’What should I do, seeing thee so indeed,
That tremble at the imagination? . . . . . . .668
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. . . .672
’But if thou needs wilt hunt, be rul’d by me;
Uncouple at the timorous flying hare,
Or at the fox which lives by subtilty,
Or at the roe which no encounter dare: . . . . .676
Pursue these fearful creatures o’er the downs,
And on thy well-breath’d horse keep with thy hound.
’And when thou hast on foot the purblind hare,
Mark the poor wretch, to overshoot his troubles . .680
How he outruns the winds, 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. . . . .684
’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, . . . . 688
And sometime sorteth with a herd of deer;
Danger deviseth shifts, wit waits on fear:
’For there his smell with others being mingled, . .691
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. . . . . 696
’By this, poor Wat, far off upon a hill,
Stands on his hinder legs with listening ear,
To hearken if his foes pursue him still:
Anon their loud alarums he doth hear; . . . . . 700
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; . . . .704
Each envious briar his weary legs doth scratch,
Each shadow makes him stop, each murmur stay:
For misery is trodden on by many,
And being low never reliev’d by any. . . . . .708
’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, . . . . 712
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: . . . .716
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.’ 720
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. . . . . . 723
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 . . . 728
Till forging Nature be condemn’d of treason,
For stealing moulds from heaven that were divine;
Wherein she fram’d thee in high heaven’s despite,
To shame the sun by day and her by night. . . . 732
’And therefore hath she brib’d the Destinies,
To cross the curious workmanship of nature
To mingle beauty with infirmities,
And pure perfection with impure defeature; . . . 736
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, . . .740
The marrow-eating sickness, whose attains
Disorder breeds by heating of the blood;
Surfeits, imposthumes, grief, and damn’d despair,
Swear nature’s death for framing thee so fair. . 744
’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, . . .748
Are on the sudden wasted, thaw’d and done,
As mountain-snow melts with the mid-day sun.
’Therefore, despite of fruitless chastity,
Love-lacking vestals and self-loving nuns, . . . 752
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. . .756
’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? . . . 760
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, . . 764
Or theirs whose desperate hands themselves do slay,
Or butcher-sire that reeves his son of life.
Foul-cankering rust the hidden treasure frets,
But gold that’s put to use more gold begets.’ . .768
’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; . . 772
For by this black-fac’d 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, . . . 776
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; . . 780
’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. . . . . 784
No, lady, no; my heart longs not to groan,
But soundly sleeps, while now it sleeps alone.
’What have you urg’d that I cannot reprove? . . .
The path is smooth that leadeth on to danger; . . 790
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. . . . 792
’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; . . . 796
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; . . . . 800
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. . . 804
’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: . . . 808
Mine ears, that to your wanton talk attended
Do burn themselves for having so offended.’
With this he breaketh from the sweet embrace . . .811
Of those fair arms which bound him to her breast,
And homeward through the dark laund runs apace; . .
Leaves Love upon her back deeply distress’d.
Look, how a bright star shooteth from the sky
So glides he in the night from Venus’ eye; . . .816
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: . . 820
So did the merciless and pitchy night
Fold in the object that did feed her sight.
Whereat amaz’d, as one that unaware
Hath dropp’d a precious jewel in the flood, . . . 824
Or ’stonish’d 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. . . .828
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: . . . . 832
’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; . . . . .836
How love makes young men thrall and old men dote;
How love is wise in folly foolish-witty:
Her heavy anthem stili concludes in woe,
And still the choir of echoes answer so. . . . 840
Her song was tedious, and outwore the night,
For lovers’ hours are long, though seeming short:
If pleas’d themselves, others, they think, delight
In such like circumstance, with such like sport: . 844
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; . . . . . 848
Like shrill-tongu’d 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’. . . .852
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; . . . . . . . 856
Who doth the world so gloriously behold,
That cedar-tops and hills seem burnish’d gold.
