Venus and Adonis

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TO THE RIGHT HONORABLE Henrie Wriothesley, Earle of Southampton, and Baron of Titchfield.
I know not how I shall offend in dedicating my
vnpolisht lines to your Lordship, nor how the
worlde will censure mee for choosing so strong a
proppe to support so weake a burthen, onelye if your
Honour seeme but pleased, I account my selfe highly
praised, and vowe to take aduantage of all idle houres,
till I haue honoured you with some grauer labour.
Butif the first heire of my inuention proue de-
formed, I shall be sorie it had so noble a god-father:
and neuer after eare so barren a land, for feare it yeeld
me still so bad a haruest, I leaue it to your Honour-
able suruey, and your Honor to your hearts
content which I wish may alwaies answere your
owne wish, and the worlds hopefull expectation.
Your Honors in all dutie,
William Shakespeare.
EVEN as the sunne with purple-colourd face,
Had tane his last leaue of the weeping morne,
Rose-cheekt Adonis hied him to the chace,
Hunting he lou'd, but loue he laught to scorne:
Sick-thoughted Venus makes amaine vnto him,
And like a bold fac'd suter ginnes to woo him.
Thrise fairer then my selfe, (thus she began)
The fields chiefe flower, sweet aboue compare,
Staine to all Nimphs, more louely then a man,
More white, and red, then doues, or roses are:
Nature that made thee with her selfe at strife,
Saith that the world hath ending with thy life.
Vouchsafe thou wonder to alight thy steed,
And raine his proud head to the saddle bow,
If thou wilt daine this fauor, for thy meed
A thousand honie secrets shalt thou know:
Here come and sit, where neuer serpent hisses,
And being set, Ile smother thee with kisses.
And yet not cloy thy lips with loth'd sacietie,
But rather famish them amid their plentie,
Making them red, and pale, with fresh varietie:
Ten kisses short as one, one long as twentie:
A sommers day will seeme an houre but short,
Being wasted in such time-beguiling sport.
With this she ceazeth on his sweating palme,
The president of pith, and liuelyhood,
And trembling in her passion, calls it balme,
Earths soueraigne salue, to do a goddesse good,
Being so enrag'd, desire doth lend her force,
Couragiously to plucke him from his horse.
Ouer one arme the lustie coursers raine,
Vnder her other was the tender boy,
Who blusht, and powted in a dull disdaine,
With leaden appetite, vnapt to toy,
She red, and hot, as coles of glowing fier,
He red for shame, but frostie in desier.
The studded bridle on a ragged bough,
Nimbly she fastens, (ô how quicke is loue!)
The steed is stalled vp, and euen now,
To tie the rider she begins to proue:
Backward she pusht him, as she would be thrust,
And gouernd him in strength though not in lust.
So soone was she along, as he was downe,
Each leaning on their elbowes and their hips:
Now doth she stroke his cheek, now doth he frown,
And gins to chide, but soone she stops his lips,
And kissing speaks, with lustful language broken,
If thou wilt chide, thy lips shall neuer open.
He burnes with bashfull shame, she with her teares
Doth quench the maiden burning of his cheekes,
Then with her windie sighes, and golden heares,
To fan, and blow them drie againe she seekes.
He saith, she is immodest, blames her misse,
What followes more, she murthers with a kisse.
Euen as an emptie Eagle sharpe by fast,
Tires with her beake on feathers, flesh, and bone,
Shaking her wings, deuouring all in hast,
Till either gorge be stuft, or pray be gone:
Euen so she kist his brow, his cheeke, his chin,
And where she ends, she doth anew begin.
Forst to content, but neuer to obey,
Panting he lies, and breatheth in her face.
She feedeth on the steame, as on a pray,
And calls it heauenly moisture, aire of grace,
Wishing her cheeks were gardens ful of flowers,
So they were dew'd with such distilling showers.
Looke how a bird lyes tangled in a net,
So fastned in her armes Adonis lyes,
Pure shame and aw'd resistance made him fret,
Which bred more beautie in his angrie eyes:
Raine added to a riuer that is ranke,
Perforce will force it ouerflow the banke.
Still she intreats, and prettily intreats,
For to a prettie eare she tunes her tale.
Still is he sullein, still he lowres and frets,
Twixt crimson shame, and anger ashie pale,
Being red she loues him best, and being white,
Her best is betterd with a more delight.
Looke how he can, she cannot chuse but loue,
And by her faire immortall hand she sweares,
From his soft bosome neuer to remoue,
Till he take truce with her contending teares,
Which lõg haue raind, making her cheeks al wet,
And one sweet kisse shal pay this comptlesse debt.
Vpon this promise did he raise his chin,
Like a diuedapper peering through a waue,
Who being lookt on, ducks as quickly in:
So offers he to giue what she did craue,
But when her lips were readie for his pay,
He winks, and turnes his lips another way.
Neuer did passenger in sommers heat,
More thirst for drinke, then she for this good turne,
Her helpe she sees, but helpe she cannot get,
She bathes in water, yet her fire must burne:
Oh pitie gan she crie, flint-hearted boy,
Tis but a kisse I begge, why art thou coy?
I haue bene wooed as I intreat thee now,
Euen by the sterne, and direfull god of warre,
Whose sinowie necke in battell nere did bow,
Who conquers where he comes in euerie iarre,
Yet hath he bene my captiue, and my slaue,
And begd for that which thou vnaskt shalt haue.
Ouer my Altars hath he hong his launce,
His battred shield, his vncontrolled crest,
And for my sake hath learnd to sport, and daunce,
To toy, to wanton, dallie, smile, and iest,
Scorning his churlish drumme, and ensigne red,
Making my armes his field, his tent my bed.
Thus he that ouer-ruld, I ouer-swayed,
Leading him prisoner in a red rose chaine,
Strong-temperd steele his stronger strength obayed.
Yet was he seruile to my coy disdaine,
Oh be not proud, nor brag not of thy might,
For maistring her that foyld the god of fight.
Touch but my lips with those faire lips of thine,
Though mine be not so faire, yet are they red,
The kisse shalbe thine owne as well as mine,
What seest thou in the ground? hold vp thy head,
Looke in mine ey-bals, there thy beautie lyes,
Then why not lips on lips, since eyes in eyes?
Art thou asham'd to kisse? then winke againe,
And I will winke, so shall the day seeme night.
Loue keepes his reuels where there are but twaine:
Be bold to play, our sport is not in sight,
These blew-veind violets whereon we leane,
Neuer can blab, nor know not what we meane.
The tender spring vpon thy tempting lip,
Shewes thee vnripe; yet maist thou well be tasted,
Make vse of time, let not aduantage slip,
Beautie within it selfe should not be wasted,
Faire flowers that are not gathred in their prime,
Rot, and consume them selues in litle time.
Were I hard-fauourd, foule, or wrinckled old,
Il-nurtur'd, crooked, churlish, harsh in voice,
Ore-worne, despised, reumatique, and cold,
Thick-sighted, barren, leane, and lacking iuyce;
Thẽ mightst thou pause, for thẽ I were not for thee,
But hauing no defects, why doest abhor me?
Thou canst not see one wrinckle in my brow,
Mine eyes are grey, and bright, & quicke in turning:
My beautie as the spring doth yearelie grow,
My flesh is soft, and plumpe, my marrow burning,
My smooth moist hand, were it with thy hand felt,
Would in thy palme dissolue, or seeme to melt.
Bid me discourse, I will inchaunt thine eare,
Or like a Fairie, trip vpon the greene,
Or like a Nimph, with long disheueled heare,
Daunce on the sands, and yet no footing seene.
Loue is a spirit all compact of fire,
Not grosse to sinke, but light, and will aspire.
Witnesse this Primrose banke whereon I lie,
These forcelesse flowers like sturdy trees support me:
Two strẽgthles doues will draw me through the skie,
From morne till night, euen where I list to sport me.
Is loue so light sweet boy, and may it be,
That thou should thinke it heauie vnto thee?
Is thine owne heart to thine owne face affected?
Can thy right hand ceaze loue vpon thy left?
Then woo thy selfe, be of thy selfe reiected:
Steale thine own freedome, and complaine on theft.
Narcissus so him selfe him selfe forsooke,
And died to kisse his shadow in the brooke.
Torches are made to light, iewels to weare,
Dainties to tast, fresh beautie for the vse,
Herbes for their smell, and sappie plants to beare.
Things growing to them selues, are growths abuse,
Seeds spring frõ seeds, & beauty breedeth beauty,
Thou wast begot, to get it is thy duty.
Vpon the earths increase why shouldst thou feed,
Vnlesse the earth with thy increase be fed?
By law of nature thou art bound to breed,
That thine may liue, when thou thy selfe art dead:
And so in spite of death thou doest suruiue,
In that thy likenesse still is left aliue.
By this the loue-sicke Queene began to sweate,
For where they lay the shadow had forsooke them,
And Titan tired in the midday heate,
With burning eye did hotly ouer-looke them,
Wishing Adonis had his teame to guide,
So he were like him, and by Venus side.
And now Adonis with a lazie sprite,
And with a heauie, darke, disliking eye,
His lowring browes ore-whelming his faire sight,
Likd mistie vapors when they blot the skie,
So wring his cheekes, cries, fie, no more of loue,
The sunne doth burne my face I must remoue.
Ay, me, (quoth Venus) young, and so vnkinde,
What bare excuses mak'st thou to be gon?
Ile sigh celestiall breath, whose gentle winde,
Shall coole the heate of this descending sun:
Ile make a shadow for thee of my heares,
If they burn too, Ile quench them with my teares.
The sun that shines from heauen, shines but warme,
And lo I lye betweene that sunne, and thee:
The heate I haue from thence doth litle harme,
Thine eye darts forth the fire that burneth me,
And were I not immortall, life were done,
Betweene this heauenly, and earthly sunne.
Art thou obdurate, flintie, hard as steele?
Nay more then flint, for stone at raine relenteth:
Art thou a womans sonne and canst not feele
What tis to loue, how want of loue tormenteth?
O had thy mother borne so hard a minde,
She had not brought forth thee, but died vnkind.
What am I that thou shouldst contemne me this?
Or what great danger, dwels vpon my sute?
What were thy lips the worse for one poore kis?
Speake faire, but speake faire words, or else be mute:
Giue me one kisse, Ile giue it thee againe,
And one for intrest, if thou wilt haue twaine.
Fie, liuelesse picture, cold, and sencelesse stone,
Well painted idoll, image dull, and dead,
Statüe contenting but the eye alone,
Thing like a man, but of no woman bred:
Thou art no man, though of a mans complexion,
For men will kisse euen by their owne direction.
This said, impatience chokes her pleading tongue,
And swelling passion doth prouoke a pause,
Red cheeks, and fierie eyes blaze forth her wrong:
Being Iudge in loue, she cannot right her cause.
And now she weeps, & now she faine would speake
And now her sobs do her intendments breake.
Sometime she shakes her head, and then his hand,
Now gazeth she on him, now on the ground;
Sometime her armes infold him like a band,
She would, he will not in her armes be bound:
And when from thence he struggles to be gone,
She locks her lillie fingers one in one.
Fondling, she saith, since I haue hemd thee here
Within the circuit of this iuorie pale,
Ile be a parke, and thou shalt be my deare:
Feed where thou wilt, on mountaine, or in dale;
Graze on my lips, and if those hils be drie,
Stray lower, where the pleasant fountaines lie.
Witin this limit is reliefe inough,
Sweet bottome grasse, and high delightfull plaine,
Round rising hillocks, brakes obscure, and rough,
To shelter thee from tempest, and from raine:
Then be my deare, since I am such a parke,
No dog shal rowze thee, though a thousand bark.
At this Adonis smiles as in disdaine,
That in ech cheeke appeares a prettie dimple;
Loue made those hollowes, if him selfe were slaine,
He might be buried in a tombe so simple,
Foreknowing well, if there he came to lie,
Why there loue liu'd, & there he could not die.
These louely caues, these round inchanting pits,
Opend their mouthes to swallow Venus liking:
Being mad before, how doth she now for wits?
Strucke dead at first, what needs a second striking?
Poore Queene of loue, in thine own law forlorne,
To loue a cheeke that smiles at thee in scorne.
Now which way shall she turne? what shall she say?
Her words are done, her woes the more increasing,
The time is spent, her obiect will away,
And ftom her twining armes doth vrge releasing:
Pitie she cries, some fauour, some remorse,
Away he springs, and hasteth to his horse.
But lo from forth a copp s that neighbors by,
A breeding Iennet, lustie, young, and proud,
Adonis trampling Courser doth espy:
And forth she rushes, snorts, and neighs aloud.
The strong-neckt steed being tied vnto a tree,
Breaketh his raine, and to her straight goes hee.
Imperiously he leaps, he neighs, he bounds,
And now his wouen girthes he breaks asunder,
The bearing earth with his hard hoofe he wounds,
Whose hollow wombe resounds like heauens thunder,
The yron bit he crusheth tweene his teeth,
Controlling what he was controlled with.
