Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Quarto, 1594)


Perchance his bost of Lucrece Sou'raigntie,
Suggested this proud issue of a King:
For by our eares our hearts oft taynted be:
Perchance that enuie of so rich a thing
40Brauing compare, disdainefully did sting
His high picht thoughts that meaner men should
That golden hap which their superiors want.
But some vntimelie thought did instigate,
His all too timelesse speede if none of those,
45His honor, his affaires, his friends, his state,
Neglected all, with swift intent he goes,
To quench the coale which in his liuer glowes.
O rash false heate, wrapt in repentant cold,
Thy hastie spring still blasts and nere growes old.
50VVhen at Colatia this false Lord arriued,
VVell was he welcom'd by the Romaine dame,
VVithin whose face Beautie and Vertue striued,
VVhich of them both should vnderprop her fame.
VVhē Vertue brag'd, Beautie wold blush for shame,
55VVhen Beautie bosted blushes, in despight
Vertue would staine that ore with siluer white.
But Beautie in that white entituled,
From Venus doues doth challenge that faire field,
Then Vertue claimes from Beautie, Beauties red,
60VVhich Vertue gaue the golden age, to guild
Their siluer cheekes, and cald it then their shield,
Teaching them thus to vse it in the fight,
VVshame assaild, the red should fēce the white.
This Herauldry in LVCRECE face was seene,
65Argued by Beauties red and Vertues white,
Of eithers colour was the other Queene:
Prouing from worlds minority their right,
Yet their ambition makes them still to fight:
The soueraignty of either being so great,
70That oft they interchange ech others seat.