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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Her pity-pleading eyes are sadly fixed
    In the remorseless wrinkles of his face.
    Her modest eloquence with sighs is mixed,
    Which to her oratory adds more grace.
    565She puts the period often from his place,
    And midst the sentence so her accent breaks
    That twice she doth begin ere once she speaks.
    She conjures him by high almighty Jove,
    By knighthood, gentry, and sweet friendship's oath,
    570By her untimely tears, her husband's love,
    By holy human law, and common troth,
    By heaven and earth, and all the power of both,
    That to his borrowed bed he make retire
    And stoop to honor, not to foul desire.
    575Quoth she, "Reward not hospitality
    With such black payment as thou hast pretended;
    Mud not the fountain that gave drink to thee.
    Mar not the thing that cannot be amended.
    End thy ill aim before thy shoot be ended;
    580He is no woodman that doth bend his bow
    To strike a poor unseasonable doe."
    "My husband is thy friend; for his sake spare me.
    Thyself art mighty; for thine own sake leave me.
    Myself a weakling, do not then ensnare me.
    585Thou look'st not like deceit; do not deceive me.
    My sighs, like whirlwinds, labor hence to heave thee.
    If ever man were moved with woman's moans,
    Be moved with my tears, my sighs, my groans."
    "All which together, like a troubled ocean,
    590Beat at thy rocky and wrack-threat'ning heart
    To soften it with their continual motion;
    For stones dissolved to water do convert.
    O, if no harder than a stone thou art,
    Melt at my tears and be compassionate;
    595Soft pity enters at an iron gate."