His eares vp prickt, his braided hanging mane
Vpon his compast crest now stand on end,
His nostrils drinke the aire, and forth againe
As from a fornace, vapors doth he send:
His eye which scornfully glisters like fire,
Shewes his hote courage, and his high desire.
Sometime he trots, as if he told the steps,
With gentle maiestie, and modest pride,
Anon he reres vpright, curuets, and leaps,
As who should say, lo thus my strength is tride.
And this I do, to captiuate the eye,
Of the faire breeder that is standing by.
What recketh he his riders angrie sturre,
His flattering holla, or his stand, I say,
What cares he now, for curbe, or pricking spurre,
For rich caparisons, or trappings gay:
He sees his loue, and nothing else he sees,
For nothing else with his proud sight agrees.
Looke when a Painter would surpasse the life,
In limming out a well proportioned steed,
His Art with Natures workmanship at strife,
As if the dead the liuing should exceed:
So did this Horse excell a common one,
In shape, in courage, colour, pace and bone.
Round hooft, short ioynted, fetlocks shag, and long,
Broad breast, full eye, small head, and nostrill wide,
High crest, short eares, straight legs, & passing strõg,
Thin mane, thicke taile, broad buttock, tender hide:
Looke what a Horse should haue, he did not lack,
Saue a proud rider on so proud a back.
Sometime he scuds farre off, aud there he stares,
Anon he starts, at sturring of a feather:
To bid the wind a base he now prepares,
And where he runne, or flie, they know not whether:
For through his mane, & taile, the high wind sings,
Fanning the haires, who waue like feathred wings.
He lookes vpon his loue, and neighes vnto her,
She answers him, as if she knew his minde,
Being proud as females are, to see him woo her,
She puts on outward strangenesse, seemes vnkinde:
Spurnes at his loue, and scorns the heat he feeles,
Beating his kind imbracements with her heeles.
Then like a melancholy malcontent,
He vailes his taile that like a falling plume,
Coole shadow to his melting buttocke lent,
He stamps, and bites the poore flies in his fume:
His loue perceiuing how he was inrag'd,
Grew kinder, and his furie was asswag'd.
His testie maister goeth about to take him,
When lo the vnbackt breeder full of feare,
Iealous of catching, swiftly doth forsake him,
With her the Horse, and left Adonis there:
As they were mad vnto the wood they hie them,
Outstripping crowes, that striue to ouerfly them.
All swolne with chafing, downe Adonis sits,
Banning his boystrous, and vnruly beast;
And now the happie season once more fits
That louesicke loue, by pleading may be blest:
For louers say, the heart hath treble wrong,
When it is bard the aydance of the tongue.
An Ouen that is stopt, or riuer stayd,
Burneth more hotly, swelleth with more rage:
So of concealed sorow may be sayd,
Free vent of words loues fier doth asswage,
But when the hearts atturney once is mute,
The client breakes, as desperat in his sute.
He sees her comming, and begins to glow:
Euen as a dying coale reuiues with winde,
And with his bonnet hides his angrie brow,
Lookes on the dull earth with disturbed minde:
Taking no notice that she is so nye,
For all askance he holds her in his eye.
O what a sight it was wistly to view,
How she came stealing to the wayward boy,
To note the fighting conflict of her hew,
How white and red, ech other did destroy:
But now her cheeke was pale, and by and by
It flasht forth fire, as lightning from the skie.
Now was she iust before him as he sat,
And like a lowly louer downe she kneeles,
With one faire hand she heaueth vp his hat,
Her other tender hand his faire cheeke feeles:
His tendrer cheeke, receiues her soft hands print,
As apt, as new falne snow takes any dint.
Oh what a war of lookes was then betweene them,
Her eyes petitioners to his eyes suing,
His eyes saw her eyes, as they had not seene them,
Her eyes wooed still, his eyes disdaind the wooing:
And all this dumbe play had his acts made plain,
With tears which Chorus-like her eyes did rain.
Full gently now she takes him by the hand,
A lillie prisond in a gaile of snow,
Or Iuorie in an allablaster band,
So white a friend, ingirts so white a fo:
This beautious combat wilfull, and vnwilling,
Showed like two siluer doues that sit a billing.
Once more the engin of her thoughts began,
O fairest mouer on this mortall round,
Would thou wert as I am, and I a man,
My heart all whole as thine, thy heart my wound,
For one sweet looke thy helpe I would assure thee,
Thogh nothing but my bodies bane wold cure thee
Giue me my hand (saith he,) why dost thou feele it?
Giue me my heart (saith she,) and thou shalt haue it.
O giue it me lest thy hard heart do steele it,
And being steeld, soft sighes can neuer graue it.
Then loues deepe grones, I neuer shall regard,
Because Adonis heart hath made mine hard.
For shame he cries, let go, and let me go,
My dayes delight is past, my horse is gone,
And tis your fault I am bereft him so,
I pray you hence, and leaue me here alone,
For all my mind, my thought, my busie care,
Is how to get my palfrey from the mare.
Thus she replies, thy palfrey as he should,
Welcomes the warme approch of sweet desire,
Affection is a coale that must be coold,
Else sufferd it will set the heart on fire,
The sea hath bounds, but deepe desire hath none,
Therfore no maruell though thy horse be gone.
How like a iade he stood tied to the tree,
Seruilly maisterd with a leatherne raine,
Bnt when he saw his loue, his youths faire fee,
He held such pettie bondage in disdaine:
Throwing the base thong from his bending crest,
Enfranchising his mouth, his backe, his brest.
Who sees his true-loue in her naked bed,
Teaching the sheets a whiter hew then white,
But when his glutton eye so full hath fed,
His other agents ayme at like delight?
Who is so faint that dares not be so bold,
To touch the fier the weather being cold?
Let me excuse thy courser gentle boy,
And learne of him I heartily beseech thee,
To take aduantage on presented ioy,
Though I were dũbe, yet his proceedings teach thee
O learne to loue, the lesson is but plaine,
And once made perfect, neuer lost againe.
I know not loue (quoth he) nor will not know it,
Vnlesse it be a Boare, and then I chase it,
Tis much to borrow, and I will not owe it,
My loue to loue, is loue, but to disgrace it,
For I haue heard, it is a life in death,
That laughs and weeps, and all but with a breath.
Who weares a garment shapelesse and vnfinisht?
Who plucks the bud before one leafe put forth?
If springing things be anie iot diminisht,
They wither in their prime, proue nothing worth,
The colt that's backt and burthend being yong,
Loseth his pride, and neuer waxeth strong.
You hurt my hand with wringing, let vs part,
And leaue this idle theame, this bootlesse chat,
Remoue your siege from my vnyeelding hart,
To loues allarmes it will not ope the gate,
Dismisse your vows, your fained tears, your flattry,
For where a heart is hard they make no battry.
What canst thou talke (quoth she) hast thou a tong?
O would thou hadst not, or I had no hearing,
Thy marmaides voice hath done me double wrong,
I had my lode before, now prest with bearing,
Mellodious discord, heauenly tune harsh sounding,
Eares deep sweet musik, & harts deep sore woũding
Had I no eyes but eares, my eares would loue,
That inward beautie and inuisible,
Or were I deafe, thy outward parts would moue
Ech part in me, that were but sensible,
Though neither eyes, nor eares, to heare nor see,
Yet should I be in loue, by touching thee.
Say that the sence of feeling were bereft me,
And that I could not see, nor heare, nor touch,
And nothing but the verie smell were left me,
Yet would my loue to thee be still as much,
For frõ the stillitorie of thy face excelling,
Coms breath perfumd, that breedeth loue by smelling.
But oh what banquet wert thou to the tast,
Being nourse, and feeder of the other foure,
Would they not wish the feast might euerlast,
And bid suspition double looke the dore;
Lest iealousie that sower vnwelcome guest,
Should by his stealing in disturbe the feast?
Once more the rubi-colourd portall opend,
Which to his speech did honie passage yeeld,
Like a red morne that euer yet betokend,
Wracke to the sea-man, tempest to the field:
Sorrow to shepherds, wo vnto the birds,
Gusts, and foule flawes, to heardmen, & to herds.
This ill presage aduisedly she marketh,
Euen as the wind is husht before it raineth:
Or as the wolfe doth grin before he barketh:
Or as the berrie breakes before it staineth:
Or like the deadly bullet of a gun:
His meaning strucke her ere his words begun.
And at his looke she flatly falleth downe,
For lookes kill loue, and loue by lookes reuiueth,
A smile recures the wounding of a frowne,
But blessed bankrout that by loue so thriueth.
The sillie boy beleeuing she is dead,
Claps her pale cheeke, till clapping makes it red.
And all amaz'd, brake off his late intent,
For sharply he did thinke to reprehend her,
Which cunning loue did wittily preuent,
Faire-fall the wit that can so well defend her:
For on the grasse she lyes as she were slaine,
Till his breath breatheth life in her againe.
He wrings her nose, he strikes her on the cheekes,
He bends her fingers, holds her pulses hard,
He chafes her lips, a thousand wayes he seekes,
To mend the hurt, that his vnkindnesse mard,
He kisses her, and she by her good will,
Will neuer rise, so he will kisse her still.
The night of sorrow now is turnd to day,
Her two blew windowes faintly she vpheaueth,
Like the faire sunne when in his fresh array,
He cheeres the morne, and all the earth releeueth:
And as the bright sunne glorifies the skie:
So is her face illumind with her eye.
Whose beames vpon his hairelesse face are fixt,
As if from thence they borrowed all their shine,
Were neuer foure such lamps, together mixt,
Had not his clouded with his browes repine.
But hers, which through the cristal tears gaue light,
Shone like the Moone in water seene by night.
O where am I (quoth she,) in earth or heauen,
Or in the Ocean drencht, or in the fire:
What houre is this, or morne, or wearie euen,
Do I delight to die or life desire?
But now I liu'd, and life was deaths annoy,
But now I dy'de, and death was liuely ioy.
O thou didst kill me, kill me once againe,
Thy eyes shrowd tutor, that hard heart of thine,
Hath taught them scornfull tricks, & such disdaine,
That they haue murdred this poore heart of mine,
And these mine eyes true leaders to their queene,
But for thy piteous lips no more had seene.
Long may they kisse ech other for this cure,
Oh neuer let their crimson liueries weare,
And as they last, their verdour still endure,
To driue infection from the dangerous yeare:
That the star-gazers hauing writ on death,
May say, the plague is banisht by thy breath.
Pure lips, sweet seales in my soft lips imprinted,
What bargaines may I make still to be sealing?
To sell my selfe I can be well contented,
So thou wilt buy, and pay, and vse good dealing,
Which purchase if thou make, for feare of slips,
Set thy seale manuell, on my wax-red lips.
A thousand kisses buyes my heart from me,
And pay them at thy leisure, one by one,
What is ten hundred touches vnto thee,
Are they not quickly told, and quickly gone?
Say for non-paimet, that the debt should double,
Is twentie hundred kisses such a trouble?
Faire Queene (quoth he) if anie loue you owe me,
Measure my strangenesse with my vnripe yeares,
Before I know my selfe, seeke not to know me,
No fisher but the vngrowne frie forbeares,
The mellow plum doth fall, the greene sticks fast,
Or being early pluckt, is sower to tast.
Looke the worlds comforter with wearie gate,
His dayes hot taske hath ended in the west,
The owle (nights herald) shreeks, tis verie late,
The sheepe are gone to fold, birds to their nest,
And cole-black clouds, that shadow heauens light,
Do summon vs to part, and bid good night.
Now let me say goodnight, and so say you,
If you will say so, you shall haue a kis;
Goodnight (quoth she) and ere he sayes adue,
The honie fee of parting tendred is,
Her armes do lend his necke a sweet imbrace,
Incorporate then they seeme, face growes to face.
Till breathlesse he disioynd, and backward drew,
The heauenly moisture that sweet corall mouth,
Whose precious tast, her thirstie lips well knew,
Whereon they surfet, yet complaine on drouth,
Ho with her plentie prest she faint with dearth,
Their lips together glewed, fall to the earth.
Now quicke desire hath caught the yeelding pray,
And gluttonlike she feeds, yet neuer filleth,
Her lips are conquerers, his lips obay,
Paying what ransome the insulter willeth:
Whose vultur thought doth pitch the price so hie,
That she will draw his lips rich treasure drie.
And hauing felt the sweetnesse of the spoile,
With blind fold furie she begins to forrage,
Her face doth reeke, & smoke, her blood doth boile,
And carelesse lust stirs vp a desperat courage,
Planting obliuion, beating reason backe,
Forgetting shames pure blush, & honors wracke.
Hot, faint, and wearie, with her hard imbracing,
Like a wild bird being tam'd with too much hãdling,
Or as the fleet-foot Roe that's tyr'd with chasing,
Or like the froward infant stild with dandling:
He now obayes, and now no more resisteth,
While she takes all she can, not all she listeth.
What waxe so frozen but dissolues with tempring,
And yeelds at last to euerie light impression?
Things out of hope, are compast oft with ventring,
Chiefly in loue, whose leaue exceeds commission:
Affection faints not like a pale-fac'd coward,
But thẽ woes best, whẽ most his choice is froward.
