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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    But if thou yeeld, I rest thy secret friend,
    The fault vnknowne, is as a thought vnacted,
    "A little harme done to a great good end,
    For lawfull pollicie remaines enacted.
    530"The poysonous simple sometime is compacted
    In a pure compound; being so applied,
    His venome in effect is purified.
    Then for thy husband and thy childrens sake,
    Tender my suite, bequeath not to their lot
    535The shame that from them no deuise can take,
    The blemish that will neuer be forgot:
    Worse then a slauish wipe, or birth howrs blot,
    For markes discried in mens natiuitie,
    Are natures faultes, not their owne infamie.
    540Here with a Cockeatrice dead killing eye,
    He rowseth vp himselfe, and makes a pause,
    While shee the picture of pure pietie,
    Like a white Hinde vnder the grypes sharpe clawes,
    Pleades in a wildernesse where are no lawes,
    545 To the rough beast, that knowes no gentle right,
    Nor ought obayes but his fowle appetite.
    But when a black-fac'd clowd the world doth thret,
    In his dim mist th'aspiring mountaines hiding:
    From earths dark-womb, some gentle gust doth get,
    550Which blow these pitchie vapours frō their biding:
    Hindring their present fall by this deuiding.
    So his vnhallowed hast her words delayes,
    And moodie PLVTO winks while Orpheus playes.
    Yet fowle night-waking Cat he doth but dallie,
    555While in his hold-fast foot the weak mouse pāteth,
    Her sad behauiour feedes his vulture follie,
    A swallowing gulfe that euen in plentie wanteth.
    His eare her prayers admits, but his heart granteth
    No penetrable entrance to her playning,
    560 "Tears harden lust though marble were with ray-ning.