Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Modern)

"To fill with wormholes stately monuments,
To feed oblivion with decay of things,
To blot old books and alter their contents,
To pluck the quills from ancient ravens' wings,
950To dry the old oak's sap and cherish springs,
To spoil antiquities of hammered steel,
And turn the giddy round of Fortune's wheel;"
"To show the beldame daughters of her daughter,
To make the child a man, the man a child,
955To slay the tiger that doth live by slaughter,
To tame the unicorn and lion wild,
To mock the subtle in themselves beguiled,
To cheer the plowman with increaseful crops,
And waste huge stones with little water drops."
960"Why work'st thou mischief in thy pilgrimage,
Unless thou couldst return to make amends?
One poor retiring minute in an age
Would purchase thee a thousand thousand friends,
Lending him wit that to bad debtors lends.
965O, this dread night, wouldst thou one hour come back,
I could prevent this storm and shun thy wrack."
"Thou ceaseless lackey to eternity,
With some mischance cross Tarquin in his flight.
Devise extremes beyond extremity
970To make him curse this cursèd crimeful night.
Let ghastly shadows his lewd eyes affright,
And the dire thought of his committed evil
Shape every bush a hideous shapeless devil."
"Disturb his hours of rest with restless trances;
975Afflict him in his bed with bedrid groans;
Let there bechance him pitiful mischances
To make him moan, but pity not his moans.
Stone him with hardened hearts harder than stones,
And let mild women to him loose their mildness,
980Wilder to him than tigers in their wildness."