Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Quarto, 1594)


Daughter, deare daughter, old LVCRETIVS cries,
That life was mine which thou hast here depriued,
If in the childe the fathers image lies,
VVhere shall I liue now LVCRECE is vnliued?
1755Thou wast not to this end from me deriued.
If children prædecease progenitours,
VVe are their ofspring and they none of ours.
Poore broken glasse, I often did behold
In thy sweet semblance, my old age new borne,
1760But now that faire fresh mirror dim and old
Shewes me a bare-bon'd death by time out-worne,
O from thy cheekes my image thou hast torne,
And shiuerd all the beautie of my glasse,
That I no more can see what once I was.
1765O time cease thou thy course and last no longer,
If they surcease to be that should suruiue:
Shall rotten death make conquest of the stronger,
And leaue the foultring feeble soules aliue?
The old Bees die, the young possesse their hiue,
1770Then liue sweet LVCRECE, liue againe and see
Thy father die, and not thy father thee.
By this starts COLATINE as from a dreame,
And bids LVCRECIVS giue his sorrow place,
And than in key-cold LVCRECE bleeding streame
1775He fals, and bathes the pale feare in his face,
And counterfaits to die with her a space,
Till manly shame bids him possesse his breath,
And liue to be reuenged on her death.
The deepe vexation of his inward soule,
1780Hath seru'd a dumbe arrest vpon his tongue,
VVho mad that sorrow should his vse controll,
Or keepe him from heart-easing words so long,
Begins to talke, but through his lips do throng
VVeake words, so thick come in his poor harts aid,
1785That no man could distinguish what he said.