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    Not Peer Reviewed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)


    1695At this request, with noble disposition,
    Each present Lord began to promise aide,
    As bound in Knighthood to her imposition,
    Longing to heare the hatefull Foe bewraide.
    But shee that yet her sad taske hath not said,
    1700 The protestation stops, ô speake quoth shee,
    How may this forced staine be wip'd from me?

    What is the qualitie of my offence
    Being constrayn'd with dreadfull circumstance?
    May my pure mind with the fowle act dispence
    1705My low declined Honor to aduance?
    May anie termes acquit me from this chance?
    The poysoned fountaine cleares it selfe againe,
    And why not I from this compelled staine?

    With this they all at once began to saie,
    1710Her bodies staine, her mind vntainted cleares,
    While with a ioylesse smile, shee turnes awaie
    The face, that map which deepe impression beares
    Of hard misfortune, caru'd it in with tears.
    No no, quoth shee, no Dame hereafter liuing,
    1715 By my excuse shall claime excuses giuing.