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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    1FROM the besieged Ardea all in post,
    Borne by the trustlesse wings of false desire,
    Lust-breathed TARQVIN, leaues the Roman host,
    And to Colatium beares the lightlesse fire,
    5Which in pale embers hid, lurkes to aspire,
    And girdle with embracing flames, the wast
    Of COLATINES fair loue, LVCRECE the chast.
    Hap'ly that name of chast, vnhap'ly set
    This batelesse edge on his keene appetite:
    10When COLATINE vnwisely did not let,
    To praise the cleare vnmatched red and white,
    Which triumpht in that skie of his delight:
    Where mortal stars as bright as heauēs Beauties,
    With pure aspects did him peculiar dueties.
    15For he the night before in Tarquins Tent,
    Vnlockt the treasure of his happie state:
    What priselesse wealth the heauens had him lent,
    In the possession of his beauteous mate.
    Reckning his fortune at such high proud rate,
    20 That Kings might be espowsed to more fame,
    But King nor Peere to such a peerelesse dame.
    O happinesse enioy'd but of a few,
    And if possest as soone decayed and done:
    As is the mornings siluer melting dew,
    25Against the golden splendour of the Sunne.
    An expir'd date canceld ere well begunne.
    Honour and Beautie in the owners armes,
    Are weakelie fortrest from a world of harmes.
    Beautie it selfe doth of it selfe perswade,
    30The eies of men without an Orator,
    What needeth then Apologies be made
    To set forth that which is so singuler?
    Or why is Colatine the publisher
    Of that rich iewell he should keepe vnknown,
    35 From theeuish eares because it is his owne?