Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Modern)

"Why, Collatine, is woe the cure for woe?
Do wounds help wounds, or grief help grievous deeds?
Is it revenge to give thyself a blow
For his foul act by whom the fair wife bleeds?
1825Such childish humor from weak minds proceeds.
Thy wretched wife mistook the matter so,
To slay herself that should have slain her foe."
"Courageous Roman, do not steep thy heart
In such relenting dew of lamentations,
1830But kneel with me and help to bear thy part
To rouse our Roman gods with invocations
That they will suffer these abominations --
Since Rome herself in them doth stand disgraced --
By our strong arms from forth her fair streets chased."
1835"Now by the Capitol that we adore,
And by this chaste blood so unjustly stained,
By heaven's fair sun that breeds the fat earth's store,
By all our country rights in Rome maintained,
And by chaste Lucrece' soul that late complained
1840Her wrongs to us, and by this bloody knife,
We will revenge the death of this true wife."
This said, he struck his hand upon his breast,
And kissed the fatal knife to end his vow,
And to his protestation urged the rest,
1845Who, wond'ring at him, did his words allow.
Then jointly to the ground their knees they bow,
And that deep vow which Brutus made before
He doth again repeat, and that they swore.
When they had sworn to this advisèd doom,
1850They did conclude to bear dead Lucrece thence,
To show her bleeding body thorough Rome,
And so to publish Tarquin's foul offense;
Which being done with speedy diligence,
The Romans plausibly did give consent
1855To Tarquin's everlasting banishment.