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    Not Peer Reviewed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 as the earth doth weepe the Sun being set,
    Each flowre moistned like a melting eye:
    Euen so the maid with swelling drops gan wet
    Her circled eien inforst, by simpathie
    1230Of those faire Suns set in her mistresse skie,
    Who in a salt wau'd Ocean quench their light,
    Which makes the maid weep like the dewy night.
    A prettie while these prettie creatures stand,
    Like Iuorie conduits corall cesterns filling:
    1235One iustlie weepes, the other takes in hand
    No cause, but companie of her drops spilling.
    Their gentle sex to weepe are often willing,
    Greeuing themselues to gesse at others smarts,
    And thē they drown their eies, or break their harts.
    1240For men haue marble, women waxen mindes,
    And therefore are they form'd as marble will,
    The weake opprest, th'impression of strange kindes
    Is form'd in them by force, by fraud, or skill.
    Then call them not the Authors of their ill,
    1245 No more then waxe shall be accounted euill,
    Wherein is stampt the semblance of a Deuill.
    Their smoothnesse; like a goodly champaine plaine,
    Laies open all the little wormes that creepe,
    In men as in a rough-growne groue remaine.
    1250Caue-keeping euils that obscurely sleepe.
    Through christall wals ech little mote will peepe,
    Though mē cā couer crimes with bold stern looks,
    Poore womens faces are their owne faults books.
    No man inueigh against the withered flowre,
    1255But chide rough winter that the flowre hath kild,
    Not that deuour'd, but that which doth deuour
    Is worthie blame, ô let it not be hild
    Poore womens faults, that they are so fulfild
    With mens abuses, those proud Lords to blame,
    1260 Make weak-made womē tenants to their shame.