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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Then Loue and Fortune be my Gods, my guide,
    My will is backt with resolution:
    Thoughts are but dreames till their effects be tried,
    The blackest sinne is clear'd with absolution.
    355Against loues fire, feares frost hath dissolution.
    The eye of Heauen is out, and mistie night
    Couers the shame that followes sweet delight.
    This said, his guiltie hand pluckt vp the latch,
    And with his knee the dore he opens wide,
    360The doue sleeps fast that this night Owle will catch.
    Thus treason workes ere traitors be espied.
    Who sees the lurking serpent steppes aside;
    But shee sound sleeping fearing no such thing,
    Lies at the mercie of his mortall sting.
    365Into the chamber wickedlie he stalkes,
    And gazeth on her yet vnstained bed:
    The curtaines being close, about he walkes,
    Rowling his greedie eye-bals in his head.
    By their high treason is his heart mis-led,
    370 Which giues the watch-word to his hand ful soon,
    To draw the clowd that hides the siluer Moon.
    Looke as the faire and fierie pointed Sunne,
    Rushing from forth a cloud, bereaues our sight:
    Euen so the Curtaine drawne, his eyes begun
    375To winke, being blinded with a greater light.
    Whether it is that shee reflects so bright,
    That dazleth them, or else some shame supposed,
    But blind they are, and keep themselues inclosed.
    O had they in that darkesome prison died,
    380Then had they seene the period of their ill:
    Then COLATINE againe by LVCRECE side,
    In his cleare bed might haue reposed still.
    But they must ope this blessed league to kill,
    And holie-thoughted LVCRECE to their sight,
    385 Must sell her ioy, her life, her worlds delight.