When he did frowne, ô had she then gaue ouer,
Such nectar from his lips she had not suckt,
Foule wordes, and frownes, must not repell a louer,
What though the rose haue prickles, yet tis pluckt?
Were beautie vnder twentie locks kept fast,
Yet loue breaks through, & picks them all at last.
For pittie now she can no more detaine him,
The poore foole praies her that he may depart,
She is resolu'd no longer to restraine him,
Bids him farewell, and looke well to her hart,
The which by Cupids bow she doth protest,
He carries thence incaged in his brest.
Sweet boy she saies, this night ile wast in sorrow
For my sick heart commands mine eyes to watch,
Tell me loues maister, shall we meete to morrow,
Say, shall we, shall we, wilt thou make the match?
He tell's her no, to morrow he intends,
To hunt the boare with certaine of his frends.
The boare (quoth she) whereat a suddain pale,
Like lawne being spred vpon the blushing rose,
Vsurpes her cheeke, she trembles at his tale,
And on his neck her yoaking armes she throwes.
She sincketh downe, still hanging by his necke,
He on her belly fall's, she on her backe.
Now is she in the verie lists of loue,
Her champion mounted for the hot incounter,
All is imaginarie she doth proue,
He will not mannage her, although he mount her,
That worse then Tantalus is her annoy,
To clip Elizium, and to lacke her ioy.
Euen so poore birds deceiu'd with painted grapes,
Do surfet by the eye, and pine the maw:
Euen so she languisheth in her mishaps,
As those poore birds that helplesse berries saw,
The warme effects which she in him finds missing,
She seekes to kindle with continuall kissing.
But all in vaine, good Queene, it will not bee,
She hath assai'd as much as may be prou'd,
Her pleading hath deseru'd a greater fee,
She's loue; she loues, and yet she is not lou'd,
Fie, fie, he saies, you crush me, let me go,
You haue no reason to withhold me so.
Thou hadst bin gone (quoth she) sweet boy ere this,
But that thou toldst me, thou woldst hunt the boare,
Oh be aduisd, thou know'st not what it is,
With iauelings point a churlish swine to goare,
Whose tushes neuer sheathd, he whetteth still,
Like to a mortall butcher bent to kill.
On his bow-backe, he hath a battell set,
Of brisly pikes that euer threat his foes,
His eyes like glow-wormes shine, when he doth fret
His snout digs sepulchers where ere he goes,
Being mou'd he strikes, what ere is in his way,
And whom he strikes, his crooked tushes slay.
His brawnie sides with hairie bristles armed,
Are better proofe then thy speares point can enter,
His short thick necke cannot be easily harmed,
Being irefull, on the lyon he will venter,
The thornie brambles, and imbracing bushes,
As fearefull of him part, through whom he rushes.
Alas, he naught esteem's that face of thine,
To which loues eyes paies tributarie gazes,
Nor thy soft handes, sweet lips, and christall eine,
Whose full perfection all the world amazes,
But hauing thee at vantage (wondrous dread!)
Wold roote these beauties, as he root's the mead.
Oh let him keep his loathsome cabin still,
Beautie hath nanght to do with such foule fiends,
Come not within his danger by thy will,
They that thriue well, take counsell of their friends,
When thou didst name the boare, not to dissẽble,
I feard thy fortune, aud my ioynts did tremble.
Didst thou not marke my face, was it not white?
Sawest thou not signes of feare lurke in mine eye?
Grew I not faint, and fell I not downe right?
Within my bosome whereon thou doest lye,
My boding heart, pants, beats, and takes no rest,
But like an earthquake, shakes thee on my brest.
For where loue raignes, disturbing iealousie,
Doth call him selfe affections centinell,
Giues false alarmes, suggesteth mutinie,
And in a peacefull houre doth crie, kill, kill,
Distempring gentle loue in his desire,
As aire, and water do abate the fire.
This sower informer, this bate-breeding spie,
This canker that eates vp loues tender spring,
This carry-tale, dissentious iealousie,
That somtime true newes, somtime false doth bring,
Knocks at my heart, and whispers in mine eare,
That if I loue thee, I thy death should feare.
And more then so, presenteth to mine eye,
The picture of an angrie chafing boare,
Vnder whose sharpe fangs, on his backe doth lye,
An image like thy selfe, all staynd with goare,
Whose blood vpon the fresh flowers being shed,
Doth make thẽ droop with grief, & hang the hed.
What should I do, seeing thee so indeed?
That tremble at th'imagination,
The thought of it doth make my faint heart bleed,
And feare doth teach it diuination;
I prophecie thy death, my liuing sorrow,
If thou incounter with the boare to morrow.
But if thou needs wilt hunt, be rul'd by me,
Vncouple at the timerous flying hare,
Or at the foxe which liues by subtiltie,
Or at the Roe which no incounter dare:
Pursue these fearfull creatures o're the downes,
And on thy wel breathd horse keep with thy hoũds
And when thou hast on foote the purblind hare,
Marke the poore wretch to ouer-shut his troubles,
How he outruns the wind, and with what care,
He crankes and crosses with a thousand doubles,
The many musits through the which he goes,
Are like a laberinth to amaze his foes.
Sometime he runnes among a flocke of sheepe,
To make the cunning hounds mistake their smell,
And sometime where earth-deluing Conies keepe,
To stop the loud pursuers in their yell:
And sometime sorteth with a heard of deare,
Danger deuiseth shifts, wit waites on feare.
For there his smell with others being mingled,
The hot sent-snuffing hounds are driuen to doubt,
Ceasing their clamorous cry, till they haue singled
With much ado the cold fault cleanly out,
Then do they spend their mouth's, eccho replies,
As if an other chase were in the skies.
By this poore wat farre off vpon a hill,
Stands on his hinder-legs with listning eare,
To hearken if his foes pursue him still,
Anon their loud alarums he doth heare,
And now his griefe may be compared well,
To one sore sicke, that heares the passing bell.
Then shalt thou see the deaw-bedabbled wretch,
Turne, and returne, indenting with the way,
Ech enuious brier, his wearie legs do scratch,
Ech shadow makes him stop, ech murmour stay,
For miserie is troden on by manie,
And being low, neuer releeu'd by anie.
Lye quietly, and heare a litle more,
Nay do not struggle, for thou shalt not rise,
To make thee hate the hunting of the bore,
Vnlike my selfe thou hear'st me moralize,
Applying this to that, and so to so,
For loue can comment vpon euerie wo.
Where did I leaue? no matter where (quoth he)
Leaue me, and then the storie aptly ends,
The night is spent; why what of that (quoth she?)
I am (quoth he) expected of my friends,
And now tis darke, and going I shall fall.
In night (quoth she) desire sees best of all.
But if thou fall, oh then imagine this,
The earth in loue with thee, thy footing trips,
And all is but to rob thee of a kis,
Rich prayes make true-men theeues: so do thy lips
Make modest Dyan, cloudie and forlorne,
Lest she should steale a kisse and die forsworne.
Now of this darke night I perceiue the reason,
Cinthia for shame, obscures her siluer shine,
Till forging nature be condemn'd of treason,
For stealing moulds from heauen, that were diuine,
Wherin she fram'd thee, in hie heauens despight,
To shame the sunne by day, and her by night.
And therefore hath she brib'd the destinies,
To crosse the curious workmanship of nature,
To mingle beautie with infirmities,
And pure perfection with impure defeature,
Making it subiect to the tyrannie,
Of mad mischances, and much miserie.
As burning feauers, agues pale, and faint,
Life-poysoning pestilence, and frendzies wood,
The marrow-eating sicknesse whose attaint,
Disorder breeds by heating of the blood,
Surfets, impostumes, griefe, and damnd dispaire,
Sweare natures death, for framing thee so faire.
And not the least of all these maladies,
But in one minutes fight brings beautie vnder,
Both fauor, sauour, hew, and qualities,
Whereat the th'impartiall gazer late did wonder,
Are on the sudden wasted, thawed, and donne,
As mountain snow melts with the midday sonne.
Therefore despight of fruitlesse chastitie,
Loue-lacking vestals, and selfe-louing Nuns,
That on the earth would breed a scarcitie,
And barraine dearth of daughters, and of suns;
Be prodigall, the lampe that burnes by night,
Dries vp his oyle, to lend the world his light.
What is thy bodie but a swallowing graue,
Seeming to burie that posteritie,
Which by the rights of time thou needs must haue,
If thou destroy them not in darke obscuritie?
If so the world will hold thee in disdaine,
Sith in thy pride, so faire a hope is slaine.
So in thy selfe, thy selfe art made away,
A mischiefe worse then ciuill home-bred strife,
Or theirs whose desperat hands them selues do slay,
Or butcher sire, that reaues his sonne of life:
Foule cankring rust, the hidden treasure frets,
But gold that's put to vse more gold begets.
Nay then (quoth Adon) you will fall againe,
Into your idle ouer-handled theame,
The kisse I gaue you is bestow'd in vaine,
And all in vaine you striue against the streame,
For by this black-fac't night, desires foule nourse,
Your treatise makes me like you, worse & worse.
If loue haue lent you twentie thousand tongues,
And euerie tongue more mouing then your owne,
Bewitching like the wanton Marmaids songs,
Yet from mine eare the tempting tune is blowne,
For know my heart stands armed in mine eare,
And will not let a false sound enter there.
Lest the deceiuing harmonie should ronne,
Into the quiet closure of my brest,
And then my litle heart were quite vndone,
In his bed-chamber to be bard of rest,
No Ladie no, my heart longs not to grone,
But soundly sleeps, while now it sleeps alone.
What haue you vrg'd, that I can not reproue?
The path is smooth that leadeth on to danger,
I hate not loue, but your deuise in loue,
That lends imbracements vnto euery stranger,
You do it for increase, ô straunge excuse!
When reason is the bawd to lusts abuse.
Call it not loue, for loue to heauen is fled,
Since sweating lust on earth vsurpt his name,
Vnder whose simple semblance he hath fed,
Vpon fresh beautie, blotting it with blame;
Which the hot tyrant staines, & soone bereaues:
As Caterpillers do the tender leaues.
Loue comforteth like sun-shine after raine,
But lusts effect is tempest after sunne,
Loues gentle spring doth alwayes fresh remaine,
Lusts winter comes, ere sommer halfe be donne:
Loue surfets not, lust like a glutton dies:
Loue is all truth, lust full of forged lies.
More I could tell, but more I dare not say,
The text is old, the Orator too greene,
Therefore in sadnesse, now I will away,
My face is full of shame, my heart of teene,
Mine eares that to your wanton talke attended,
Do burne them selues, for hauing so offended.
With this he breaketh from the sweet embrace,
Of those faire armes which bound him to her brest,
And homeward through the dark lawnd runs apace,
Leaues loue vpon her backe, deeply distrest,
Looke how a bright star shooteth from the skye;
So glides he in the night from Venus eye.
Which after him she dartes, as one on shore
Gazing vpon a late embarked friend,
Till the wilde waues will haue him seene no more,
Whose ridges with the meeting cloudes contend:
So did the mercilesse, and pitchie night,
Fold in the obiect that did feed her sight.
Whereat amas'd as one that vnaware,
Hath dropt a precious iewell in the flood,
Or stonisht, as night wandrers often are,
Their light blowne out in some mistrustfull wood;
Euen so confounded in the darke she lay,
Hauing lost the faire discouerie of her way.
And now she beates her heart, whereat it grones,
That all the neighbour caues as seeming troubled,
Make verball repetition of her mones,
Passion on passion, deeply is redoubled,
Ay me, she cries, and twentie times, wo, wo,
And twentie ecchoes, twentie times crie so,
She marking them, begins a wailing note,
And sings extemporally a wofull dittie,
How loue makes yong-men thrall, & old men dote,
How loue is wise in follie, foolish wittie:
Her heauie antheme still concludes in wo,
And still the quier of ecchoes answer so.
Her song was tedious, and out-wore the night,
For louers houres are long, though seeming short,
If pleasd themselues, others they thinke delight,
In such like circumstance, with such like sport:
Their copious stories oftentimes begunne,
End without audience, and are neuer donne.
For who hath she to spend the night withall,
But idle sounds resembling parasits?
Like shrill-tongu'd Tapsters answering euerie call,
Soothing the humor of fantastique wits,
She sayes tis so, they answer all tis so,
And would say after her, if she said no.
Lo here the gentle larke wearie of rest,
From his moyst cabinet mounts vp on hie,
And wakes the morning, from whose siluer brest,
The sunne ariseth in his maiestie,
Who doth the world so gloriously behold,
That Ceader tops and hils, seeme burnisht gold.
Venus salutes him with this faire good morrow,
Oh thou cleare god, and patron of all light,
From whom ech lamp, and shining star doth borrow,
The beautious influence that makes him bright,
There liues a sonne that suckt an earthly mother,
May lend thee light, as thou doest lend to other.
This sayd, she hasteth to a mirtle groue,
Musing the morning is so much ore-worne,
And yet she heares no tidings of her loue;
She harkens for his hounds, and for his horne,
Anon she heares them chaunt it lustily,
And all in hast she coasteth to the cry.
