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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Her lillie hand, her rosie cheeke lies vnder,
    Coosning the pillow of a lawfull kisse:
    Who therefore angrie seemes to part in sunder,
    Swelling on either side to want his blisse.
    390Betweene whose hils her head intombed is;
    Where like a vertuous Monument shee lies,
    To be admir'd of lewd vnhallowed eyes.
    Without the bed her other faire hand was,
    On the greene couerlet whose perfect white
    395Showed like an Aprill dazie on the grasse,
    With pearlie swet resembling dew of night.
    Her eyes like Marigolds had sheath'd their light,
    And canopied in darkenesse sweetly lay,
    Till they might open to adorne the day.
    400Her haire like goldē threeds playd with her breath,
    O modest wantons, wanton modestie!
    Showing lifes triumph in the map of death,
    And deaths dim looke in lifes mortalitie.
    Ech in her sleepe themselues so beautifie,
    405 As if betweene them twaine there were no strife,
    But that life liu'd in death, and death in life.
    Her breasts like Iuory globes circled with blew,
    A paire of maiden worlds vnconquered,
    Saue of their Lord, no bearing yoke they knew,
    410And him by oath they truely honored.
    These worlds in TARQVIN new ambition bred,
    Who like a fowle vsurper went about,
    From this faire throne to heaue the owner out.
    What could he see but mightily he noted?
    415What did he note, but strongly he desired?
    What he beheld, on that he firmely doted,
    And in his will his wilfull eye he tyred.
    With more then admiration he admired
    Her azure vaines, her alablaster skinne,
    420 Her corall lips, her snow-white dimpled chin.