Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Quarto, 1594)


I see what crosses my attempt will bring,
I know what thornes the growing rose defends,
I thinke the honie garded with a sting,
All this before-hand counsell comprehends.
495But VVill is deafe, and hears no heedfull friends,
Onely he hath an eye to gaze on Beautie,
And dotes on what he looks, gainst law or duety.
I haue debated euen in my soule,
VVhat wrong, what shame, what sorrow I shal breed,
500But nothing can affections course controull,
Or stop the headlong furie of his speed.
I know repentant teares insewe the deed,
Reproch, disdaine, and deadly enmity,
Yet striue I to embrace mine infamy.
505This said, hee shakes aloft his Romaine blade,
VVhich like a Faulcon towring in the skies,
Cowcheth the fowle below with his wings shade,
VVhose crooked beake threats, if he mount he dies.
So vnder his insulting Fauchion lies
510Harmelesse LVCRETIA marking what he tels,
VVith trembling feare: as fowl hear Faulcōs bels.
LVCRECE, quoth he, this night I must enioy thee,
If thou deny, then force must worke my way:
For in thy bed I purpose to destroie thee.
515That done, some worthlesse slaue of thine ile slay.
To kill thine Honour with thy liues decaie.
And in thy dead armes do I meane to place him,
Swearing I slue him seeing thee imbrace him.
So thy suruiuing husband shall remaine
520The scornefull marke of euerie open eye,
Thy kinsmen hang their heads at this disdaine,
Thy issue blur'd with namelesse bastardie;
And thou the author of their obloquie,
Shalt haue thy trespasse cited vp in rimes,
525And sung by children in succeeding times.