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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    There pleading might you see graue NESTOR stand,
    As'twere incouraging the Greekes to fight,
    Making such sober action with his hand,
    That it beguild attention, charm'd the sight,
    1405In speech it seemd his beard, all siluer white,
    Wag'd vp and downe, and from his lips did flie,
    Thin winding breath which purl'd vp to the skie.
    About him were a presse of gaping faces,
    Which seem'd to swallow vp his sound aduice,
    1410All ioyntlie listning, but with seuerall graces,
    As if some Marmaide did their eares intice,
    Some high, some low, the Painter was so nice.
    The scalpes of manie almost hid behind,
    To iump vp higher seem'd to mocke the mind.
    1415Here one mans hand leand on anothers head,
    His nose being shadowed by his neighbours eare,
    Here one being throng'd, bears back all boln, & red,
    Another smotherd, seemes to pelt and sweare,
    And in their rage such signes of rage they beare,
    1420 As but for losse of NESTORS golden words,
    It seem'd they would debate with angrie swords.
    For much imaginarie worke was there,
    Conceipt deceitfull, so compact so kinde,
    That for ACHILLES image stood his speare
    1425Grip't in an Armed hand, himselfe behind
    Was left vnseene, saue to the eye of mind,
    A hand, a foote, a face, a leg, a head
    Stood for the whole to be imagined.
    And from the wals of strong besieged TROY,
    1430When their braue hope, bold HECTOR march'd to (field,
    Stood manie Troian mothers sharing ioy,
    To see their youthfull sons bright weapons wield,
    And to their hope they such odde action yeeld,
    That through their light ioy seemed to appeare,
    1435 (Like bright things staind) a kind of heauie feare.