Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Quarto, 1594)

Her letter now is seal'd, and on it writ
At ARDEA to my Lord with more then hast,
The Post attends, and shee deliuers it,
Charging the sowr-fac'd groome, to high as fast
1335As lagging fowles before the Northerne blast,
Speed more then speed, but dul & slow she deems,
Extremity still vrgeth such extremes.
The homelie villaine cursies to her low,
And blushing on her with a stedfast eye,
1340Receaues the scroll without or yea or no,
And forth with bashfull innocence doth hie.
But they whose guilt within their bosomes lie,
Imagine euerie eye beholds their blame,
For LVCRECE thought, he blusht to see her shame.
1345VVhen seelie Groome (God wot) it was defect
Of spirite, life, and bold audacitie,
Such harmlesse creatures haue a true respect
To talke in deeds, while others saucilie
Promise more speed, but do it leysurelie.
1350Euen so this patterne of the worne-out age,
Pawn'd honest looks, but laid no words to gage.
His kindled duetie kindled her mistrust,
That two red fires in both their faces blazed,
Shee thought he blusht, as knowing TARQVINS lust,
1355And blushing with him, wistlie on him gazed,
Her earnest eye did make him more amazed.
The more shee saw the bloud his cheeks replenish,
The more she thought he spied in her som blemish.
But long shee thinkes till he returne againe,
1360And yet the dutious vassall scarce is gone,
The wearie time shee cannot entertaine,
For now tis stale to sigh, to weepe, and grone,
So woe hath wearied woe, mone tired mone,
That shee her plaints a little while doth stay,
1365Pawsing for means to mourne some newer way.