Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: Lucrece (Quarto, 1594)
  • Editor: Hardy M. Cook
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-411-0

    Copyright Hardy M. Cook. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Hardy M. Cook
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Lucrece (Quarto, 1594)


    The ayme of all is but to nourse the life,
    VVith honor, wealth, and ease in wainyng age:
    And in this ayme there is such thwarting strife,
    That one for all, or all for one we gage:
    145As life for honour, in fell battailes rage,
    Honor for wealth, and oft that wealth doth cost
    The death of all, and altogether lost.

    So that in ventring ill, we leaue to be
    The things we are, for that which we expect:
    150And this ambitious foule infirmitie,
    In hauing much torments vs with defect
    Of that we haue: so then we doe neglect
    The thing we haue, and all for want of wit,
    Make something nothing, by augmenting it.

    155Such hazard now must doting TARQVIN make,
    Pawning his honor to obtaine his lust,
    And for himselfe, himselfe he must forsake.
    Then where is truth if there be no selfe-trust?
    VVhen shall he thinke to find a stranger iust,
    160VVhen he himselfe, himselfe confounds, betraies,
    To sclandrous tongues & wretched hateful daies?