Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Modern)

"For even as subtle Sinon here is painted,
So sober-sad, so weary, and so mild,
As if with grief or travail he had fainted,
To me came Tarquin armèd to beguild
1545With outward honesty, but yet defiled
With inward vice. As Priam him did cherish,
So did I Tarquin, so my Troy did perish."
"Look, look, how list'ning Priam wets his eyes
To see those borrowed tears that Sinon sheds.
1550Priam, why art thou old and yet not wise?
For every tear he falls a Trojan bleeds.
His eye drops fire, no water thence proceeds;
Those round clear pearls of his that move thy pity
Are balls of quenchless fire to burn thy city."
1555"Such devils steal effects from lightless hell,
For Sinon in his fire doth quake with cold,
And in that cold hot-burning fire doth dwell.
These contraries such unity do hold
Only to flatter fools and make them bold;
1560So Priam's trust false Sinon's tears doth flatter
That he finds means to burn his Troy with water."
Here, all enraged, such passion her assails
That patience is quite beaten from her breast.
She tears the senseless Sinon with her nails,
1565Comparing him to that unhappy guest
Whose deed hath made herself herself detest.
At last she smilingly with this gives o'er:
"Fool, fool," quoth she, "his wounds will not be sore."
Thus ebbs and flows the current of her sorrow,
1570And time doth weary time with her complaining.
She looks for night, and then she longs for morrow,
And both she thinks too long with her remaining.
Short time seems long in sorrow's sharp sustaining;
Though woe be heavy, yet it seldom sleeps,
1575And they that watch see time how slow it creeps.