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"I have been woo'd, 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 begg'd for that which thou unask'd shalt have.

"Over my altars hath he hung his lance,

His batter'd shield, his uncontrolled crest,
And for my sake hath learn'd 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-temper'd steel is stronger strength obeyed,
Yet was he servile to my coy disdain.

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O, be not proud, nor brag not of thy might,
For mastering her that foil'd 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?

100 jar] conflict.

110 Leading... red-rose chain] Cf. Ronsard, Odes, Bk. iv, Ode 23: "Les muses lièrent un jour De chaines de roses Amour," a charming paraphrase of Anacreon's Ode xix (Bergk) which Ronsard's contemporary, Remy Belleau, translated more literally.




"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-vein'd 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 gather'd in their prime
Rot and consume themselves in little time.

"Were I hard-favour'd, foul, or wrinkled-old, Ill-nurtured, crooked, churlish, harsh in voice,

125 blue-vein'd violets] So Barnfield's Affectionate Shepherd (1594), l. 176; "the blue-vein'd Violet."

130 Beauty... wasted] So Sonnet ix, 11; see 163–174, infra, and note. 131-132 Fair flowers. . . little time] Another very hackneyed conceit of the classicising poets of the Renaissance. Cf. Ovid, Ars Amat., ii, 115-116:

"Nec violae semper, nec hiantia lilia florent,

Et riget amissa spina relicta rosa"

Both Wyatt and Surrey adapted the conceit, which the Elizabethans employed to satiety. Cf. Pass. Pilg., xiii. Ronsard's rendering (Euvres, ed. Blanchemain, 1857, vol. i, p. 397) is especially characteristic:

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134 harsh in voice] Cf. Lear, V, iii, 272–273: "Her voice was ever soft, Gentle and low, an excellent thing in woman."


O'erworn, despised, rheumatic and cold,
Thick-sighted, barren, lean, and lacking juice,

Then mightst thou pause, for then I were not for

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 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 till night, even where I list to sport me:

140 grey] greyish-blue; a grey eye was reckoned a feature of beauty in Cf. Rom. and Jul., II, iv, 42.


143 moist hand] See note on line 26, supra.

148 Dance on the sands

seen] Cf. Tempest, V, i, 34–35: “ye that on

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the sands with printless foot Do chase the ebbing Neptune.' 149 compact] composed. Cf. Com. of Errors, III, ii, 22: "Being compact of credit, that you love us."



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

Thou wast begot; to get it is thy duty.

161-162 Narcissus. in the brook] A like illustration from Narcissus' fate figures in Lucrece, lines 265–266. According to the classical version of the tale in Ovid's Metam. (iii, 407 seq.), Narcissus did not drown himself, but was turned into a flower. Marlowe's account of Narcissus in Hero and Leander (Sestiad I, 74-76), doubtless suggests Shakespeare's allusion:

[He] leapt into the water for a kiss

Of his own shadow, and despising many,
Died ere he could enjoy the love of any.

163-174 Torches are . . . alive] This theme of the duty of beauty to reproduce itself, which is mentioned supra, 130–133, and is developed later in lines 751-768, infra, is the main topic of Shakespeare's Sonnets i-xvii, and is also noticed in Rom. and Jul., I, i, 210-218. Cf. Sonnet iv, 1-2: "Unthrifty loveliness, why dost thou spend Upon thyself thy beauty's legacy?" and Rom. and Jul., I, i, 213–214: “O, she is rich in beauty, only poor That, when she dies, with beauty dies her store."


"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."

177 Titan, tired] The sun, fatigued or weary. "Tired" is frequently found for "attired" (i. e., clothed), but it is doubtful if the word be so employed here. Ovid repeatedly gives the sun the name Titan (cf. Metam., i, 10), and Shakespeare often follows Ovid's example. Only here and in Rom. and Jul., II, iii, 4 (“Titan's fiery wheels") does Shakespeare mention Titan as driver of the chariot of the sun. That description echoes the early Greek myth which makes Hyperion, the sun's charioteer, one of the family known as Titans. 185 Souring his cheeks] Causing his cheeks to turn pale with impatience. "Souring" suggests an image from sour milk. Cf. Tim. of Ath., III, i, 53-54: "Has friendship such a faint and milky heart, It turns in less than two nights?"



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