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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    To kill my selfe, quoth shee, alacke what were it,
    But with my body my poore soules pollusion?
    They that loose halfe with greater patience beare it,
    Then they whose whole is swallowed in confusion.
    1160That mother tries a mercilesse conclusion,
    Who hauing two sweet babes, when death takes (one,
    Will slay the other, and be nurse to none.
    My bodie or my soule which was the dearer?
    When the one pure, the other made deuine,
    1165Whose loue of eyther to my selfe was nearer?
    When both were kept for Heauen and COLATINE:
    Ay me, the Barke pild from the loftie Pine,
    His leaues will wither, and his sap decay,
    So must my soule her barke being pild away.
    1170Her house is sackt, her quiet interrupted,
    Her mansion batterd by the enemie,
    Her sacred temple spotted, spoild, corrupted,
    Groslie ingirt with daring infamie.
    Then let it not be cald impietie,
    1175 If in this blemisht fort I make some hole,
    Through which I may conuay this troubled soule.
    Yet die I will not, till my COLATINE
    Haue heard the cause of my vntimelie death,
    That he may vow in that sad houre of mine,
    1180Reuenge on him that made me stop my breath,
    My stained bloud to TARQVIN ile bequeath,
    Which by him tainted, shall for him be spent,
    And as his due writ in my testament.
    My Honor ile bequeath vnto the knife
    1185That wounds my bodie so dishonored,
    Tis Honor to depriue dishonord life,
    The one will liue, the other being dead.
    So of shames ashes shall my Fame be bred,
    For in my death I murther shamefull scorne,
    1190 My shame so dead, mine honor is new borne.