Venus salutes him with this fair good morrow:
’O thou clear god, and patron of all light, . . . 860
From whom each lamp and shining star doth borrow
The beauteous influence that makes him bright,
There lives a son that suck’d an earthly mother,
May lend thee light, as thou dost lend to other’
This said, she hasteth to a myrtle grove, . . . .865
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: . . 868
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, . .872
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. . . 876
By this she hears the hounds are at a bay;
Whereat she starts, like one that spies an adder
Wreath’d 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 . . .881
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, . . 884
Because the cry remaineth in one place,
Wilere fearfully the dogs exclaim aloud:
Finding their enemy to be so curst,
They all strain courtesy who shall cope him first.
This dismal cry rings sadly in her ear, . . . . 889
Througll 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 sore dismay’d, . . . 896
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, . . . 901
Like milk and blood being mingled both together,
A second fear through all her sinews spread,
Which madly hurries her she knows not whither: . . 904
This way she 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; . . .908
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 kennel’d in a brake she finds a hound, . . . 9l3
And asks the weary caitiff for his master,
And there another licking of his wound,
Gainst venom’d sores the only sovereign plaster; . 916
And here she meets another sadly scowling,
To whom she speaks, and he replies with howling.
When he hath ceas’d his ill-resounding noise,
Another flap-mouth’d mourner, black and grim, . . 920
Against the welkin volleys out his voice;
Another and another answer him,
Clapping their proud tails to the ground below,
Shaking their scratch’d ears, bleeding as they go.
Look, how the world’s poor people are amaz’d . . .925
At apparitions, signs, and prodigies,
Whereon with fearful eyes they long have gaz’d,
Infusing them with dreadful prophecies; . . . . 928
So she at these sad sighs draws up her breath,
And, sighing it again, exclaims on Death.
’Hard-favour’d tyrant, ugly, meagre, lean, . . . 931
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 liv’d, his breath and beauty set
Gloss on the rose, smell to the violet? . . . .936
’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. . . . . .940
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. . .944
The Destinies will curse thee for this stroke;
They bid thee crop a weed, thou pluck’st a flower.
Love’s golden arrow at him shoull have fled,
And not Death’s ebon dart, to strike him dead. . 948
’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? . . 952
Now Nature cares not for thy mortal vigour
Since her best work is ruin’d with thy rigour.’
Here overcome, as one full of despair,
She vail’d her eyelids, who, like sluices, stopp’d .956
The crystal tide that from her two cheeks fair
In the sweet channel of her bosom dropp’d
But through the flood-gates breaks the silver rain,
And with his strong course opens them again. . . 960
O! how her eyes and tears did lend and borrow;
Her eyes seen in the tears, tears in her eye;
Both crystals, where they view’d each other’s sorrow,
Sorrow that friendly sighs sought still to dry; . .964
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; . . 968
All entertain’d, 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. . . 972
By this, far off she hears some huntsman holloa;
A nurse’s song no’er pleas’d her babe so well:
The dire imagination she did follow
This sound of hope doth labour to expel; . . . . 976
For now reviving joy bids her rejoice,
And flatters her it is Adonis’ voice.
Whereat her tears began to turn their tide,
Being prison’d in her eye, like pearls in glass; . 980
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 drown’d.
O hard-believing love! how strange it seems . . . 985
Not to believe, and yet too credulous;
Thy weal and woe are both of them extremes;
Despair and hope make thee ridiculous: . . . . .988
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; . . . . 992
It was not she that call’d him all to naught,
Now she adds honours to his hateful name;
She clepes him king of graves, and grave for kings,
Imperious supreme of all mortal things. . . . .996
’No, no,’ quoth she, ’sweet Death, I did but jest;
Yet pardon me, I felt a kind of fear
Whenas I met the boar, that bloody beast,
Which knows no pity, but is still severe; . . . 1000
Then, gentle shadow,--truth I must confess--
I rail’d on thee, fearing my love’s decease.
’Tis not my fault: the boar provok’d my tongue;
Be wreak’d on him, invisible commander; . . . . 1004
’Tis he, foul creature, that hath done thee wrong;
I did but act, he ’s author of my slander:
Grief hath two "