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And so 'tis thine; but know, it is as good
To wither in my breast as in his blood.

'Here was thy father's bed, here in my breast;
Thou art the next of blood, and 'tis thy right:
Lo, in this hollow cradle take thy rest;

My throbbing heart shall rock thee day and night:
There shall not be one minute in an hour

Wherein I will not kiss my sweet love's flower.'

Thus weary of the world, away she hies,
And yokes her silver doves; by whose swift aid
Their mistress mounted through the empty skies
In her light chariot quickly is convey'd ;

Holding their course to Paphos, where their

Means to immure herself and not be seen.




The Rape of LUCRECE was first published in 1594, with the following title :


LONDON. | Printed by Richard Field, for John Harrison, and are to be sold at the signe of the white Greyhound | in Paules Church-yard. 1594.

The running title is 'The Rape of Lucrece.'

Subsequent editions were issued in 1598, 1600, 1607, without substantial change; a number of variations, of little importance, occur in the fifth and sixth, which appeared in 1616 and 1624.

The date of composition is not doubtful. It falls within the year which followed the publication of the Venus and Adonis in 1593. In dedicating that 'first heir of his invention' to his patron Southampton, Shakespeare foreshadowed a 'graver labour' to which he promised to devote all idle hours,' for Southampton's honour. This graver labour, itself dedicated to Southampton, was unquestionably the Lucrece. The terms of the dedication show that the relation of patron and protégé had ripened into one of warm and admiring friendship on both sides.

For the rest, it is plain that Shakespeare's second poem was composed with more serious concentration of power than his first. But we must not exaggerate the clear division between the two into a gulf. It is

idle to suggest that the Lucrece was the poet's 'atonement' for the Venus. Its deeper tones denote no revolt or recantation, merely a resolve to give his work a fuller consonance with his own nature, to make it utter the richer harmonies of his music as well as its liquid and mellow soprano song. The story had a still older tradition in English than that of Adonis. Lucrece had been a mediæval type before she became one of the saints of Humanism. Chaucer had paraphrased her tale from Ovid,1 and the comparison of the traits in it which Chaucer chose and left with those which Shakespeare retains and omits, offers a critical problem analogous to that presented by their treatment of the story of Troilus. But while in Troilus and Cressida Shakespeare is completely emancipated from the Chaucerian spell, and ruthlessly shatters the romantic world Chaucer had built up, it is here the influence of Chaucer's Troilus itself which, enforced by more immediate, contemporary, influences, colours Shakespeare's handling of the austerer 'tragedy' of Rome. He now employs the rich and harmonious stanza of seven lines, already familiar to Elizabethan poetry,2 which Chaucer used with complete mastery in the Troilus, but had already discarded for the more flexible and nervous couplet in The Legende of Good Women. To it too we may attribute the predominance of rhetoric-of dialogue, soliloquy, apostrophe -in a tale where action is of more account than persuasion. The first two books of Chaucer's Troilus move amid scarcely interrupted scenes of persuasion and discourse. Troilus pleads with Pandarus, Pan

1 In The Legende of Good Women; he expressly quotes 'Ovid and Tytus Livius' as his authorities. The story in Ovid (Fasti, ii. 685 f.) occupies some

140 verses; in Chaucer 200.

2 It had been quite recently used by Daniel in his Complaint of Rosamond, and by Greene in his Maiden's Dream. L.

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