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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    In TARQVINS likenesse I did entertaine thee,
    Hast thou put on his shape, to do him shame?
    To all the Host of Heauen I complaine me.
    Thou wrongst his honor, woūdst his princely name:
    600Thou art not what thou seem'st, and if the same,
    Thou seem'st not what thou art, a God, a King;
    For kings like Gods should gouerne euery thing.
    How will thy shame be seeded in thine age
    When thus thy vices bud before thy spring?
    605If in thy hope thou darst do such outrage,
    What dar'st thou not when once thou art a King?
    O be remembred, no outragious thing
    From vassall actors can be wipt away,
    Then Kings misdeedes cannot be hid in clay.
    610This deede will make thee only lou'd for feare,
    But happie Monarchs still are feard for loue:
    With fowle offendors thou perforce must beare,
    When they in thee the like offences proue;
    If but for feare of this, thy will remoue.
    615 For Princes are the glasse, the schoole, the booke,
    Where subiects eies do learn, do read, do looke.
    And wilt thou be the schoole where lust shall learne?
    Must he in thee read lectures of such shame?
    Wilt thou be glasse wherein it shall discerne
    620Authoritie for sinne, warrant for blame?
    To priuiledge dishonor in thy name.
    Thou backst reproch against long-liuing lawd,
    And mak'st faire reputation but a bawd.
    Hast thou commaund? by him that gaue it thee
    625From a pure heart commaund thy rebell will:
    Draw not thy sword to gard iniquitie,
    For it was lent thee all that broode to kill.
    Thy Princelie office how canst thou fulfill?
    When patternd by thy fault fowle sin may say,
    630 He learnd to sin, and thou didst teach the way.