And as she runnes, the bushes in the way,
Some catch her by the necke, some kisse her face,
Some twin'd about her thigh to make her stay,
She wildly breaketh from their strict imbrace,
Like a milch Doe, whose swelling dugs do ake,
Hasting to feed her fawne, hid in some brake,
By this she heares the hounds are at a bay,
Whereat she starts like one that spies an adder,
Wreath'd vp in fatall folds iust in his way,
The feare where of doth make him shake, & shudder,
Euen so the timerous yelping of the hounds,
Appals her senses, and her spirit confounds.
For now she knowes it is no gentle chase,
But the blunt boare, rough beare, or lyon proud,
Because the crie remaineth in one place,
Where fearefully the dogs exclaime aloud,
Finding their enemie to be so curst,
They all straine curt'sie who shall cope him first.
This dismall crie rings sadly in her eare,
Through which it enters to surprise her hart,
Who ouercome by doubt, and bloodlesse feare,
With cold-pale weakenesse, nums ech feeling part,
Like soldiers when their captain once doth yeeld,
They basely flie, and dare not stay the field.
Thus stands she in a trembling extasie,
Till cheering vp her senses all dismayd,
She tels them tis a causlesse fantasie,
And childish error that they are affrayd,
Bids thẽ leaue quaking, bids them feare no more,
And with that word, she spide the hunted boare.
Whose frothie mouth bepainted all with red,
Like milke, & blood, being mingled both togither,
A second feare through all her sinewes spred,
Which madly hurries her, she knowes not whither,
This way she runs, and now she will no further,
But backe retires, to rate the boare for murther.
A thousand spleenes beare her a thousand wayes,
She treads the path, that she vntreads againe;
Her more then hast, is mated with delayes,
Like the proceedings of a drunken braine,
Full of respects, yet naught at all respecting,
In hand with all things, naught at all effecting.
Here kenneld in a brake, she finds a hound,
And askes the wearie caitiffe for his maister,
And there another licking of his wound,
Gainst venimd sores, the onely soueraigne plaister.
And here she meets another, sadly skowling,
To whom she speaks, & he replies with howling.
When he hath ceast his ill resounding noise,
Another flapmouthd mourner, blacke, and grim,
Against the welkin, volies out his voyce,
Another, and another, answer him,
Clapping their proud tailes to the ground below,
Shaking their scratcht-eares, bleeding as they go.
Looke how, the worlds poore people are amazed,
At apparitions, signes, and prodigies,
Whereon with feareful eyes, they long haue gazed,
Infusing them with dreadfull prophecies;
So she at these sad signes, drawes vp her breath,
And sighing it againe, exclaimes on death.
Hard fauourd tyrant, ougly, meagre, leane,
Hatefull diuorce of loue, (thus chides she death)
Grim-grinning ghost, earths-worme what dost thou thou meane?
To stifle beautie, and to steale his breath?
Who when he liu'd, his breath and beautie set
Glosse on the rose, smell to the violet.
If he be dead, ô no, it cannot be,
Seeing his beautie, thou shouldst strike at it,
Oh yes, it may, thou hast no eyes to see,
But hatefully at randon doest thou hit,
Thy marke is feeble age, but thy false dart,
Mistakes that aime, and cleaues an infants hart.
Hadst thou but bid beware, then he had spoke,
And hearing him, thy power had lost his power,
The destinies will curse thee for this stroke,
They bid thee crop a weed, thou pluckst a flower,
Loues golden arrow at him should haue fled,
And not deaths ebon dart to strike him dead.
Dost thou drink tears, that thou prouok'st such weeping,
What may a heauie grone aduantage thee?
Why hast thou cast into eternall sleeping,
Those eyes that taught all other eyes to see?
Now nature cares not for thy mortall vigour,
Since her best worke is ruin'd with thy rigour.
Here ouercome as one full of dispaire,
She vaild her eye-lids, who like sluces stopt
The christall tide, that from her two cheeks faire,
In the sweet channell of her bosome dropt.
But through the floud-gates breaks the siluer rain,
And with his strong course opens them againe.
O how her eyes, and teares, did lend, and borrow,
Her eye seene in the teares, teares in her eye,
Both christals, where they viewd ech others sorrow:
Sorrow, that friendly sighs sought still to drye,
But like a stormie day, now wind, now raine,
Sighs drie her cheeks, tears make thẽ wet againe.
Variable passions throng her constant wo,
As striuing who should best become her griefe,
All entertaind, ech passion labours so,
That euerie present sorrow seemeth chiefe,
But none is best, then ioyne they all together,
Like many clouds, consulting for foule weather.
By this farre off, she heares some huntsman hallow,
A nourses song nere pleasd her babe so well,
The dyre imagination she did follow,
This sound of hope doth labour to expell,
For now reuiuing ioy bids her reioyce,
And flatters her, it is Adonis voyce.
Whereat her teares began to turne their tide,
Being prisond in her eye: like pearles in glasse,
Yet sometimes fals an orient drop beside,
Which her cheeke melts, as scorning it should passe
To wash the foule face of the sluttish ground,
Who is but dronken when she seemeth drownd.
O hard beleeuing loue how strange it seemes!
Not to beleeue, and yet too credulous:
Thy weale, and wo, are both of them extreames,
Despaire, and hope, makes thee ridiculous.
The one doth flatter thee in thoughts vnlikely,
In likely thoughts the other kils thee quickly.
Now she vnweaues the web that she hath wrought,
Adonis liues, and death is not to blame:
It was not she that cald him all to nought;
Now she ads honours to his hatefull name.
She clepes him king of graues, & graue for kings,
Imperious supreme of all mortall things.
No, no, quoth she, sweet death, I did but iest,
Yet pardon me, I felt a kind of feare
When as I met the boare, that bloodie beast,
Which knowes no pitie but is still seuere,
Then gentle shadow (truth I must confesse)
I rayld on thee, fearing my loues decesse.
Tis not my fault, the Bore prouok't my tong,
Be wreak't on him (inuisible commaunder)
T'is he foule creature, that hath done thee wrong,
I did but act, he's author of thy slaunder.
Greefe hath two tongues, and neuer woman yet,
Could rule them both, without ten womens wit.
Thus hoping that Adonis is aliue,
Her rash suspect she doth extenuate,
And that his beautie may the better thriue,
With death she humbly doth insinuate.
Tels him of trophies, statues, tombes, and stories,
His victories, his triumphs, and his glories.
O Ioue quoth she, how much a foole was I,
To be of such a weake and sillie mind,
To waile his death who liues, and must not die,
Till mutuall ouerthrow of mortall kind?
For he being dead, with him is beautie slaine,
And beautie dead, blacke Chaos comes againe.
Fy, fy, fond loue, thou art as full of feare,
As one with treasure laden, hem'd with theeues,
Trifles vnwitnessed with eye, or eare,
Thy coward heart with false bethinking greeues.
Euen at this word she heares a merry horne,
Whereat she leaps, that was but late forlorne.
As Faulcons to the lure, away she flies,
The grasse stoops not, she treads on it so light,
And in her hast, vnfortunately spies,
The foule boares conquest, on her faire delight,
Which seene, her eyes are murdred with the view,
Like stars asham'd of day, themselues withdrew.
Or as the snaile, whose tender hornes being hit,
Shrinks backward in his shellie caue with paine,
And, there all smoothred vp, in shade doth sit,
Long after fearing to creepe forth againe:
So at his bloodie view her eyes are fled,
Into the deep-darke cabbins of her head.
Where they resigne their office, and their light,
To the disposing of her troubled braine,
Who bids them still consort with ougly night,
And neuer wound the heart with lookes againe,
Who like a king perplexed in his throne,
By their suggestion, giues a deadly grone.
Whereat ech tributarie subiect quakes,
As when the wind imprisond in the ground,
Struggling for passage, earths foundation shakes,
which with cold terror, doth mens minds confoũd:
This mutinie ech part doth so surprise,
That frõ their dark beds once more leap her eies.
And being opend, threw vnwilling light,
Vpon the wide wound, that the boare had trencht
In his soft flanke, whose wonted lillie white
With purple tears that his wound wept, had drẽcht.
No floure was nigh, no grasse, hearb, leaf, or weed,
But stole his blood, and seemd with him to bleed.
This solemne sympathie, poore Venus noteth,
Ouer one shoulder doth she hang her head,
Dumblie she passions, frantikely she doteth,
She thinkes he could not die, he is not dead,
Her voice is stopt, her ioynts forget to bow,
Her eyes are mad, that they haue wept till now.
Vpon his hurt she lookes so stedfastly,
That her sight dazling, makes the wound seem three,
And then she reprehends her mangling eye,
That makes more gashes, where no breach shuld be:
His face seems twain, ech seuerall lim is doubled,
For oft the eye mistakes, the brain being troubled
My tongue cannot expresse my griefe for one,
And yet (quoth she) behold two Adons dead,
My sighes are blowne away, my salt teares gone,
Mine eyes are turn'd to fire, my heart to lead,
Heauie hearts lead melt at mine eyes red fire,
So shall I die by drops of hot desire.
Alas poore world what treasure hast thou lost,
What face remains aliue that's worth the viewing?
Whose tongue is musick now? What cãst thou boast,
Of things long since, or any thing insuing?
The flowers are sweet, their colours fresh, and trim,
But true sweet beautie liu'd, and di'de with him.
Bonnet, nor vaile henceforth no creature weare,
Nor sunne, nor wind will euer striue to kisse you,
Hauing no faire to lose, you need not feare,
The sun doth skorne you, & the wind doth hisse you.
But when Adonis liu'de, sunne, and sharpe aire,
Lurkt like two theeues, to rob him of his faire.
And therefore would he put his bonnet on,
Vnder whose brim the gaudie sunne would peepe,
The wind would blow it off, and being gon,
Play with his locks, then would Adonis weepe.
And straight in pittie of his tender yeares,
They both would striue who first should drie his teares.
To see his face the Lion walkt along,
Behind some hedge, because he would not fear him:
To recreate himself when he hath song,
The Tygre would be tame, and gently heare him.
If he had spoke, the wolfe would leaue his praie,
And neuer fright the sillie lambe that daie.
When he beheld his shadow in the brooke,
The fishes spread on it their golden gils,
When he was by the birds such pleasure tooke,
That some would sing, some other in their bils
Would bring him mulberries & ripe-red cherries,
He fed them with his sight, they him with berries.
But this foule, grim, and vrchin-snowted Boare,
Whose downeward eye still looketh for a graue:
Ne're saw the beautious liuerie that he wore,
Witnesse the intertainment that he gaue.
If he did see his face, why then I know,
He thought to kisse him, and hath kild him so.
Tis true, tis true, thus was Adonis slaine,
He ran vpon the Boare with his sharpe speare,
Who did not whet his teeth at him againe,
But by a kisse thought to persuade him there.
And nousling in his flanke the louing swine,
Sheath'd vnaware the tuske in his soft groine.
Had I bin tooth'd like him I must confesse,
With kissing him I should haue kild him first,
But he is dead, and neuer did he blesse
My youth with his, the more am I accurst.
With this she falleth in the place she stood,
And staines her face with his congealed bloud.
She lookes vpon his lips, and they are pale,
She takes him by the hand, and that is cold,
She whispers in his eares a heauie tale,
As if they heard the wofull words she told:
She lifts the coffer-lids that close his eyes,
Where lo, two lamps burnt out in darknesse lies.
Two glasses where her selfe, her selfe beheld
A thousand times, and now no more reflect,
Their vertue lost, wherein they late exceld,
And euerie beautie robd of his effect;
Wonder of time (quoth she) this is my spight,
That thou being dead, the day shuld yet be light.
Since thou art dead, lo here I prophecie,
Sorrow on loue hereafter shall attend:
It shall be wayted on with iealousie,
Find sweet beginning, but vnsauorie end.
Nere setled equally, but high or lo,
That all loues pleasure shall not match his wo.
It shall be fickle, false, and full of fraud,
Bud, and be blasted, in a breathing while,
The bottome poyson, and the top ore-strawd
With sweets, that shall the truest sight beguile,
The strongest bodie shall it make most weake,
Strike the wise dũbe, & teach the foole to speake.
It shall be sparing, and too full of ryot,
Teaching decrepit age to tread the measures,
The staring ruffian shall it keepe in quiet,
Pluck down the rich, inrich the poore with treasures,
It shall be raging mad, and sillie milde,
Make the yoong old, the old become a childe.
It shall suspect where is no cause of feare,
It shall not feare where it should most mistrust,
It shall be mercifull, and too seueare,
And most deceiuing, when it seemes most iust,
Peruerse it shall be, where it showes most toward,
Put feare to valour, courage to the coward.
It shall be cause of warre, and dire euents,
And set dissention twixt the sonne, and sire,
Subiect, and seruill to all discontents:
As drie combustious matter is to fire,
Sith in his prime, death doth my loue destroy,
They that loue best, their loues shall not enioy.
