith vntun'd tongue shee hoarslie cals her mayd,
1215VVhose swift obedience to her mistresse hies.
"For fleet-wing'd duetie with thoghts feathers flies,
Poore LVCRECE cheeks vnto her maid seem so,
As winter meads when sun doth melt their snow.
Her mistresse shee doth giue demure good morrow,
1220VVith soft slow-tongue, true marke of modestie,
And sorts a sad looke to her Ladies sorrow,
(For why her face wore sorrowes liuerie.)
But durst not aske of her audaciouslie,
VVhy her two suns were clowd ecclipsed so,
1225Nor why her faire cheeks ouer-washt with woe.