Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Quarto, 1594)


And now this pale Swan in her watrie nest,
Begins the sad Dirge of her certaine ending,
Few words (quoth shee) shall fit the trespasse best,
VVhere no excuse can giue the fault amending.
1615In me moe woes then words are now depending,
And my laments would be drawn out too long,
To tell them all with one poore tired tong.
Then be this all the taske it hath to say,
Deare husband in the interest of thy bed
1620A stranger came, and on that pillow lay,
VVhere thou wast wont to rest thy wearie head,
And what wrong else may be imagined,
By foule inforcement might be done to me,
From that (alas) thy LVCRECE is not free.
1625For in the dreadfull dead of darke midnight,
VVith shining Fauchion in my chamber came
A creeping creature with a flaming light,
And softly cried, awake thou Romaine Dame,
And entertaine my loue, else lasting shame
1630On thee and thine this night I will inflict,
If thou my loues desire do contradict.
For some hard fauour'd Groome of thine, quoth he,
Vnlesse thou yoke thy liking to my will
Ile murther straight, and then ile slaughter thee,
1635And sweare I found you where you did fulfill
The lothsome act of Lust, and so did kill
The lechors in their deed, this Act will be
My Fame, and thy perpetuall infamy.
VVith this I did begin to start and cry,
1640And then against my heart he set his sword,
Swearing, vnlesse I tooke all patiently,
I should not liue to speake another word.
So should my shame still rest vpon record,
And neuer be forgot in mightie Roome
1645Th'adulterat death of LVCRECE, and her Groome.