Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: Lucrece (Quarto, 1594)
  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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 (Quarto, 1594)


    The baser is he comming from a King,
    To shame his hope with deedes degenerate,
    The mightier man the mightier is the thing
    1005That makes him honord, or begets him hate:
    For greatest scandall waits on greatest state.
    The Moone being clouded, presently is mist,
    But little stars may hide them when they list.

    The Crow may bath his coaleblacke wings in mire,
    1010And vnperceau'd flie with the filth away,
    But if the like the snow-white Swan desire,
    The staine vppon his siluer Downe will stay.
    Poore grooms are sightles night, kings glorious day,
    Gnats are vnnoted wheresoere they flie,
    1015 But Eagles gaz'd vppon with euerie eye.

    Out idle wordes, seruants to shallow fooles,
    Vnprofitable sounds, weake arbitrators,
    Busie your selues in skill contending schooles,
    Debate where leysure serues with dull debators:
    1020To trembling Clients be you mediators,
    For me, I force not argument a straw,
    Since that my case is past the helpe of law.