Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Modern)

"O Opportunity, thy guilt is great!
'Tis thou that execut'st the traitor's treason;
Thou sets the wolf where he the lamb may get;
Who ever plots the sin, thou point'st the season.
880'Tis thou that spurn'st at right, at law, at reason;
And in thy shady cell, where none may spy him,
Sits sin to seize the souls that wander by him."
"Thou mak'st the vestal violate her oath,
Thou blow'st the fire when temperance is thawed,
885Thou smother'st honesty, thou murder'st troth.
Thou foul abettor, thou notorious bawd,
Thou plantest scandal and displacest laud.
Thou ravisher, thou traitor, thou false thief,
Thy honey turns to gall, thy joy to grief."
890"Thy secret pleasure turns to open shame,
Thy private feasting to a public fast,
Thy smoothing titles to a ragged name,
Thy sugared tongue to bitter wormwood taste.
Thy violent vanities can never last.
895How comes it then, vile Opportunity,
Being so bad, such numbers seek for thee?"
"When wilt thou be the humble suppliant's friend,
And bring him where his suit may be obtained?
When wilt thou sort an hour great strifes to end,
900Or free that soul which wretchedness hath chained,
Give physic to the sick, ease to the pained?
The poor, lame, blind, halt, creep, cry out for thee,
But they ne'er meet with Opportunity."
"The patient dies while the physician sleeps;
905The orphan pines while the oppressor feeds;
Justice is feasting while the widow weeps;
Advice is sporting while infection breeds.
Thou grant'st no time for charitable deeds.
Wrath, envy, treason, rape, and murder's rages,
910Thy heinous hours wait on them as their pages."