from poems by
William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

This page:

Venus and Adonis
The Rape of Lucrece
  note on the texts



index pages:

Venus and Adonis

‘Love comforteth like sunshine after rain,

But lust’s effect is tempest after sun;

Love’s gentle spring doth always fresh remain,

Lust’s winter comes ere summer half be done.

Love surfeits not; lust like a glutton dies;

Love is all truth; lust full of forged lies.’

Note (Hal’s):
There’s a reference to this poem in Sarah Caudwell’s mystery, Thus Was Adonis Murdered.

— end note

text checked (see note) Apr 2005

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The Rape of Lucrece

Those that much covet are with gain so fond

That what they have not, that which they possess

They scatter and unloose it from their bond,

And so, by hoping more, they have but less;

Or, gaining more, the profit of excess

Is but to surfeit, and such griefs sustain,

That they prove bankrupt in this poor-rich gain.

Thus, graceless, holds he disputation

’Tween frozen conscience and hot-burning will,

And with good thoughts makes dispensation,

Urging the worser sense for vantage still;

Which in a moment doth confound and kill

All pure effects, and doth so far proceed,

That what is vile shows like a virtuous deed.

‘Think but how vile a spectacle it were

To view thy present trespass in another.

Men’s faults do seldom to themselves appear;

Their own transgressions partially they smother:

This guilt would seem death-worthy in thy brother.

O, how are they wrapp’d in with infamies,

That from their own misdeeds askance their eyes.’

’Tis double death to drown in ken of shore;

He ten times pines, that pines beholding food;

To see the salve doth make the wound ache more;

Great grief grieves most at that would do it good:

Deep woes roll forward like a gentle flood,

Who, being stopp’d, the bounding banks o’erflows:

Grief dallied with nor law nor limit knows.



text checked (see note) Apr 2005

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I had not realized the variability among Shakespeare editions. Spelling and punctuation of these selections is diplomatically selected from two; either one, taken alone, was in deplorable shape.
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