Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Modern)

"Dear lord of that dear jewel I have lost,
What legacy shall I bequeath to thee?
My resolution, love, shall be thy boast,
By whose example thou revenged mayst be.
1195How Tarquin must be used, read it in me.
Myself, thy friend, will kill myself, thy foe,
And for my sake serve thou false Tarquin so."
"This brief abridgement of my will I make:
My soul and body to the skies and ground;
1200My resolution, husband, do thou take;
Mine honor be the knife's that makes my wound;
My shame be his that did my fame confound;
And all my fame that lives disbursèd be
To those that live and think no shame of me."
1205"Thou, Collatine, shalt oversee this will.
How was I overseen that thou shalt see it!
My blood shall wash the slander of mine ill;
My life's foul deed my life's fair end shall free it.
Faint not, faint heart, but stoutly say 'So be it.'
1210Yield to my hand; my hand shall conquer thee.
Thou dead, both die, and both shall victors be."
This plot of death when sadly she had laid,
And wiped the brinish pearl from her bright eyes,
With untuned tongue she hoarsely calls her maid,
1215Whose swift obedience to her mistress hies;
For fleet-winged duty with thought's feathers flies.
Poor Lucrece' cheeks unto her maid seem so
As winter meads when sun doth melt their snow.
Her mistress she doth give demure good morrow
1220With soft slow tongue, true mark of modesty,
And sorts a sad look to her lady's sorrow,
For why her face wore sorrow's livery,
But durst not ask of her audaciously
Why her two suns were cloud-eclipsèd so,
1225Nor why her fair cheeks over-washed with woe.