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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    As corne ore-growne by weedes: so heedfull feare
    Is almost choakt by vnresisted lust:
    Away he steales with open listning eare,
    Full of foule hope, and full of fond mistrust:
    285Both which as seruitors to the vniust,
    So crosse him with their opposit perswasion,
    That now he vowes a league, and now inuasion.
    Within his thought her heauenly image sits,
    And in the selfe same seat sits COLATINE,
    290That eye which lookes on her confounds his wits,
    That eye which him beholdes, as more deuine,
    Vnto a view so false will not incline;
    But with a pure appeale seekes to the heart,
    Which once corrupted takes the worser part.
    295And therein heartens vp his seruile powers,
    Who flattred by their leaders iocound show,
    Stuffe vp his lust: as minutes fill vp howres.
    And as their Captaine: so their pride doth grow,
    Paying more slauish tribute then they owe.
    300 By reprobate desire thus madly led,
    The Romane Lord marcheth to LVCRECE bed.
    The lockes betweene her chamber and his will,
    Ech one by him inforst retires his ward:
    But as they open they all rate his ill,
    305Which driues the creeping theefe to some regard,
    The threshold grates the doore to haue him heard,
    Night-wandring weezels shreek to see him there,
    They fright him, yet he still pursues his feare.
    As each vnwilling portall yeelds him way,
    310Through little vents and cranies of the place,
    The wind warres with his torch, to make him staie,
    And blowes the smoake of it into his face,
    Extinguishing his conduct in this case.
    But his hot heart, which fond desire doth scorch,
    315 Puffes forth another wind that fires the torch.