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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Thus gracelesse holds he disputation,
    Tweene frozen conscience and hot burning will,
    And with good thoughts makes dispensation,
    Vrging the worser sence for vantage still.
    250Which in a moment doth confound and kill
    All pure effects, and doth so farre proceede,
    That what is vile, shewes like a vertuous deede.
    Quoth he, shee tooke me kindlie by the hand,
    And gaz'd for tidings in my eager eyes,
    255Fearing some hard newes from the warlike band,
    Where her beloued COLATINVS lies.
    O how her feare did make her colour rise!
    First red as Roses that on Lawne we laie,
    Then white as Lawne the Roses tooke awaie.
    260And how her hand in my hand being lockt,
    Forst it to tremble with her loyall feare:
    Which strooke her sad, and then it faster rockt,
    Vntill her husbands welfare shee did heare.
    Whereat shee smiled with so sweete a cheare,
    265 That had NARCISSVS seene her as shee stood,
    Selfe-loue had neuer drown'd him in the flood.
    Why hunt I then for colour or excuses?
    All Orators are dumbe when Beautie pleadeth,
    Poore wretches haue remorse in poore abuses,
    270Loue thriues not in the hart that shadows dreadeth,
    Affection is my Captaine and he leadeth.
    And when his gaudie banner is displaide,
    The coward fights, and will not be dismaide.
    Then childish feare auaunt, debating die,
    275Respect and reason waite on wrinckled age:
    My heart shall neuer countermand mine eie;
    Sad pause, and deepe regard beseemes the sage,
    My part is youth and beates these from the stage.
    Desire my Pilot is, Beautie my prise,
    280 Then who feares sinking where such treasure lies?