Page images
PDF
EPUB

“ 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 dishevell d 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 to 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 ?

Grey is said to be here used as blue. We have subsequently,

“ Her two blue windows faintly she upheaveth." But the eye-lids are the “blue windows."

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 midday 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 lowering 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."

"Ah 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.

[ocr errors]

“ 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 't is to love? how want of love tormenteth?

. 'Tired-attired.

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;
Sometimes 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.

* Unkind. Milton applies the same epithet, in the same way, in his Doctrine of Divorce :'_" The desire and longing to put off an unkindly solitariness by uniting another body, but not without a fit soul, to his, in the cheerful society of wedlock."

b Contemn is here used in the sense of throw aside; as Malone explains it, Contemptuously refuse this favour."

Intendments-intentions. So in Othello,' Act IV., Scene 2:-“ I have said nothing but what I protest intendment of doing.” The word continued to be used long after the time of Shakspere.

Fondling,” she saith, “since I have hemm’d 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, tho' 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 liv'd, and there he could not die.

These lovely caves, these round-enchanting pits,
Open'd 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!

[merged small][ocr errors]

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,

* Remorse - tenderness.

Adonis' trampling courser doth espy,
And forth she rushes, snorts, and neighs aloud:

The strong-neck'd 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 crushes 'tween his teeth,
Controlling what he was controlled with.

b

His ears up prick'd; his braided hanging mane
Upon his compass'd 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,"d or his “Stand, I say?"

a

Compassic-arched. Mane is here used as a plural noun. In a note on 'Othello,' Act II., Scene 1, we justified the adoption of a new reading

“ The wind-shak'd surge, with high and monstrous muneupon the belief that in this line we have a picture which was probably suggested in the noble passage of Job :-“ Hast thou given the horse strength ? Hast thou clothed his neck with thunder ?” The passage before us shows that the image was familiar to the mind of Shakspere, of the majesty of the war-horse erecting his mane under the influence of passion.

• This is a faint echo of the wonderful passage in Job—“He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha!”

a Holla. Ho is the ancient interjection, giving notice to stop. The word before us is certainly the same as the French hola, and is explained in Cotgrave's French Dictionary as meaning “ enough, soft, soft, no more of that.”

« PreviousContinue »