Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Quarto, 1594)


If COLATINE, thine honor laie in me,
835From me by strong assault it is bereft:
My Honnie lost, and I a Drone-like Bee,
Haue no perfection of my sommer left,
But rob'd and ransak't by iniurious theft.
In thy weake Hiue a wandring waspe hath crept,
840 And suck't the Honnie which thy chast Bee kept.

Yet am I guiltie of thy Honors wracke,
Yet for thy Honor did I entertaine him,
Comming from thee I could not put him backe:
For it had beene dishonor to disdaine him,
845Besides of wearinesse he did complaine him,
And talk't of Vertue (O vnlook't for euill,)
When Vertue is prophan'd in such a Deuill.

Why should the worme intrude the maiden bud?
Or hatefull Kuckcowes hatch in Sparrows nests?
850Or Todes infect faire founts with venome mud?
Or tyrant follie lurke in gentle brests?
Or Kings be breakers of their owne behestes?
"But no perfection is so absolute,
That some impuritie doth not pollute.