Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Quarto, 1594)

Mine enemy was strong, my poore selfe weake,
(And farre the weaker with so strong a feare)
My bloudie Iudge forbod my tongue to speake,
No rightfull plea might plead for Iustice there.
1650His scarlet Lust came euidence to sweare
That my poore beautie had purloin'd his eyes,
And when the Iudge is rob'd, the prisoner dies.
O teach me how to make mine owne excuse,
Or (at the least) this refuge let me finde,
1655Though my grosse bloud be staind with this abuse,
Immaculate, and spotlesse is my mind,
That was not forc'd, that neuer was inclind
To accessarie yeeldings, but still pure
Doth in her poyson'd closet yet endure.
1660Lo heare the hopelesse Marchant of this losse,
VVith head declin'd, and voice dam'd vp with wo,
VVith sad set eyes and wretched armes acrosse,
From lips new waxen pale, begins to blow
The griefe away, that stops his answer so.
1665But wretched as he is he striues in vaine,
VVhat he breaths out, his breath drinks vp again.
As through an Arch, the violent roaring tide,
Outruns the eye that doth behold his hast:
Yet in the Edie boundeth in his pride,
1670Backe to the strait that forst him on so fast:
In rage sent out, recald in rage being past,
Euen so his sighes, his sorrowes make a saw,
To push griefe on, and back the same grief draw.
VVhich speechlesse woe of his poore she attendeth,
1675And his vntimelie frenzie thus awaketh,
Deare Lord, thy sorrow to my sorrow lendeth
Another power, no floud by raining slaketh,
My woe too sencible thy passion maketh
More feeling painfull, let it than suffice
1680To drowne on woe, one paire of weeping eyes.