Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Quarto, 1594)


As the poore frighted Deare that stands at gaze,
1150Wildly determining which way to flie,
Or one incompast with a winding maze,
That cannot tread the way out readilie:
So with her selfe is shee in mutinie,
To liue or die which of the twaine were better,
1155 When life is sham'd and death reproches detter.

To kill my selfe, quoth shee, alacke what were it,
But with my body my poore soules pollusion?
They that loose halfe with greater patience beare it,
Then they whose whole is swallowed in confusion.
1160That mother tries a mercilesse conclusion,
Who hauing two sweet babes, when death takes (one,
Will slay the other, and be nurse to none.

My bodie or my soule which was the dearer?
When the one pure, the other made deuine,
1165Whose loue of eyther to my selfe was nearer?
When both were kept for Heauen and COLATINE:
Ay me, the Barke pild from the loftie Pine,
His leaues will wither, and his sap decay,
So must my soule her barke being pild away.