Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: Lucrece (Modern)
  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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 (Modern)

    He like a thievish dog creeps sadly thence;
    She like a wearied lamb lies panting there.
    He scowls and hates himself for his offense;
    She, desperate, with her nails her flesh doth tear.
    740He faintly flies, sweating with guilty fear;
    She stays, exclaiming on the direful night;
    He runs and chides his vanished loathed delight.
    He thence departs a heavy convertite;
    She there remains a hopeless castaway.
    745He in his speed looks for the morning light;
    She prays she never may behold the day.
    "For day," quoth she, "night's scapes doth open lay,
    And my true eyes have never practiced how
    To cloak offenses with a cunning brow."
    750"They think not but that every eye can see
    The same disgrace which they themselves behold;
    And therefore would they still in darkness be,
    To have their unseen sin remain untold.
    For they their guilt with weeping will unfold,
    755And grave, like water that doth eat in steel,
    Upon my cheeks, what helpless shame I feel."
    Here she exclaims against repose and rest
    And bids her eyes hereafter still be blind.
    She wakes her heart by beating on her breast,
    760And bids it leap from thence, where it may find
    Some purer chest to close so pure a mind.
    Frantic with grief thus breathes she forth her spite
    Against the unseen secrecy of night.
    "O comfort-killing Night, image of hell,
    765Dim register and notary of shame,
    Black stage for tragedies and murders fell,
    Vast sin-concealing chaos, nurse of blame,
    Blind muffled bawd, dark harbor for defame,
    Grim cave of death, whisp'ring conspirator
    770With close-tongued treason and the ravisher!"