Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Hardy M. Cook
Not Peer Reviewed

Lucrece (Quarto, 1594)

And for my sake when I might charme thee so,
For shee that was thy LVCRECE, now attend me,
Be sodainelie reuenged on my Foe.
Thine, mine, his own, suppose thou dost defend me
1685From what is past, the helpe that thou shalt lend me
Comes all too late, yet let the Traytor die,
"For sparing Iustice feeds iniquitie.
But ere I name him, you faire Lords, quoth shee,
(Speaking to those that came with COLATINE)
1690Shall plight your Honourable faiths to me,
With swift pursuit to venge this wrong of mine,
For 'tis a meritorious faire designe,
To chase iniustice with reuengefull armes,
Knights by their oaths should right poore Ladies harmes.
1695At this request, with noble disposition,
Each present Lord began to promise aide,
As bound in Knighthood to her imposition,
Longing to heare the hatefull Foe bewraide.
But shee that yet her sad taske hath not said,
1700 The protestation stops, ô speake quoth shee,
How may this forced staine be wip'd from me?
What is the qualitie of my offence
Being constrayn'd with dreadfull circumstance?
May my pure mind with the fowle act dispence
1705My low declined Honor to aduance?
May anie termes acquit me from this chance?
The poysoned fountaine cleares it selfe againe,
And why not I from this compelled staine?
With this they all at once began to saie,
1710Her bodies staine, her mind vntainted cleares,
While with a ioylesse smile, shee turnes awaie
The face, that map which deepe impression beares
Of hard misfortune, caru'd it in with tears.
No no, quoth shee, no Dame hereafter liuing,
1715 By my excuse shall claime excuses giuing.