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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Shew me the strumpet that began this stur,
    That with my nailes her beautie I may teare:
    Thy heat of lust fond PARIS did incur
    This lode of wrath, that burning Troy doth beare;
    1475Thy eye kindled the fire that burneth here,
    And here in Troy for trespasse of thine eye,
    The Sire, the sonne, the Dame and daughter die.
    Why should the priuate pleasure of some one
    Become the publicke plague of manie moe?
    1480Let sinne alone committed, light alone
    Vppon his head that hath transgressed so.
    Let guiltlesse soules be freed from guilty woe,
    For ones offence why should so many fall?
    To plague a priuate sinne in generall.
    1485Lo here weeps HECVBA, here PRIAM dies,
    Here manly HECTOR faints, here TROYLVS sounds;
    Here friend by friend in bloudie channel lies:
    And friend to friend giues vnaduised wounds,
    And one mans lust these manie liues confounds.
    1490 Had doting PRIAM checkt his sons desire,
    TROY had bin bright with Fame, & not with fire.
    Here feelingly she weeps TROYES painted woes,
    For sorrow, like a heauie hanging Bell,
    Once set on ringing, with his own waight goes,
    1495Then little strength rings out the dolefull knell,
    So LVCRECE set a worke, sad tales doth tell
    To pencel'd pensiuenes, & colour'd sorrow,
    She lends them words, & she their looks doth bor-(row,
    Shee throwes her eyes about the painting round,
    1500And who shee finds forlorne, shee doth lament:
    At last shee sees a wretched image bound,
    That piteous lookes, to Phrygian sheapheards lent,
    His face though full of cares, yet shew'd content,
    Onward to TROY with the blunt swains he goes,
    1505 So mild that patience seem'd to scorne his woes.