Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Quarto, 1594)


And from the strond of DARDAN where they fought,
To SIMOIS reedie bankes the red bloud ran,
VVhose waues to imitate the battaile sought
VVith swelling ridges, and their rankes began
1440To breake vppon the galled shore, and than
Retire againe, till meeting greater ranckes
They ioine, & shoot their fome at SIMOIS bancks.
To this well painted peece is LVCRECE come,
To find a face where all distresse is steld,
1445Manie shee sees, where cares haue carued some,
But none where all distresse and dolor dweld,
Till shee dispayring HECVBA beheld,
Staring on PRIAMS wounds with her old eyes,
VVhich bleeding vnder PIRRHVS proud foot lies.
1450In her the Painter had anathomiz'd
Times ruine, beauties wracke, and grim cares raign,
Her cheeks with chops and wrincles were disguiz'd,
Of what shee was, no semblance did remaine:
Her blew bloud chang'd to blacke in euerie vaine,
1455VVanting the spring, that those shrunke pipes had
Shew'd life imprison'd in a bodie dead.
On this sad shadow LVCRECE spends her eyes,
And shapes her sorrow to the Beldames woes,
VVho nothing wants to answer her but cries,
1460And bitter words to ban her cruell Foes.
The Painter was no God to lend her those,
And therefore LVCRECE swears he did her wrong,
To giue her so much griefe, and not a tong.
Poore Instrument (quoth shee) without a sound,
1465Ile tune thy woes with my lamenting tongue,
And drop sweet Balme in PRIAMS painted wound,
And raile on PIRRHVS that hath done him wrong;
And with my tears quench Troy that burns so long;
And with my knife scratch out the angrie eyes,
1470Of all the Greekes that are thine enemies.