Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Modern)

"When truth and virtue have to do with thee,
A thousand crosses keep them from thy aid.
They buy thy help, but sin ne'er gives a fee;
He gratis comes, and thou art well apaid
915As well to hear as grant what he hath said.
My Collatine would else have come to me
When Tarquin did, but he was stayed by thee."
"Guilty thou art of murder and of theft,
Guilty of perjury and subornation,
920Guilty of treason, forgery, and shift,
Guilty of incest, that abomination:
An accessory by thine inclination
To all sins past and all that are to come,
From the creation to the general doom."
925"Misshapen Time, copesmate of ugly Night,
Swift subtle post, carrier of grisly care,
Eater of youth, false slave to false delight,
Base watch of woes, sin's packhorse, virtue's snare.
Thou nursest all, and murd'rest all that are.
930O, hear me then, injurious shifting Time,
Be guilty of my death, since of my crime."
"Why hath thy servant Opportunity
Betrayed the hours thou gav'st me to repose,
Canceled my fortunes and enchainèd me
935To endless date of never-ending woes?
Time's office is to fine the hate of foes,
To eat up errors by opinion bred,
Not spend the dowry of a lawful bed."
"Time's glory is to calm contending kings,
940To unmask falsehood and bring truth to light,
To stamp the seal of time in agèd things,
To wake the morn and sentinel the night,
To wrong the wronger till he render right,
To ruinate proud buildings with thy hours,
945And smear with dust their glitt'ring golden towers."