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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    O deeper sinne then bottomelesse conceit
    Can comprehend in still imagination!
    Drunken Desire must vomite his receipt
    Ere he can see his owne abhomination.
    705While Lust is in his pride no exclamation
    Can curbe his heat, or reine his rash desire,
    Till like a Iade, self-will himselfe doth tire.
    And then with lanke, and leane discolour'd cheeke,
    With heauie eye, knit-brow, and strengthlesse pace,
    710Feeble desire all recreant, poore and meeke,
    Like to a banckrout begger wailes his cace:
    The flesh being proud, Desire doth fight with grace;
    For there it reuels, and when that decaies,
    The guiltie rebell for remission praies.
    715So fares it with this fault-full Lord of Rome,
    Who this accomplishment so hotly chased,
    For now against himselfe he sounds this doome,
    That through the length of times he stāds disgraced:
    Besides his soules faire temple is defaced,
    720 To whose weake ruines muster troopes of cares,
    To aske the spotted Princesse how she fares.
    Shee sayes her subiects with fowle insurrection,
    Haue batterd downe her consecrated wall,
    And by their mortall fault brought in subiection
    725Her immortalitie, and made her thrall,
    To liuing death and payne perpetuall.
    Which in her prescience shee controlled still,
    But her foresight could not forestall their will.
    Eu'n in this thought through the dark-night he stea-(leth,
    730A captiue victor that hath lost in gaine,
    Bearing away the wound that nothing healeth,
    The scarre that will dispight of Cure remaine,
    Leauing his spoile perplext in greater paine.
    Shee beares the lode of lust he left behinde,
    735 And he the burthen of a guiltie minde.