Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Modern)

"Let him have time to tear his curlèd hair,
Let him have time against himself to rave,
Let him have time of Time's help to despair,
Let him have time to live a loathèd slave,
985Let him have time a beggar's orts to crave,
And time to see one that by alms doth live
Disdain to him disdained scraps to give."
"Let him have time to see his friends his foes,
And merry fools to mock at him resort;
990Let him have time to mark how slow time goes
In time of sorrow, and how swift and short
His time of folly and his time of sport;
And ever let his unrecalling crime
Have time to wail th' abusing of his time."
995"O Time, thou tutor both to good and bad,
Teach me to curse him that thou taught'st this ill.
At his own shadow let the thief run mad;
Himself, himself seek every hour to kill.
Such wretched hands such wretched blood should spill,
1000For who so base would such an office have
As sland'rous deathsman to so base a slave?"
"The baser is he, coming from a king,
To shame his hope with deeds degenerate.
The mightier man the mightier is the thing
1005That makes him honored or begets him hate;
For greatest scandal waits on greatest state.
The moon being clouded presently is missed,
But little stars may hide them when they list."
"The crow may bathe his coal-black wings in mire
1010And unperceived fly with the filth away;
But if the like the snow-white swan desire,
The stain upon his sliver down will stay.
Poor grooms are sightless night, kings glorious day;
Gnats are unnoted wheresoe'er they fly,
1015But eagles gazed upon with every eye."