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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Her maide is gone, and shee prepares to write,
    First houering ore the paper with her quill:
    Conceipt and griefe an eager combat fight,
    What wit sets downe is blotted straight with will.
    1300This is too curious good, this blunt and ill,
    Much like a presse of people at a dore,
    Throng her inuentions which shall go before.
    At last shee thus begins: thou worthie Lord,
    Of that vnworthie wife that greeteth thee,
    1305Health to thy person, next, vouchsafe t'afford
    (If euer loue, thy LVCRECE thou wilt see,)
    Some present speed, to come and visite me:
    So I commend me, from our house in griefe,
    My woes are tedious, though my words are briefe.
    1310Here folds shee vp the tenure of her woe,
    Her certaine sorrow writ vncertainely,
    By this short Cedule COLATINE may know
    Her griefe, but not her griefes true quality,
    Shee dares not thereof make discouery,
    1315 Lest he should hold it her own grosse abuse,
    Ere she with bloud had stain'd her stain'd excuse.
    Besides the life and feeling of her passion,
    Shee hoords to spend, when he is by to heare her,
    When sighs, & grones, & tears may grace the fash
    1320Of her disgrace, the better so to cleare her
    From that suspiciō which the world might bear her.
    To shun this blot, shee would not blot the letter
    With words, till action might becom thē better.
    To see sad sights, moues more then heare them told,
    1325For then the eye interpretes to the eare
    The heauie motion that it doth behold,
    When euerie part, a part of woe doth beare.
    Tis but a part of sorrow that we heare,
    Deep sounds make lesser noise thē shallow foords,
    1330 And sorrow ebs, being blown with wind of words.