The Rape of Lucrece: A Poem

The Rape of Lucrece: A Poem

William Shakespeare

Language: English

Pages: 50


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

When the king's son hears the chastity of one of his father's advisors praised, he sets out to sully her name, with tragic consequences.

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boast who did thy stock pollute That thou art doting father of his fruit. [1063] ‘Nor shall he smile at thee in secret thought, Nor laugh with his companions at thy state; But thou shalt know thy interest was not bought Basely with gold, but stol’n from forth thy gate. For me, I am the mistress of my fate, [1070] And with my trespass never will dispense, Till life to death acquit my forc’d offence. ‘I will not poison thee with my attaint, Nor fold my fault in cleanly coin’d excuses;

one sweetly flatters, th’ other feareth harm; But honest Fear, bewitch’d with lust’s foul charm, Doth too too oft betake him to retire, [175] Beaten away by brain-sick rude desire. His falchion on a flint he softly smiteth, That from the cold stone sparks of fire do fly, Whereat a waxen torch forthwith he lighteth, Which must be lode-star to his lustful eye; [180] And to the flame thus speaks advisedly: ‘As from this cold flint I enforc’d this fire, So Lucrece must I force to my

like golden threads, play’d with her breath — O modest wantons! wanton modesty!’ — Showing life’s triumph in the map of death, And death’s dim look in life’s mortality. Each in her sleep themselves so beautify, [405] As if between them twain there were no strife. But that life liv’d in death, and death in life. Her breasts, like ivory globes circled with blue, A pair of maiden worlds unconquered, Save of their lord no bearing yoke they knew, [410] And him by oath they truly honoured.

revels; and when that decays, The guilty rebel for remission prays. [715] So fares it with this faultful lord of Rome, Who this accomplishment so hotly chased; For now against himself he sounds this doom, That through the length of times he stands disgraced; Besides, his soul’s fair temple is defaced, [720] To whose weak ruins muster troops of cares, To ask the spotted princess how she fares. She says her subjects with foul insurrection Have batter’d down her consecrated wall, And by

coffers up his gold Is plagu’d with cramps and gouts and painful fits, And scarce hath eyes his treasure to behold, But like still-pining Tantalus he sits, And useless barns the harvest of his wits, [860] Having no other pleasure of his gain But torment that it cannot cure his pain. ‘So then he hath it, when he cannot use it, And leaves it to be mast’red by his young; Who in their pride do presently abuse it. [865] Their father was too weak, and they too strong, To hold their

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