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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    O opportunity thy guilt is great,
    Tis thou that execut'st the traytors treason:
    Thou sets the wolfe where he the lambe may get,
    Who euer plots the sinne thou poinst the season.
    880Tis thou that spurn'st at right, at law, at reason,
    And in thy shadie Cell where none may spie him,
    Sits sin to ceaze the soules that wander by him.
    Thou makest the vestall violate her oath,
    Thou blowest the fire when temperance is thawd,
    885Thou smotherst honestie, thou murthrest troth,
    Thou fowle abbettor, thou notorious bawd,
    Thou plantest scandall, and displacest lawd.
    Thou rauisher, thou traytor, thou false theefe,
    Thy honie turnes to gall, thy ioy to greefe.
    890Thy secret pleasure turnes to open shame,
    Thy priuate feasting to a publicke fast,
    Thy smoothing titles to a ragged name,
    Thy sugred tongue to bitter wormwood tast,
    Thy violent vanities can neuer last.
    895 How comes it then, vile opportunity
    Being so bad, such numbers seeke for thee?
    When wilt thou be the humble suppliants friend
    And bring him where his suit may be obtained?
    When wilt thou sort an howre great strifes to end?
    900Or free that soule which wretchednes hath chained?
    Giue phisicke to the sicke, ease to the pained?
    The poore, lame, blind, hault, creepe, cry out for (thee,
    But they nere meet with oportunitie.
    The patient dies while the Phisitian sleepes,
    905The Orphane pines while the oppressor feedes.
    Iustice is feasting while the widow weepes.
    Aduise is sporting while infection breeds.
    Thou graunt'st no time for charitable deeds.
    Wrath, enuy, treason, rape, and murthers rages,
    910 Thy heinous houres wait on them as their Pages.