Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Quarto, 1594)

To fill with worme-holes stately monuments,
To feede obliuion with decay of things,
To blot old bookes, and alter their contents,
To plucke the quils from auncient rauens wings,
950To drie the old oakes sappe, and cherish springs:
To spoile Antiquities of hammerd steele,
And turne the giddy round of Fortunes wheele.
To shew the beldame daughters of her daughter,
To make the child a man, the man a childe,
955To slay the tygre that doth liue by slaughter,
To tame the Vnicorne, and Lion wild,
To mocke the subtle in themselues beguild,
To cheare the Plowman with increasefull crops,
And wast huge stones with little water drops.
960Why work'st thou mischiefe in thy Pilgrimage,
Vnlesse thou could'st returne to make amends?
One poore retyring minute in an age
Would purchase thee a thousand thousand friends,
Lending him wit that to bad detters lends,
965 O this dread night, would'st thou one howr come (backe,
I could preuent this storme, and shun thy wracke.
Thou ceaselesse lackie to Eternitie,
With some mischance crosse TARQVIN in his flight.
Deuise extreames beyond extremitie,
970To make him curse this cursed crimefull night:
Let gastly shadowes his lewd eyes affright,
And the dire thought of his committed euill,
Shape euery bush a hideous shapelesse deuill.
Disturbe his howres of rest with restlesse trances,
975Afflict him in his bed with bedred grones,
Let there bechaunce him pitifull mischances,
To make him mone, but pitie not his mones:
Stone him with hardned hearts harder then stones,
And let milde women to him loose their mildnesse,
980 Wilder to him then Tygers in their wildnesse.