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Rape of Lucrece

The Rape of Lucrece, published in 1594, draws on both Ovid and Livy for its sources. It is longer and more serious in tone than Venus and Adonis. These two poems established Shakespeare's poetic credentials. During these years, poets were considered serious literary figures while playwrights were considered, if not hacks, no better than popular entertainers.

A fault unknown is as a thought unacted.

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A fault unknown is as a thought unacted.
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A little harm done to a great good end

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A little harm done to a great good end.
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The crow may bathe his coal-black wings in mire

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“The crow may bathe his coal-black wings in mire
And unperceived fly with the filth away,
But if the like the snow-white swan desire,
The stain upon his silver down will stay.
Poor grooms are sightless night, kings glorious day.
Gnats are unnoted wheresoe’er they fly,
But eagles gazed upon with every eye.

This helpless smoke of words doth me no right

“Out,
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