By this the boy that by her side laie kild,
Was melted like a vapour from her sight,
And in his blood that on the ground laie spild,
A purple floure sproong vp, checkred with white,
Resembling well his pale cheekes, and the blood,
Which in round drops, vpõ their whitenesse stood.
She bowes her head, the new-sprong floure to smel,
Comparing it to her Adonis breath,
And saies within her bosome it shall dwell,
Since he himselfe is reft from her by death;
She crop's the stalke, and in the breach appeares,
Green-dropping sap, which she cõpares to teares.
Poore floure (quoth she) this was thy fathers guise,
Sweet issue of a more sweet smelling sire,
For euerie little griefe to wet his eies,
To grow vnto himselfe was his desire;
And so tis thine, but know it is as good,
To wither in my brest, as in his blood.
Here was thy fathers bed, here in my brest,
Thou art the next of blood, and tis thy right.
Lo in this hollow cradle take thy rest,
My throbbing hart shall rock thee day and night;
There shall not be one minute in an houre,
Wherein I wil not kisse my sweet loues floure.
Thus weary of the world, away she hies,
And yokes her siluer doues, by whose swift aide,
Their mistresse mounted through the emptie skies,
In her light chariot, quickly is conuaide,
Holding their course to Paphos, where their queen,
Meanes to immure her selfe, and not beseen.
Modern text
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE HENRY WRIOTHESLEY, EARL OF SOUTHAMPTON, AND BARON OF TITCHFIELD
I know not how I shall offend in dedicating my
unpolished lines to your Lordship, nor how the
world will censure me for choosing so strong a
prop to support so weak a burden: only, if your
Honour seem but pleased, I account my self highly
praised, and vow to take advantage of all idle hours,
till I have honoured you with some graver labour.
But if the first heir of my invention prove de-
formed, I shall be sorry it had so noble a godfather,
and never after ear so barren a land, for fear it yield
me still so bad a harvest. I leave it to your honour-
able survey, and your Honour to your heart's
content; which I wish may always answer your
own wish and the world's hopeful expectation.
Your Honour's in all duty,
William Shakespeare
Even as the sun with purple-coloured face
Had ta'en his last leave of the weeping morn,
Rose-cheeked Adonis hied him to the chase;
Hunting he loved, but love he laughed to scorn.
Sick-thoughted Venus makes amain unto him,
And like a bold-faced suitor 'gins to woo him.
‘ Thrice-fairer than myself,’ thus she began,
‘ The field's chief flower, sweet above compare,
Stain to all nymphs, more lovely than a man,
More white and red than doves or roses are;
Nature that made thee with herself at strife
Saith that the world hath ending with thy life.
‘ Vouchsafe, thou wonder, to alight thy steed,
And rein his proud head to the saddle-bow;
If thou wilt deign this favour, for thy meed
A thousand honey secrets shalt thou know.
Here come and sit, where never serpent hisses,
And being set, I'll smother thee with kisses;
‘ And yet not cloy thy lips with loathed satiety,
But rather famish them amid their plenty,
Making them red and pale with fresh variety;
Ten kisses short as one, one long as twenty.
A summer's day will seem an hour but short,
Being wasted in such time-beguiling sport.’
With this she seizeth on his sweating palm,
The precedent of pith and livelihood,
And, trembling in her passion, calls it balm,
Earth's sovereign salve to do a goddess good.
Being so enraged, desire doth lend her force
Courageously to pluck him from his horse.
Over one arm the lusty courser's rein,
Under her other was the tender boy,
Who blushed and pouted in a dull disdain,
With leaden appetite, unapt to toy;
She red and hot as coals of glowing fire,
He red for shame, but frosty in desire.
The studded bridle on a ragged bough
Nimbly she fastens – O, how quick is love!
The steed is stalled up, and even now
To tie the rider she begins to prove.
Backward she pushed him, as she would be thrust,
And governed him in strength, though not in lust.
So soon was she along as he was down,
Each leaning on their elbows and their hips;
Now doth she stroke his cheek, now doth he frown,
And 'gins to chide, but soon she stops his lips,
And kissing speaks, with lustful language broken,
‘ If thou wilt chide, thy lips shall never open.’
He burns with bashful shame; she with her tears
Doth quench the maiden burning of his cheeks;
Then with her windy sighs and golden hairs
To fan and blow them dry again she seeks.
He saith she is immodest, blames her miss;
What follows more she murders with a kiss.
Even as an empty eagle, sharp by fast,
Tires with her beak on feathers, flesh and bone,
Shaking her wings, devouring all in haste,
Till either gorge be stuffed or prey be gone;
Even so she kissed his brow, his cheek, his chin,
And where she ends she doth anew begin.
Forced to content, but never to obey,
Panting he lies and breatheth in her face;
She feedeth on the steam as on a prey,
And calls it heavenly moisture, air of grace,
Wishing her cheeks were gardens full of flowers,
So they were dewed with such distilling showers.
Look how a bird lies tangled in a net,
So fastened in her arms Adonis lies;
Pure shame and awed resistance made him fret,
Which bred more beauty in his angry eyes.
Rain added to a river that is rank
Perforce will force it overflow the bank.
Still she entreats, and prettily entreats,
For to a pretty ear she tunes her tale:
Still is he sullen, still he lours and frets,
'Twixt crimson shame and anger ashy-pale.
Being red, she loves him best, and being white,
Her best is bettered with a more delight.
Look how he can, she cannot choose but love;
And by her fair immortal hand she swears
From his soft bosom never to remove
Till he take truce with her contending tears,
Which long have rained, making her cheeks all wet;
And one sweet kiss shall pay this countless debt.
Upon this promise did he raise his chin,
Like a dive-dapper peering through a wave,
Who, being looked on, ducks as quickly in;
So offers he to give what she did crave;
But when her lips were ready for his pay,
He winks, and turns his lips another way.
Never did passenger in summer's heat
More thirst for drink than she for this good turn.
Her help she sees, but help she cannot get;
She bathes in water, yet her fire must burn.
‘ O, pity,’ 'gan she cry, ‘ flint-hearted boy!
'Tis but a kiss I beg; why art thou coy?
‘ I have been wooed, as I entreat thee now,
Even by the stern and direful god of war,
Whose sinewy neck in battle ne'er did bow,
Who conquers where he comes in every jar;
Yet hath he been my captive and my slave,
And begged for that which thou unasked shalt have.
‘ Over my altars hath he hung his lance,
His battered shield, his uncontrolled crest,
And for my sake hath learned to sport and dance,
To toy, to wanton, dally, smile and jest,
Scorning his churlish drum and ensign red,
Making my arms his field, his tent my bed.
‘ Thus he that overruled I overswayed,
Leading him prisoner in a red-rose chain:
Strong-tempered steel his stronger strength obeyed,
Yet was he servile to my coy disdain.
O, be not proud, nor brag not of thy might,
For mastering her that foiled the god of fight!
‘ Touch but my lips with those fair lips of thine-
Though mine be not so fair, yet are they red –
The kiss shall be thine own as well as mine.
What see'st thou in the ground? hold up thy head,
Look in mine eyeballs, there thy beauty lies;
Then why not lips on lips, since eyes in eyes?
‘ Art thou ashamed to kiss? then wink again,
And I will wink; so shall the day seem night.
Love keeps his revels where there are but twain;
Be bold to play, our sport is not in sight.
These blue-veined violets whereon we lean
Never can blab, nor know not what we mean.
‘ The tender spring upon thy tempting lip
Shews thee unripe; yet mayst thou well be tasted:
Make use of time, let not advantage slip;
Beauty within itself should not be wasted.
Fair flowers that are not gathered in their prime
Rot, and consume themselves in little time.
‘ Were I hard-favoured, foul, or wrinkled-old,
Ill-nurtured, crooked, churlish, harsh in voice,
O'erworn, despised, rheumatic and cold,
Thick-sighted, barren, lean, and lacking juice,
Then mightst thou pause, for then I were not for thee;
But having no defects, why dost abhor me?
‘ Thou canst not see one wrinkle in my brow;
Mine eyes are grey and bright and quick in turning:
My beauty as the spring doth yearly grow,
My flesh is soft and plump, my marrow burning;
My smooth moist hand, were it with thy hand felt,
Would in thy palm dissolve, or seem to melt.
‘ Bid me discourse, I will enchant thine ear,
Or, like a fairy, trip upon the green,
Or, like a nymph, with long dishevelled hair,
Dance on the sands, and yet no footing seen.
Love is a spirit all compact of fire,
Not gross to sink, but light, and will aspire.
‘ Witness this primrose bank whereon I lie;
These forceless flowers like sturdy trees support me;
Two strengthless doves will draw me through the sky
From morn till night, even where I list to sport me.
Is love so light, sweet boy, and may it be
That thou shouldst think it heavy unto thee?
‘ Is thine own heart to thine own face affected?
Can thy right hand seize love upon thy left?
Then woo thyself, be of thyself rejected,
Steal thine own freedom, and complain on theft.
Narcissus so himself himself forsook,
And died to kiss his shadow in the brook.
‘ Torches are made to light, jewels to wear,
Dainties to taste, fresh beauty for the use,
Herbs for their smell, and sappy plants to bear;
Things growing to themselves are growth's abuse.
Seeds spring from seeds and beauty breedeth beauty;
Thou wast begot; to get it is thy duty.
‘ Upon the earth's increase why shouldst thou feed,
Unless the earth with thy increase be fed?
By law of nature thou art bound to breed,
That thine may live when thou thyself art dead;
And so in spite of death thou dost survive,
In that thy likeness still is left alive.’
By this, the love-sick queen began to sweat,
For where they lay the shadow had forsook them,
And Titan, tired in the mid-day heat,
With burning eye did hotly overlook them,
Wishing Adonis had his team to guide,
So he were like him, and by Venus' side.
And now Adonis, with a lazy spright,
And with a heavy, dark, disliking eye,
His louring brows o'erwhelming his fair sight,
Like misty vapours when they blot the sky,
Souring his cheeks, cries ‘ Fie, no more of love!
The sun doth burn my face; I must remove.’
‘ Ay me,’ quoth Venus, ‘ young, and so unkind!
What bare excuses mak'st thou to be gone!
I'll sigh celestial breath, whose gentle wind
Shall cool the heat of this descending sun;
I'll make a shadow for thee of my hairs;
If they burn too, I'll quench them with my tears.
‘ The sun that shines from heaven shines but warm,
And, lo, I lie between that sun and thee;
The heat I have from thence doth little harm,
Thine eye darts forth the fire that burneth me;
And were I not immortal, life were done
Between this heavenly and earthly sun.
‘ Art thou obdurate, flinty, hard as steel?
Nay, more than flint, for stone at rain relenteth.
Art thou a woman's son, and canst not feel
What 'tis to love? how want of love tormenteth?
O, had thy mother borne so hard a mind,
She had not brought forth thee, but died unkind.
‘ What am I that thou shouldst contemn me this?
Or what great danger dwells upon my suit?
What were thy lips the worse for one poor kiss?
Speak, fair; but speak fair words, or else be mute.
Give me one kiss, I'll give it thee again,
And one for interest, if thou wilt have twain.
‘ Fie, lifeless picture, cold and senseless stone,
Well-painted idol, image dull and dead,
Statue contenting but the eye alone,
Thing like a man, but of no woman bred!
Thou art no man, though of a man's complexion,
For men will kiss even by their own direction.’
This said, impatience chokes her pleading tongue,
And swelling passion doth provoke a pause;
Red cheeks and fiery eyes blaze forth her wrong;
Being judge in love, she cannot right her cause;
And now she weeps, and now she fain would speak,
And now her sobs do her intendments break.
Sometimes she shakes her head, and then his hand;
Now gazeth she on him, now on the ground;
Sometime her arms infold him like a band;
She would, he will not in her arms be bound;
And when from thence he struggles to be gone,
She locks her lily fingers one in one.
‘ Fondling,’ she saith, ‘ since I have hemmed thee here
Within the circuit of this ivory pale,
I'll be a park, and thou shalt be my deer;
Feed where thou wilt, on mountain or in dale;
Graze on my lips, and if those hills be dry,
Stray lower, where the pleasant fountains lie.
‘ Within this limit is relief enough,
Sweet bottom-grass and high delightful plain,
Round rising hillocks, brakes obscure and rough,
To shelter thee from tempest and from rain:
Then be my deer, since I am such a park;
No dog shall rouse thee, though a thousand bark.’
At this Adonis smiles as in disdain,
That in each cheek appears a pretty dimple;
Love made those hollows, if himself were slain,
He might be buried in a tomb so simple,
Foreknowing well, if there he came to lie,
Why, there Love lived, and there he could not die.
These lovely caves, these round enchanting pits,
Opened their mouths to swallow Venus' liking.
Being mad before, how doth she now for wits?
Struck dead at first, what needs a second striking?
Poor queen of love, in thine own law forlorn,
To love a cheek that smiles at thee in scorn!
Now which way shall she turn? what shall she say?
Her words are done, her woes the more increasing;
The time is spent, her object will away,
And from her twining arms doth urge releasing.
‘ Pity,’ she cries, ‘ some favour, some remorse!’
