Page images

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 't is 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,

712 moralize] supply the story with a moral.


724 Rich preys . . . thieves] Cf. Sonnet xlviii, 14: "For truth proves thievish for a prize so dear." "True" and "truth" are equivalent to "honest" and "honesty."

725 cloudy] gloomy.

[ocr errors]

726 forsworn] having broken her oath of chastity.

728 Cynthia] The goddess of the moon; an alternative name of Diana.



Till forging Nature be condemn'd 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 damn'd 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 the impartial gazer late did wonder,

730 moulds] patterns, copies. Cf. Lear, III, ii, 8: "Crack nature's moulds."

736 defeature] disfigurement. Cf. Com. of Errors, II, i, 98; V, i, 299: "Strange defeatures in my face."

739 pale and faint] causing paleness and faintness or feebleness.

740 wood] mad; an archaic word in frequent use.

741 attaint] malignity.

743 imposthumes] abscesses.



Are on the sudden wasted, thaw'd 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.

749 done] consumed, destroyed.


751-768 Therefore gold begets] This theme of the valuelessness of beauty which does not reproduce itself has already been treated in lines 163-174, supra. See note on that passage.

757-760 What is thy body . . . obscurity?] Cf. Rom. and Jul., I, i, 217– 218: "For beauty, starved with her severity, Cuts beauty off from all posterity." So Sonnet iii, 7-8: "Or who is he so fond will be the tomb Of his self-love, to stop posterity?"

757 swallowing grave] Cf. Sonnet lxxvii, 6: "mouthed graves." 766 reaves] an archaic form of "bereaves."



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 bestow'd 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 barr'd of rest.

767 frets] corrodes, eats or wears away. Cf. Peele's Tale of Troy (1589), 1. 208: "That fretting Time shall never wear away," and Meas. for Meas., IV, iii, 151: "fretting waters."

774 treatise] discourse.

777 Bewitching . . . mermaid's songs] Cf. 429, supra, and Lucrece, 1411: "As if some mermaid did their ears entice."

782 Into the quiet closure of my breast] Cf. Sonnet xlviii, 11: "Within the gentle closure of my breast," and Rich. III, III, iii, 11: “Within the guilty closure of thy walls."



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 usurp'd 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;



785 my

heart longs not to groan] my heart has no ambition to groan with

pangs of love.

787 reprove] refute, disprove.

789 your device in love] your manner of making love.

792 reason ... lust's abuse] Cf. Hamlet, III, iv, 88: will."

797 bereaves] robs (of its fresh purity).

799 Love comforteth like sunshine] Cf. line 529, supra.

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »