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    Not Peer Reviewed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)


    But Beautie in that white entituled,
    From Venus doues doth challenge that faire field,
    Then Vertue claimes from Beautie, Beauties red,
    60Which Vertue gaue the golden age, to guild
    Their siluer cheekes, and cald it then their shield,
    Teaching them thus to vse it in the fight,
    Wshame assaild, the red should fēce the white.

    This Herauldry in LVCRECE face was seene,
    65Argued by Beauties red and Vertues white,
    Of eithers colour was the other Queene:
    Prouing from worlds minority their right,
    Yet their ambition makes them still to fight:
    The soueraignty of either being so great,
    70 That oft they interchange ech others seat.

    This silent warre of Lillies and of Roses,
    Which TARQVIN vew'd in her faire faces field,
    In their pure rankes his traytor eye encloses,
    Where least betweene them both it should be kild.
    75The coward captiue vanquished, doth yeeld
    To those two Armies that would let him goe,
    Rather then triumph in so false a foe.