Away he springs, and hasteth to his horse.
But lo, from forth a copse that neighbours by,
A breeding jennet, lusty, young and proud,
Adonis' trampling courser doth espy,
And forth she rushes, snorts and neighs aloud.
The strong-necked steed, being tied unto a tree,
Breaketh his rein and to her straight goes he.
Imperiously he leaps, he neighs, he bounds,
And now his woven girths he breaks asunder;
The bearing earth with his hard hoof he wounds,
Whose hollow womb resounds like heaven's thunder;
The iron bit he crusheth 'tween his teeth,
Controlling what he was controlled with.
His ears up-pricked; his braided hanging mane
Upon his compassed crest now stand on end;
His nostrils drink the air, and forth again,
As from a furnace, vapours doth he send:
His eye, which scornfully glisters like fire,
Shows his hot courage and his high desire.
Sometime he trots, as if he told the steps,
With gentle majesty and modest pride;
Anon he rears upright, curvets and leaps,
As who should say ‘ Lo, thus my strength is tried,
And this I do to captivate the eye
Of the fair breeder that is standing by.’
What recketh he his rider's angry stir,
His flattering ‘ Holla ’ or his ‘ Stand, I say ’?
What cares he now for curb or pricking spur?
For rich caparisons or trappings gay?
He sees his love, and nothing else he sees,
For nothing else with his proud sight agrees.
Look when a painter would surpass the life,
In limning out a well-proportioned steed,
His art with nature's workmanship at strife,
As if the dead the living should exceed;
So did this horse excel a common one
In shape, in courage, colour, pace and bone.
Round-hoofed, short-jointed, fetlocks shag and long,
Broad breast, full eye, small head and nostril wide,
High crest, short ears, straight legs and passing strong,
Thin mane, thick tail, broad buttock, tender hide:
Look what a horse should have he did not lack,
Save a proud rider on so proud a back.
Sometime he scuds far off and there he stares;
Anon he starts at stirring of a feather;
To bid the wind a base he now prepares,
And whe'er he run or fly they know not whether;
For through his mane and tail the high wind sings,
Fanning the hairs, who wave like feathered wings.
He looks upon his love and neighs unto her;
She answers him as if she knew his mind;
Being proud, as females are, to see him woo her,
She puts on outward strangeness, seems unkind,
Spurns at his love and scorns the heat he feels,
Beating his kind embracements with her heels.
Then, like a melancholy malcontent,
He veils his tail that, like a falling plume,
Cool shadow to his melting buttock lent;
He stamps, and bites the poor flies in his fume.
His love, perceiving how he was enraged,
Grew kinder, and his fury was assuaged.
His testy master goeth about to take him;
When, lo, the unbacked breeder, full of fear,
Jealous of catching, swiftly doth forsake him,
With her the horse, and left Adonis there.
As they were mad, unto the wood they hie them,
Out-stripping crows that strive to over-fly them.
All swoln with chafing, down Adonis sits,
Banning his boisterous and unruly beast;
And now the happy season once more fits
That love-sick Love by pleading may be blest;
For lovers say, the heart hath treble wrong
When it is barred the aidance of the tongue.
An oven that is stopped, or river stayed,
Burneth more hotly, swelleth with more rage;
So of concealed sorrow may be said,
Free vent of words love's fire doth assuage;
But when the heart's attorney once is mute,
The client breaks, as desperate in his suit.
He sees her coming, and begins to glow,
Even as a dying coal revives with wind,
And with his bonnet hides his angry brow,
Looks on the dull earth with disturbed mind,
Taking no notice that she is so nigh,
For all askance he holds her in his eye.
O, what a sight it was, wistly to view
How she came stealing to the wayward boy!
To note the fighting conflict of her hue,
How white and red each other did destroy!
But now her cheek was pale, and by and by
It flashed forth fire, as lightning from the sky.
Now was she just before him as he sat,
And like a lowly lover down she kneels;
With one fair hand she heaveth up his hat,
Her other tender hand his fair cheek feels:
His tend'rer cheek receives her soft hand's print
As apt as new-fall'n snow takes any dint.
O, what a war of looks was then between them,
Her eyes petitioners to his eyes suing!
His eyes saw her eyes as they had not seen them;
Her eyes wooed still, his eyes disdained the wooing:
And all this dumb play had his acts made plain
With tears which chorus-like her eyes did rain.
Full gently now she takes him by the hand,
A lily prisoned in a gaol of snow,
Or ivory in an alabaster band;
So white a friend engirts so white a foe:
This beauteous combat, wilful and unwilling,
Showed like two silver doves that sit a-billing.
Once more the engine of her thoughts began:
‘ O fairest mover on this mortal round,
Would thou wert as I am, and I a man,
My heart all whole as thine, thy heart my wound;
For one sweet look thy help I would assure thee,
Though nothing but my body's bane would cure thee.’
‘ Give me my hand,’ saith he, ‘ why dost thou feel it?’
‘ Give me my heart,’ saith she, ‘ and thou shalt have it;
O, give it me, lest thy hard heart do steel it,
And being steeled, soft sighs can never grave it;
Then love's deep groans I never shall regard,
Because Adonis' heart hath made mine hard.’
‘ For shame,’ he cries, ‘ let go, and let me go;
My day's delight is past, my horse is gone,
And 'tis your fault I am bereft him so.
I pray you hence, and leave me here alone;
For all my mind, my thought, my busy care,
Is how to get my palfrey from the mare.’
Thus she replies: ‘ Thy palfrey, as he should,
Welcomes the warm approach of sweet desire.
Affection is a coal that must be cooled;
Else, suffered, it will set the heart on fire.
The sea hath bounds, but deep desire hath none,
Therefore no marvel though thy horse be gone.
‘ How like a jade he stood tied to the tree,
Servilely mastered with a leathern rein!
But when he saw his love, his youth's fair fee,
He held such petty bondage in disdain,
Throwing the base thong from his bending crest,
Enfranchising his mouth, his back, his breast.
‘ Who sees his true-love in her naked bed,
Teaching the sheets a whiter hue than white,
But, when his glutton eye so full hath fed,
His other agents aim at like delight?
Who is so faint that dare not be so bold
To touch the fire, the weather being cold?
‘ Let me excuse thy courser, gentle boy;
And learn of him, I heartily beseech thee,
To take advantage on presented joy;
Though I were dumb, yet his proceedings teach thee.
O, learn to love; the lesson is but plain,
And once made perfect, never lost again.’
‘ I know not love,’ quoth he, ‘ nor will not know it,
Unless it be a boar, and then I chase it.
'Tis much to borrow, and I will not owe it.
My love to love is love but to disgrace it;
For I have heard it is a life in death,
That laughs, and weeps, and all but with a breath.
‘ Who wears a garment shapeless and unfinished?
Who plucks the bud before one leaf put forth?
If springing things be any jot diminished,
They wither in their prime, prove nothing worth.
The colt that's backed and burdened being young
Loseth his pride, and never waxeth strong.
‘ You hurt my hand with wringing; let us part,
And leave this idle theme, this bootless chat;
Remove your siege from my unyielding heart;
To love's alarms it will not ope the gate.
Dismiss your vows, your feigned tears, your flattery;
For where a heart is hard they make no battery.’
‘ What, canst thou talk?’ quoth she, ‘ hast thou a tongue
O, would thou hadst not, or I had no hearing!
Thy mermaid's voice hath done me double wrong;
I had my load before, now pressed with bearing:
Melodious discord, heavenly tune harsh sounding,
Ear's deep-sweet music, and heart's deep-sore wounding.
‘ Had I no eyes but ears, my ears would love
That inward beauty and invisible;
Or were I deaf, thy outward parts would move
Each part in me that were but sensible.
Though neither eyes nor ears, to hear nor see,
Yet should I be in love by touching thee.
‘ Say that the sense of feeling were bereft me,
And that I could not see, nor hear, nor touch,
And nothing but the very smell were left me,
Yet would my love to thee be still as much;
For from the stillitory of thy face excelling
Comes breath perfumed, that breedeth love by smelling.
‘ But O, what banquet wert thou to the taste,
Being nurse and feeder of the other four!
Would they not wish the feast might ever last,
And bid Suspicion double-lock the door,
Lest Jealousy, that sour unwelcome guest,
Should by his stealing in disturb the feast?’
Once more the ruby-coloured portal opened,
Which to his speech did honey passage yield;
Like a red morn, that ever yet betokened
Wreck to the seaman, tempest to the field,
Sorrow to shepherds, woe unto the birds,
Gusts and foul flaws to herdmen and to herds.
This ill presage advisedly she marketh:
Even as the wind is hush'd before it raineth,
Or as the wolf doth grin before he barketh,
Or as the berry breaks before it staineth,
Or like the deadly bullet of a gun,
His meaning struck her ere his words begun.
And at his look she flatly falleth down,
For looks kill love and love by looks reviveth;
A smile recures the wounding of a frown.
But blessed bankrupt that by love so thriveth!
The silly boy, believing she is dead,
Claps her pale cheek, till clapping makes it red;
And all amazed brake off his late intent,
For sharply he did think to reprehend her,
Which cunning love did wittily prevent.
Fair fall the wit that can so well defend her!
For on the grass she lies as she were slain,
Till his breath breatheth life in her again.
He wrings her nose, he strikes her on the cheeks,
He bends her fingers, holds her pulses hard,
He chafes her lips, a thousand ways he seeks
To mend the hurt that his unkindness marred;
He kisses her; and she, by her good will,
Will never rise, so he will kiss her still.
The night of sorrow now is turned to day:
Her two blue windows faintly she upheaveth,
Like the fair sun, when in his fresh array
He cheers the morn and all the earth relieveth;
And as the bright sun glorifies the sky,
So is her face illumined with her eye;
Whose beams upon his hairless face are fixed,
As if from thence they borrowed all their shine.
Were never four such lamps together mixed,
Had not his clouded with his brow's repine;
But hers, which through the crystal tears gave light,
Shone like the moon in water seen by night.
‘ O, where am I?’ quoth she, ‘ in earth or heaven,
Or in the ocean drenched, or in the fire?
What hour is this? or morn or weary even?
Do I delight to die, or life desire?
But now I lived, and life was death's annoy;
But now I died, and death was lively joy.
‘ O, thou didst kill me: kill me once again.
Thy eyes' shrewd tutor, that hard heart of thine,
Hath taught them scornful tricks, and such disdain
That they have murdered this poor heart of mine;
And these mine eyes, true leaders to their queen,
But for thy piteous lips no more had seen.
‘ Long may they kiss each other, for this cure!
O, never let their crimson liveries wear!
And as they last, their verdure still endure
To drive infection from the dangerous year!
That the star-gazers, having writ on death,
May say, the plague is banished by thy breath.
‘ Pure lips, sweet seals in my soft lips imprinted,
What bargains may I make, still to be sealing?
To sell myself I can be well contented,
So thou wilt buy, and pay, and use good dealing;
Which purchase if thou make, for fear of slips
Set thy seal manual on my wax-red lips.
‘ A thousand kisses buys my heart from me;
And pay them at thy leisure, one by one.
What is ten hundred touches unto thee?
Are they not quickly told and quickly gone?
Say for non-payment that the debt should double,
Is twenty hundred kisses such a trouble?’
‘ Fair queen,’ quoth he, ‘ if any love you owe me,
Measure my strangeness with my unripe years:
Before I know myself, seek not to know me;
No fisher but the ungrown fry forbears:
The mellow plum doth fall, the green sticks fast,
Or being early plucked is sour to taste.
‘ Look, the world's comforter, with weary gait,
His day's hot task hath ended in the west;
The owl, night's herald, shrieks 'tis very late;
The sheep are gone to fold, birds to their nest;
And coal-black clouds that shadow heaven's light
Do summon us to part, and bid good night.
‘ Now let me say Good night, and so say you;
If you will say so, you shall have a kiss.’
‘ Good night,’ quoth she; and, ere he says ‘ Adieu,’
The honey fee of parting tendered is:
Her arms do lend his neck a sweet embrace;
Incorporate then they seem; face grows to face.
Till breathless he disjoined, and backward drew
The heavenly moisture, that sweet coral mouth,
Whose precious taste her thirsty lips well knew,
Whereon they surfeit, yet complain on drouth.
He with her plenty pressed, she faint with dearth
Their lips together glued, fall to the earth.
Now quick desire hath caught the yielding prey,
And glutton-like she feeds, yet never filleth;
Her lips are conquerors, his lips obey,
Paying what ransom the insulter willeth;
Whose vulture thought doth pitch the price so high
That she will draw his lips' rich treasure dry.
And having felt the sweetness of the spoil,
With blindfold fury she begins to forage;
Her face doth reek and smoke, her blood doth boil,
And careless lust stirs up a desperate courage,
Planting oblivion, beating reason back,
Forgetting shame's pure blush and honour's wrack.
Hot, faint, and weary, with her hard embracing,
Like a wild bird being tamed with too much handling,
Or as the fleet-foot roe that's tired with chasing,
Or like the froward infant stilled with dandling.
