Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Quarto, 1594)


VVhy COLATINE, is woe the cure for woe?
Do wounds helpe wounds, or griefe helpe greeuous
Is it reuenge to giue thy selfe a blow,
For his fowle Act, by whom the faire wife bleeds?
1825Such childish humor from weake minds proceeds,
Thy wretched wife mistooke the matter so,
To slaie her selfe that should haue slaine her Foe.
Couragious Romaine, do not steepe thy hart
In such relenting dew of Lamentations,
1830But kneele with me and helpe to beare thy part,
To rowse our Romaine Gods with inuocations,
That they will suffer these abhominations.
(Since Rome her self in thē doth stand disgraced,)
By our strong arms frō forth her fair streets chaced.
1835Now by the Capitoll that we adore,
And by this chast bloud so vniustlie stained,
By heauens faire sun that breeds the fat earths store,
By all our countrey rights in Rome maintained,
And by chast LVCRECE soule that late complained
1840Her wrongs to vs, and by this bloudie knife,
VVe will reuenge the death of this true wife.
This sayd, he strooke his hand vpon his breast,
And kist the fatall knife to end his vow:
And to his protestation vrg'd the rest,
1845VVho wondring at him, did his words allow.
Then ioyntlie to the ground their knees they bow,
And that deepe vow which BRVTVS made before,
He doth againe repeat, and that they swore.
VVhen they had sworne to this aduised doome,
1850They did conclude to beare dead LVCRECE thence,
To shew her bleeding bodie thorough Roome,
And so to publish TARQVINS fowle offence;
VVhich being done, with speedie diligence,
The Romaines plausibly did giue consent,
1855To TARQVINS euerlasting banishment.