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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    In him the Painter labour'd with his skill
    To hide deceipt, and giue the harmlesse show
    An humble gate, calme looks, eyes wayling still,
    A brow vnbent that seem'd to welcome wo,
    1510Cheeks neither red, nor pale, but mingled so,
    That blushing red, no guiltie instance gaue,
    Nor ashie pale, the feare that false hearts haue.
    But like a constant and confirmed Deuill,
    He entertain'd a show, so seeming iust,
    1515And therein so ensconc't his secret euill,
    That Iealousie it selfe could not mistrust,
    False creeping Craft, and Periurie should thrust
    Into so bright a daie, such blackfac'd storms,
    Or blot with Hell-born sin such Saint-like forms.
    1520The well-skil'd workman this milde Image drew
    For periur'd SINON, whose inchaunting storie
    The credulous old PRIAM after slew.
    Whose words like wild fire burnt the shining glorie
    Of rich-built ILLION, that the skies were sorie,
    1525 And little stars shot from their fixed places,
    Whē their glas fel, wherin they view'd their faces.
    This picture shee aduisedly perus'd,
    And chid the Painter for his wondrous skill:
    Saying, some shape in SINONS was abus'd,
    1530So faire a forme lodg'd not a mind so ill,
    And still on him shee gaz'd, and gazing still,
    Such signes of truth in his plaine face shee spied,
    That shee concludes, the Picture was belied.
    It cannot be (quoth she) that so much guile,
    1535(Shee would haue said) can lurke in such a looke:
    But TARQVINS shape, came in her mind the while,
    And from her tongue, can lurk, from cannot, tooke
    It cannot be, shee in that sence forsooke,
    And turn'd it thus, it cannot be I find,
    1540 But such a face should beare a wicked mind.