He now obeys and now no more resisteth,
While she takes all she can, not all she listeth.
What wax so frozen but dissolves with temp'ring,
And yields at last to every light impression?
Things out of hope are compassed oft with vent'ring,
Chiefly in love, whose leave exceeds commission:
Affection faints not like a pale-faced coward,
But then woos best when most his choice is froward.
When he did frown, O, had she then gave over,
Such nectar from his lips she had not sucked.
Foul words and frowns must not repel a lover;
What though the rose have prickles, yet 'tis plucked:
Were beauty under twenty locks kept fast,
Yet love breaks through, and picks them all at last.
For pity now she can no more detain him;
The poor fool prays her that he may depart.
She is resolved no longer to restrain him;
Bids him farewell, and look well to her heart,
The which by Cupid's bow she doth protest
He carries thence incaged in his breast.
‘ Sweet boy,’ she says, ‘ this night I'll waste in sorrow,
For my sick heart commands mine eyes to watch.
Tell me, love's master, shall we meet to-morrow?
Say, shall we? shall we? wilt thou make the match?’
He tells her, no; to-morrow he intends
To hunt the boar with certain of his friends.
‘ The boar!’ quoth she; whereat a sudden pale,
Like lawn being spread upon the blushing rose,
Usurps her cheek; she trembles at his tale,
And on his neck her yoking arms she throws.
She sinketh down, still hanging by his neck,
He on her belly falls, she on her back.
Now is she in the very lists of love,
Her champion mounted for the hot encounter.
All is imaginary she doth prove;
He will not manage her, although he mount her;
That worse than Tantalus' is her annoy,
To clip Elysium and to lack her joy.
Even so poor birds, deceived with painted grapes,
Do surfeit by the eye and pine the maw;
Even so she languisheth in her mishaps
As those poor birds that helpless berries saw.
The warm effects which she in him finds missing
She seeks to kindle with continual kissing.
But all in vain, good queen, it will not be,
She hath assayed as much as may be proved;
Her pleading hath deserved a greater fee;
She's Love, she loves, and yet she is not loved.
‘ Fie, fie,’ he says, ‘ you crush me; let me go;
You have no reason to withhold me so.’
‘ Thou hadst been gone,’ quoth she, ‘ sweet boy, ere this,
But that thou toldst me thou wouldst hunt the boar.
O, be advised: thou knowst not what it is
With javelin's point a churlish swine to gore,
Whose tushes never sheathed he whetteth still,
Like to a mortal butcher bent to kill.
‘ On his bow-back he hath a battle set
Of bristly pikes that ever threat his foes;
His eyes like glow-worms shine when he doth fret;
His snout digs sepulchres where'er he goes;
Being moved, he strikes whate'er is in his way,
And whom he strikes his cruel tushes slay.
‘ His brawny sides, with hairy bristles armed,
Are better proof than thy spear's point can enter;
His short thick neck cannot be easily harmed;
Being ireful, on the lion he will venter:
The thorny brambles and embracing bushes,
As fearful of him, part, through whom he rushes.
‘ Alas, he nought esteems that face of thine,
To which Love's eyes pays tributary gazes;
Nor thy soft hands, sweet lips and crystal eyne,
Whose full perfection all the world amazes;
But having thee at vantage – wondrous dread! –
Would root these beauties as he roots the mead.
‘ O, let him keep his loathsome cabin still;
Beauty hath nought to do with such foul fiends.
Come not within his danger by thy will;
They that thrive well take counsel of their friends.
When thou didst name the boar, not to dissemble,
I feared thy fortune, and my joints did tremble.
‘ Didst thou not mark my face? was it not white?
Sawst thou not signs of fear lurk in mine eye?
Grew I not faint? and fell I not downright?
Within my bosom, whereon thou dost lie,
My boding heart pants, beats, and takes no rest,
But, like an earthquake, shakes thee on my breast.
‘ For where Love reigns, disturbing Jealousy
Doth call himself Affection's sentinel;
Gives false alarms, suggesteth mutiny,
And in a peaceful hour doth cry Kill, kill!
Distempering gentle Love in his desire,
As air and water do abate the fire.
‘ This sour informer, this bate-breeding spy,
This canker that eats up Love's tender spring,
This carry-tale, dissentious Jealousy,
That sometime true news, sometime false doth bring,
Knocks at my heart, and whispers in mine ear
That if I love thee I thy death should fear;
‘ And more than so, presenteth to mine eye
The picture of an angry chafing boar
Under whose sharp fangs on his back doth lie
An image like thyself, all stained with gore;
Whose blood upon the fresh flowers being shed
Doth make them droop with grief and hang the head.
‘ What should I do, seeing thee so indeed,
That tremble at th' imagination?
The thought of it doth make my faint heart bleed,
And fear doth teach it divination:
I prophesy thy death, my living sorrow,
If thou encounter with the boar to-morrow.
‘ But if thou needs wilt hunt, be ruled by me;
Uncouple at the timorous flying hare,
Or at the fox which lives by subtlety,
Or at the roe which no encounter dare.
Pursue these fearful creatures o'er the downs,
And on thy well-breath'd horse keep with thy hounds.
‘ And when thou hast on foot the purblind hare,
Mark the poor wretch, to overshoot his troubles,
How he outruns the wind, and with what care
He cranks and crosses with a thousand doubles.
The many musits through the which he goes
Are like a labyrinth to amaze his foes.
‘ Sometime he runs among a flock of sheep,
To make the cunning hounds mistake their smell,
And sometime where earth-delving conies keep,
To stop the loud pursuers in their yell;
And sometime sorteth with a herd of deer.
Danger deviseth shifts; wit waits on fear.
‘ For there his smell with others being mingled,
The hot scent-snuffing hounds are driven to doubt,
Ceasing their clamorous cry till they have singled
With much ado the cold fault cleanly out.
Then do they spend their mouths; Echo replies,
As if another chase were in the skies.
‘ By this, poor Wat, far off upon a hill,
Stands on his hinder legs with listening ear,
To harken if his foes pursue him still:
Anon their loud alarums he doth hear;
And now his grief may be compared well
To one sore sick that hears the passing-bell.
‘ Then shalt thou see the dew-bedabbled wretch
Turn, and return, indenting with the way;
Each envious brier his weary legs doth scratch,
Each shadow makes him stop, each murmur stay;
For misery is trodden on by many,
And being low, never relieved by any.
‘ Lie quietly and hear a little more;
Nay, do not struggle, for thou shalt not rise.
To make thee hate the hunting of the boar,
Unlike myself thou hear'st me moralize,
Applying this to that, and so to so;
For love can comment upon every woe.
‘ Where did I leave?’ ‘ No matter where,’ quoth he,
‘ Leave me, and then the story aptly ends.
The night is spent.’ ‘ Why, what of that?’ quoth she.
‘ I am,’ quoth he, ‘ expected of my friends;
And now 'tis dark, and going I shall fall.’
‘ In night,’ quoth she, ‘ desire sees best of all.
‘ But if thou fall, O, then imagine this,
The earth, in love with thee, thy footing trips,
And all is but to rob thee of a kiss.
Rich preys make true men thieves; so do thy lips
Make modest Dian cloudy and forlorn,
Lest she should steal a kiss, and die forsworn.
‘ Now of this dark night I perceive the reason:
Cynthia for shame obscures her silver shine,
Till forging Nature be condemned of treason,
For stealing moulds from heaven that were divine,
Wherein she framed thee, in high heaven's despite,
To shame the sun by day and her by night.
‘ And therefore hath she bribed the Destinies
To cross the curious workmanship of Nature,
To mingle beauty with infirmities
And pure perfection with impure defeature,
Making it subject to the tyranny
Of mad mischances and much misery;
‘ As burning fevers, agues pale and faint,
Life-poisoning pestilence and frenzies wood,
The marrow-eating sickness whose attaint
Disorder breeds by heating of the blood,
Surfeits, imposthumes, grief and damned despair,
Swear Nature's death for framing thee so fair.
‘ And not the least of all these maladies
But in one minute's fight brings beauty under:
Both favour, savour, hue and qualities,
Whereat th' impartial gazer late did wonder,
Are on the sudden wasted, thawed and done,
As mountain snow melts with the midday sun.
‘ Therefore, despite of fruitless chastity,
Love-lacking vestals and self-loving nuns,
That on the earth would breed a scarcity
And barren dearth of daughters and of sons,
Be prodigal: the lamp that burns by night
Dries up his oil to lend the world his light.
‘ What is thy body but a swallowing grave,
Seeming to bury that posterity
Which by the rights of time thou needs must have,
If thou destroy them not in dark obscurity?
If so, the world will hold thee in disdain,
Sith in thy pride so fair a hope is slain.
‘ So in thyself thyself art made away;
A mischief worse than civil home-bred strife,
Or theirs whose desperate hands themselves do slay,
Or butcher sire that reaves his son of life.
Foul cankering rust the hidden treasure frets,
But gold that's put to use more gold begets.’
‘ Nay, then,’ quoth Adon, ‘ you will fall again
Into your idle over-handled theme;
The kiss I gave you is bestowed in vain,
And all in vain you strive against the stream;
For, by this black-faced night, desire's foul nurse,
Your treatise makes me like you worse and worse.
‘ If love have lent you twenty thousand tongues,
And every tongue more moving than your own,
Bewitching like the wanton mermaid's songs,
Yet from mine ear the tempting tune is blown;
For know, my heart stands armed in mine ear,
And will not let a false sound enter there;
‘ Lest the deceiving harmony should run
Into the quiet closure of my breast;
And then my little heart were quite undone,
In his bedchamber to be barred of rest.
No, lady, no; my heart longs not to groan,
But soundly sleeps, while now it sleeps alone.
‘ What have you urged that I cannot reprove?
The path is smooth that leadeth on to danger;
I hate not love, but your device in love
That lends embracements unto every stranger.
You do it for increase: O strange excuse,
When reason is the bawd to lust's abuse!
‘ Call it not love, for Love to heaven is fled
Since sweating Lust on earth usurped his name;
Under whose simple semblance he hath fed
Upon fresh beauty, blotting it with blame;
Which the hot tyrant stains and soon bereaves,
As caterpillars do the tender leaves.
‘ 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.
‘ More I could tell, but more I dare not say;
The text is old, the orator too green.
Therefore, in sadness, now I will away;
My face is full of shame, my heart of teen:
Mine ears that to your wanton talk attended
Do burn themselves for having so offended.’
With this, he breaketh from the sweet embrace
Of those fair arms which bound him to her breast,
And homeward through the dark laund runs apace;
Leaves Love upon her back deeply distressed.
Look how a bright star shooteth from the sky,
So glides he in the night from Venus' eye;
Which after him she darts, as one on shore
Gazing upon a late-embarked friend,
Till the wild waves will have him seen no more,
Whose ridges with the meeting clouds contend;
So did the merciless and pitchy night
Fold in the object that did feed her sight.
Whereat amazed as one that unaware
Hath dropped a precious jewel in the flood,
Or 'stonished as night-wanderers often are,
Their light blown out in some mistrustful wood;
Even so confounded in the dark she lay
Having lost the fair discovery of her way.
And now she beats her heart, whereat it groans,
That all the neighbour caves, as seeming troubled,
Make verbal repetition of her moans;
Passion on passion deeply is redoubled:
‘ Ay me!’ she cries, and twenty times, ‘ Woe, woe!’
And twenty echoes twenty times cry so.
She, marking them, begins a wailing note,
And sings extemporally a woeful ditty;
How love makes young men thrall, and old men dote;
How love is wise in folly, foolish witty:
Her heavy anthem still concludes in woe,
And still the choir of echoes answer so.
Her song was tedious, and outwore the night,
For lovers' hours are long, though seeming short:
If pleased themselves, others, they think, delight
In such-like circumstance, with such-like sport.
Their copious stories, oftentimes begun,
End without audience, and are never done.
For who hath she to spend the night withal
But idle sounds resembling parasites,
Like shrill-tongued tapsters answering every call,
Soothing the humour of fantastic wits?
She says ‘ 'Tis so;’ they answer all ‘ 'Tis so,’
And would say after her, if she said ‘ No.’
Lo, here the gentle lark, weary of rest,
From his moist cabinet mounts up on high,
And wakes the morning, from whose silver breast
The sun ariseth in his majesty;
Who doth the world so gloriously behold
That cedar-tops and hills seem burnished gold.
Venus salutes him with this fair good-morrow:
‘ O thou clear god, and patron of all light,
From whom each lamp and shining star doth borrow
The beauteous influence that makes him bright,
There lives a son that sucked an earthly mother,
May lend thee light, as thou dost lend to other.’
This said, she hasteth to a myrtle grove,
Musing the morning is so much o'erworn,
And yet she hears no tidings of her love;
She hearkens for his hounds and for his horn.
Anon she hears them chant it lustily,
And all in haste she coasteth to the cry.
And as she runs, the bushes in the way
Some catch her by the neck, some kiss her face,
Some twine about her thigh to make her stay;
She wildly breaketh from their strict embrace,
Like a milch doe, whose swelling dugs do ache,
Hasting to feed her fawn hid in some brake.
