Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: Lucrece (Modern)
  • Editor: Hardy M. Cook
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-411-0

    Copyright Hardy M. Cook. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Hardy M. Cook
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Lucrece (Modern)

    "Mine enemy was strong, my poor self weak,
    And far the weaker with so strong a fear.
    My bloody judge forbade my tongue to speak;
    No rightful plea might plead for justice there.
    1650His scarlet lust came evidence to swear
    That my poor beauty had purloined his eyes;
    And when the judge is robbed, the prisoner dies."
    "O, teach me how to make mine own excuse,
    Or, at the least, this refuge let me find:
    1655Though my gross blood be stained with this abuse,
    Immaculate and spotless is my mind.
    That was not forced, that never was inclined
    To accessory yieldings, but still pure
    Doth in her poisoned closet yet endure."
    1660Lo, here the hopeless merchant of this loss,
    With head declined and voice damned up with woe,
    With sad set eyes and wreathèd arms across,
    From lips new waxen pale begins to blow
    The grief away that stops his answer so.
    1665But, wretched as he is, he strives in vain;
    What he breathes out, his breath drinks up again.
    As through an arch the violent roaring tide
    Outruns the eye that doth behold his haste,
    Yet in the eddy boundeth in his pride
    1670Back to the strait that forst him on so fast,
    In rage sent out, recalled in rage, being past;
    Even so his sighs, his sorrows make a saw,
    To push grief on, and back the same grief draw.
    Which speechless woe of his poor she attendeth,
    1675And his untimely frenzy thus awaketh:
    "Dear lord, thy sorrow to my sorrow lendeth
    Another power; no flood by raining slaketh.
    My woe too sensible thy passion maketh
    More feeling-painful. Let it then suffice
    1680To drown one woe, one pair of weeping eyes."