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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    So let thy thoughts low vassals to thy state,
    No more quoth he, by Heauen I will not heare thee.
    Yeeld to my loue, if not inforced hate,
    In steed of loues coy tutch shall rudelie teare thee.
    670That done, despitefullie I meane to beare thee
    Vnto the base bed of some rascall groome,
    To be thy partner in this shamefull doome.
    This said, he sets his foote vppon the light,
    For light and lust are deadlie enemies,
    675Shame folded vp in blind concealing night,
    When most vnseene, then most doth tyrannize.
    The wolfe hath ceazd his pray, the poor lamb cries,
    Till with her own white fleece her voice controld,
    Intombes her outcrie in her lips sweet fold.
    680For with the nightlie linnen that shee weares,
    He pens her piteous clamors in her head,
    Cooling his hot face in the chastest teares,
    That euer modest eyes with sorrow shed.
    O that prone lust should staine so pure a bed,
    685 The spots whereof could weeping purifie,
    Her tears should drop on them perpetuallie.
    But shee hath lost a dearer thing then life,
    And he hath wonne what he would loose againe,
    This forced league doth force a further strife,
    690This momentarie ioy breeds months of paine,
    This hot desire conuerts to colde disdaine;
    Pure chastitie is rifled of her store,
    And lust the theefe farre poorer then before.
    Looke as the full-fed Hound, or gorged Hawke,
    695Vnapt for tender smell, or speedie flight,
    Make slow pursuite, or altogether bauk,
    The praie wherein by nature they delight:
    So surfet-taking TARQVIN fares this night:
    His tast delicious, in digestion sowring,
    700 Deuoures his will that liu'd by fowle deuouring.