By this she hears the hounds are at a bay;
Whereat she starts, like one that spies an adder
Wreathed up in fatal folds just in his way,
The fear whereof doth make him shake and shudder:
Even so the timorous yelping of the hounds
Appals her senses and her spirit confounds.
For now she knows it is no gentle chase,
But the blunt boar, rough bear, or lion proud,
Because the cry remaineth in one place,
Where fearfully the dogs exclaim aloud.
Finding their enemy to be so curst,
They all strain court'sy who shall cope him first.
This dismal cry rings sadly in her ear,
Through which it enters to surprise her heart;
Who, overcome by doubt and bloodless fear,
With cold-pale weakness numbs each feeling part;
Like soldiers, when their captain once doth yield,
They basely fly and dare not stay the field.
Thus stands she in a trembling ecstasy;
Till, cheering up her senses all dismayed,
She tells them 'tis a causeless fantasy,
And childish error, that they are afraid;
Bids them leave quaking, bids them fear no more;
And with that word she spied the hunted boar,
Whose frothy mouth, bepainted all with red,
Like milk and blood being mingled both together,
A second fear through all her sinews spread,
Which madly hurries her she knows not whither:
This way runs, and now she will no further,
But back retires to rate the boar for murther.
A thousand spleens bear her a thousand ways;
She treads the path that she untreads again;
Her more than haste is mated with delays,
Like the proceedings of a drunken brain,
Full of respects, yet nought at all respecting,
In hand with all things, nought at all effecting.
Here kennelled in a brake she finds a hound,
And asks the weary caitiff for his master,
And there another licking of his wound,
'Gainst venomed sores the only sovereign plaster;
And here she meets another sadly scowling,
To whom she speaks, and he replies with howling.
When he hath ceased his ill-resounding noise,
Another flap-mouthed mourner, black and grim,
Against the welkin volleys out his voice;
Another and another answer him,
Clapping their proud tails to the ground below,
Shaking their scratched ears, bleeding as they go.
Look how the world's poor people are amazed
At apparitions, signs and prodigies,
Whereon with fearful eyes they long have gazed,
Infusing them with dreadful prophecies;
So she at these sad signs draws up her breath
And, sighing it again, exclaims on Death.
‘ Hard-favoured tyrant, ugly, meagre, lean,
Hateful divorce of love,’ – thus chides she Death –
‘ Grim-grinning ghost, earth's worm, what dost thou mean
To stifle beauty and to steal his breath
Who when he lived, his breath and beauty set
Gloss on the rose, smell to the violet?
‘ If he be dead – O no, it cannot be,
Seeing his beauty, thou shouldst strike at it –
O yes, it may; thou hast no eyes to see,
But hatefully at random dost thou hit.
Thy mark is feeble age; but thy false dart
Mistakes that aim, and cleaves an infant's heart.
‘ Hadst thou but bid beware, then he had spoke,
And, hearing him, thy power had lost his power.
The Destinies will curse thee for this stroke;
They bid thee crop a weed, thou pluckst a flower.
Love's golden arrow at him should have fled,
And not Death's ebon dart, to strike him dead.
‘ Dost thou drink tears, that thou provok'st such weeping?
What may a heavy groan advantage thee?
Why hast thou cast into eternal sleeping
Those eyes that taught all other eyes to see?
Now Nature cares not for thy mortal vigour,
Since her best work is ruined with thy rigour.’
Here overcome as one full of despair,
She vailed her eyelids, who, like sluices, stopped
The crystal tide that from her two cheeks fair
In the sweet channel of her bosom dropped;
But through the flood-gates breaks the silver rain,
And with his strong course opens them again.
O, how her eyes and tears did lend and borrow!
Her eye seen in the tears, tears in her eye;
Both crystals, where they viewed each other's sorrow,
Sorrow that friendly sighs sought still to dry;
But like a stormy day, now wind, now rain,
Sighs dry her cheeks, tears make them wet again.
Variable passions throng her constant woe,
As striving who should best become her grief;
All entertained, each passion labours so
That every present sorrow seemeth chief,
But none is best. Then join they all together,
Like many clouds consulting for foul weather.
By this, far off she hears some huntsman holloa;
A nurse's song ne'er pleased her babe so well.
The dire imagination she did follow
This sound of hope doth labour to expel;
For now reviving joy bids her rejoice,
And flatters her it is Adonis' voice.
Whereat her tears began to turn their tide,
Being prisoned in her eye like pearls in glass;
Yet sometimes falls an orient drop beside,
Which her cheek melts, as scorning it should pass
To wash the foul face of the sluttish ground,
Who is but drunken when she seemeth drowned.
O hard-believing love, how strange it seems
Not to believe, and yet too credulous!
Thy weal and woe are both of them extremes;
Despair, and hope, makes thee ridiculous:
The one doth flatter thee in thoughts unlikely,
In likely thoughts the other kills thee quickly.
Now she unweaves the web that she hath wrought:
Adonis lives, and Death is not to blame;
It was not she that called him, all to nought:
Now she adds honours to his hateful name;
She clepes him king of graves, and grave for kings,
Imperious supreme of all mortal things.
‘ No, no,’ quoth she, ‘ sweet Death, I did but jest;
Yet pardon me, I felt a kind of fear
When as I met the boar, that bloody beast,
Which knows no pity, but is still severe:
Then, gentle shadow – truth I must confess –
I railed on thee, fearing my love's decease.
‘ 'Tis not my fault: the boar provoked my tongue;
Be wreaked on him, invisible commander;
'Tis he, foul creature, that hath done thee wrong;
I did but act, he's author of thy slander.
Grief hath two tongues, and never woman yet
Could rule them both without ten women's wit.’
Thus, hoping that Adonis is alive,
Her rash suspect she doth extenuate;
And that his beauty may the better thrive,
With Death she humbly doth insinuate;
Tells him of trophies, statues, tombs, and stories
His victories, his triumphs and his glories.
‘ O Jove,’ quoth she, ‘ how much a fool was I
To be of such a weak and silly mind
To wail his death who lives, and must not die
Till mutual overthrow of mortal kind!
For he being dead, with him is Beauty slain,
And, Beauty dead, black Chaos comes again.
‘ Fie, fie, fond love, thou art as full of fear
As one with treasure laden, hemmed with thieves;
Trifles unwitnessed with eye or ear
Thy coward heart with false bethinking grieves.’
Even at this word she hears a merry horn,
Whereat she leaps that was but late forlorn.
As falcon to the lure, away she flies;
The grass stoops not, she treads on it so light;
And in her haste unfortunately spies
The foul boar's conquest on her fair delight;
Which seen, her eyes, as murdered with the view,
Like stars ashamed of day, themselves withdrew;
Or as the snail, whose tender horns being hit,
Shrinks backward in his shelly cave with pain,
And there all smothered up in shade doth sit,
Long after fearing to creep forth again;
So at his bloody view her eyes are fled
Into the deep-dark cabins of her head;
Where they resign their office and their light
To the disposing of her troubled brain;
Who bids them still consort with ugly night,
And never wound the heart with looks again;
Who, like a king perplexed in his throne,
By their suggestion gives a deadly groan:
Whereat each tributary subject quakes,
As when the wind, imprisoned in the ground,
Struggling for passage, earth's foundation shakes,
Which with cold terror doth men's minds confound.
This mutiny each part doth so surprise,
That from their dark beds once more leap her eyes;
And being opened, threw unwilling light
Upon the wide wound that the boar had trenched
In his soft flank; whose wonted lily-white
With purple tears that his wound wept was drenched:
No flower was nigh, no grass, herb, leaf or weed,
But stole his blood and seemed with him to bleed.
This solemn sympathy poor Venus noteth;
Over one shoulder doth she hang her head;
Dumbly she passions, franticly she doteth:
She thinks he could not die, he is not dead.
Her voice is stopped, her joints forget to bow;
Her eyes are mad that they have wept till now.
Upon his hurt she looks so steadfastly
That her sight dazzling makes the wound seem three;
And then she reprehends her mangling eye
That makes more gashes where no breach should be:
His face seems twain, each several limb is doubled,
For oft the eye mistakes, the brain being troubled.
‘ My tongue cannot express my grief for one,
And yet,’ quoth she, ‘ behold two Adons dead!
My sighs are blown away, my salt tears gone,
Mine eyes are turned to fire, my heart to lead;
Heavy heart's lead, melt at mine eyes' red fire!
So shall I die by drops of hot desire.
‘ Alas, poor world, what treasure hast thou lost!
What face remains alive that's worth the viewing?
Whose tongue is music now? what canst thou boast
Of things long since, or any thing ensuing?
The flowers are sweet, their colours fresh and trim;
But true sweet beauty lived and died with him.
‘ Bonnet nor veil henceforth no creature wear;
Nor sun nor wind will ever strive to kiss you.
Having no fair to lose, you need not fear;
The sun doth scorn you, and the wind doth hiss you.
But when Adonis lived, sun and sharp air
Lurked like two thieves, to rob him of his fair;
‘ And therefore would he put his bonnet on,
Under whose brim the gaudy sun would peep;
The wind would blow it off, and, being gone,
Play with his locks. Then would Adonis weep;
And straight, in pity of his tender years,
They both would strive who first should dry his tears.
‘ To see his face the lion walked along
Behind some hedge, because he would not fear him;
To recreate himself when he hath sung,
The tiger would be tame and gently hear him;
If he had spoke, the wolf would leave his prey
And never fright the silly lamb that day.
‘ When he beheld his shadow in the brook,
The fishes spread on it their golden gills;
When he was by, the birds such pleasure took
That some would sing, some other in their bills
Would bring him mulberries and ripe-red cherries;
He fed them with his sight, they him with berries.
‘ But this foul, grim, and urchin-snouted boar,
Whose downward eye still looketh for a grave,
Ne'er saw the beauteous livery that he wore;
Witness the entertainment that he gave.
If he did see his face, why then I know
He thought to kiss him, and hath killed him so.
‘ 'Tis true, 'tis true; thus was Adonis slain:
He ran upon the boar with his sharp spear,
Who did not whet his teeth at him again,
But by a kiss thought to persuade him there;
And nuzzling in his flank, the loving swine
Sheathed unaware the tusk in his soft groin.
‘ Had I been toothed like him, I must confess,
With kissing him I should have killed him first;
But he is dead, and never did he bless
My youth with his; the more am I accurst.’
With this, she falleth in the place she stood,
And stains her face with his congealed blood.
She looks upon his lips, and they are pale;
She takes him by the hand, and that is cold;
She whispers in his ears a heavy tale,
As if they heard the woeful words she told;
She lifts the coffer-lids that close his eyes,
Where, lo, two lamps, burnt out, in darkness lies;
Two glasses, where herself herself beheld
A thousand times, and now no more reflect,
Their virtue lost wherein they late excelled,
And every beauty robbed of his effect.
‘ Wonder of time,’ quoth she, ‘ this is my spite,
That, thou being dead, the day should yet be light.
‘ Since thou art dead, lo, here I prophesy
Sorrow on love hereafter shall attend:
It shall be waited on with jealousy,
Find sweet beginning, but unsavoury end;
Ne'er settled equally, but high or low,
That all love's pleasure shall not match his woe.
‘ It shall be fickle, false and full of fraud,
Bud, and be blasted, in a breathing while;
The bottom poison, and the top o'erstrawed
With sweets that shall the truest sight beguile;
The strongest body shall it make most weak,
Strike the wise dumb, and teach the fool to speak.
‘ It shall be sparing, and too full of riot,
Teaching decrepit age to tread the measures;
The staring ruffian shall it keep in quiet,
Pluck down the rich, enrich the poor with treasures;
It shall be raging-mad, and silly-mild,
Make the young old, the old become a child.
‘ It shall suspect where is no cause of fear;
It shall not fear where it should most mistrust;
It shall be merciful, and too severe,
And most deceiving when it seems most just;
Perverse it shall be where it shows most toward,
Put fear to valour, courage to the coward.
‘ It shall be cause of war and dire events,
And set dissension 'twixt the son and sire;
Subject and servile to all discontents,
As dry combustious matter is to fire.
Sith in his prime death doth my love destroy,
They that love best their loves shall not enjoy.’
By this the boy that by her side lay killed
Was melted like a vapour from her sight,
And in his blood that on the ground lay spilled
A purple flower sprung up, chequered with white,
Resembling well his pale cheeks, and the blood
Which in round drops upon their whiteness stood.
She bows her head the new-sprung flower to smell,
Comparing it to her Adonis' breath;
And says within her bosom it shall dwell,
Since he himself is reft from her by death.
She crops the stalk, and in the breach appears
Green-dropping sap, which she compares to tears.
‘ Poor flower,’ quoth she, ‘ this was thy father's guise –
Sweet issue of a more sweet-smelling sire –
For every little grief to wet his eyes.
To grow unto himself was his desire,
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 conveyed,
Holding their course to Paphos, where their queen
Means to immure herself and not be seen.
SHAKESPEARE'S WORDS © 2018 DAVID CRYSTAL & BEN CRYSTAL