Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Quarto, 1594)

His Faulchon on a flint he softly smiteth,
That from the could stone sparkes of fire doe flie,
VVhereat a waxen torch forthwith he lighteth,
VVhich must be lodestarre to his lustfull eye.
180And to the flame thus speakes aduisedlie;
As from this cold flint I enforst this fire,
So LVCRECE must I force to my desire.
Here pale with feare he doth premeditate,
The daungers of his lothsome enterprise:
185And in his inward mind he doth debate,
VVhat following sorrow may on this arise.
Then looking scornfully, he doth despise
His naked armour of still slaughtered lust,
And iustly thus controlls his thoughts vniust.
190Faire torch burne out thy light, and lend it not
To darken her whose light excelleth thine:
And die vnhallowed thoughts, before you blot
VVith your vncleannesse, that which is deuine:
Offer pure incense to so pure a shrine:
195Let faire humanitie abhor the deede,
That spots & stains loues modest snow-white weed.
O shame to knighthood, and to shining Armes,
O foule dishonor to my houshoulds graue:
O impious act including all foule harmes.
200A martiall man to be soft fancies slaue,
True valour still a true respect should haue,
Then my digression is so vile, so base,
That it will liue engrauen in my face.
Yea though I die the scandale will suruiue,
205And be an eie-sore in my golden coate:
Some lothsome dash the Herrald will contriue,
To cipher me how fondlie I did dote:
That my posteritie sham'd with the note
Shall curse my bones, and hold it for no sinne,
210To wish that I their father had not beene.