Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Hardy M. Cook
Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Modern)

"Make me not object to the telltale day.
The light will show charactered in my brow
The story of sweet chastity's decay,
The impious breach of holy wedlock vow.
810Yea, the illiterate that know not how
To cipher what is writ in learnèd books
Will quote my loathsome trespass in my looks."
"The nurse, to still her child, will tell my story
And fright her crying babe with Tarquin's name;
815The orator, to deck his oratory,
Will couple my reproach to Tarquin's shame.
Feast-finding minstrels, tuning my defame,
Will tie the hearers to attend each line,
How Tarquin wrongèd me, I Collatine."
820"Let my good name, that senseless reputation,
For Collatine's dear love be kept unspotted;
If that be made a theme for disputation,
The branches of another root are rotted,
And undeserved reproach to him allotted
825That is as clear from this attaint of mine
As I, ere this, was pure to Collatine."
"O unseen shame, invisible disgrace!
O unfelt sore, crest-wounding, private scar!
Reproach is stamped in Collatinus' face,
830And Tarquin's eye may read the mot afar,
How he in peace is wounded, not in war.
Alas, how many bear such shameful blows,
Which not themselves but he that gives them knows!"
"If, Collatine, thine honor lay in me,
835From me by strong assault it is bereft;
My honey lost, and I, a drone-like bee,
Have no perfection of my summer left,
But robbed and ransacked by injurious theft.
In thy weak hive a wand'ring wasp hath crept
840And sucked the honey which thy chaste bee kept."