Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Quarto, 1594)

Here with a sigh as if her heart would breake,
Shee throwes forth TARQVINS name: he he, she saies,
But more then he, her poore tong could not speake,
Till after manie accents and delaies,
1720Vntimelie breathings, sicke and short assaies,
Shee vtters this, he he faire Lords, tis he
That guides this hand to giue this wound to me.
Euen here she sheathed in her harmlesse breast
A harmfull knife, that thence her soule vnsheathed,
1725That blow did baile it from the deepe vnrest
Of that polluted prison, where it breathed:
Her contrite sighes vnto the clouds bequeathed
Her winged sprite, & through her woūds doth flie
Liues lasting date, from cancel'd destinie.
1730Stone still, astonisht with this deadlie deed,
Stood COLATINE, and all his Lordly crew,
Till LVCRECE Father that beholds her bleed,
Himselfe, on her selfe-slaughtred bodie threw,
And from the purple fountaine BRVTVS drew
1735The murdrous knife, and as it left the place,
Her blood in poore reuenge, held it in chase.
And bubling from her brest, it doth deuide
In two slow riuers, that the crimson bloud
Circles her bodie in on euerie side,
1740VVho like a late sack't Iland vastlie stood
Bare and vnpeopled, in this fearfull flood.
Some of her bloud still pure and red remain'd,
And som look'd black, & that false TARQVIN stain'd.
About the mourning and congealed face
1745Of that blacke bloud, a watrie rigoll goes,
VVhich seemes to weep vpon the tainted place,
And euer since as pittying LVCRECE woes,
Corrupted bloud, some waterie token showes,
And bloud vntainted, still doth red abide,
1750Blushing at that which is so putrified.