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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    You mocking Birds (quoth she) your tunes intombe
    Within your hollow swelling feathered breasts,
    And in my hearing be you mute and dumbe,
    My restlesse discord loues no stops nor rests:
    1125"A woefull Hostesse brookes not merrie guests.
    Ralish your nimble notes to pleasing eares,
    "Distres likes dūps whē time is kept with teares.
    Come Philomele that sing'st of rauishment,
    Make thy sad groue in my disheueld heare,
    1130As the danke earth weepes at thy languishment:
    So I at each sad straine, will straine a teare,
    And with deepe grones the Diapason beare:
    For burthen-wise ile hum on TARQVIN still,
    While thou on TEREVS descants better skill.
    1135And whiles against a thorne thou bear'st thy part,
    To keepe thy sharpe woes waking, wretched I
    To imitate thee well, against my heart
    Will fixe a sharpe knife to affright mine eye,
    Who if it winke shall thereon fall and die.
    1140 These meanes as frets vpon an instrument,
    Shal tune our heart-strings to true languishment.
    And for poore bird thou sing'st not in the day,
    As shaming anie eye should thee behold:
    Some darke deepe desert seated from the way,
    1145That knowes not parching heat, nor freezing cold
    Will wee find out: and there we will vnfold
    To creatures stern, sad tunes to change their kinds,
    Since mē proue beasts, let beasts bear gētle minds.
    As the poore frighted Deare that stands at gaze,
    1150Wildly determining which way to flie,
    Or one incompast with a winding maze,
    That cannot tread the way out readilie:
    So with her selfe is shee in mutinie,
    To liue or die which of the twaine were better,
    1155 When life is sham'd and death reproches detter.