Lucrece Poem (Shakespeare)

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 bankrout in this poor-rich gain.

The aim of all is but to nurse the life
With honour, wealth, and ease in waning age;
And in this aim there is such thwarting strife
That one for all or all for one we gage:
As life for honour in fell battle’s rage,
Honour for wealth; and oft that wealth doth cost
The death of all, and all together lost.

So that, in vent’ring ill, we leave to be
The things we are for that which we expect;
And this ambitious foul infirmity,
In having much, torments us with defect
Of that we have. So then we do neglect
The thing we have and, all for want of wit,
Make something nothing by augmenting it.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
From ‘The Rape of Lucrece’ (Lines 134-154)

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