William Shakespeare.

The dramatic works of William Shakspeare... embracing a life of the poet, and notes, original and selected (Volume 8) online

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Online LibraryWilliam ShakespeareThe dramatic works of William Shakspeare... embracing a life of the poet, and notes, original and selected (Volume 8) → online text (page 1 of 27)
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! Vilia miretur vulgus, mihi flavus Apollo
Poculo Castalia plena ministret aqua."






T KNOW not how I shall offend in dedicating my unpol
ished lines to your Lordship, nor how the world will cen
sure me for choosing so strong a prop to support so weak
a burthen : only if your honor seem but pleased, I account
myself highly praised, and vow to take advantage of all
idle hours till I have honored you with some graver labor.
But if the first heir of my invention prove .deformed, I
shall be sorry it had so noble a godfather, and never after
ear l so barren a land, for fear it yield me still so bad a
harvest. I leave it to your honorable survey, and your
honor 2 to your heart s content ; which I wish may always
answer your own wish, and the world s hopeful expecta

Your Honor s in all duty,


1 Ear, plough.

2 Honor. As a duke is now styled "your grace," so " your honor " was
formerly the usual mode of address to noblemen in general.


EVEN as the sun with purple-colored face
Had ta en his last leave of the weeping morn,
Rose-cheeked Adonis 1 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;.

1 The poem of u Hero and Leander," although Marlowe s por
tion of it was not published till 1598, was probably well known in
the poetical circles. The following lines are in the first ses-
tyad :

" The men of wealthy Sestos every year,
For his sake whom their goddess held so dear,
Rose-cheeked Adonis, kept a solemn feast."


" Vouchsafe, thou wonder, to alight thy steed,
And rein his proud head to the saddle-bow ;
If thou wilt deign this favor, 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,
Fen 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 ho was down,
Each leaning on their elbows and their hips :
Now doth she stroke his cheek, now doth ho 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 7 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 2 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, 3 but never to obey,
Panting he lies, and breatheth in her face ;

1 ^Miss, amiss, fault. So in Sonnet CLI. :

" Love is too young to know what conscience is ;
Yet who knows not conscience is born of love ?
Then, gentle cheater, urge not my amiss,
Lest guilty of my faults thy sweet self prove."

5 Tires, tears, preys. The image is to be found without vari
ation in Henry VI. Part III. Act I. Sc. i. :

" Revenged may she be on that hateful duke ;
Whose haughty spirit, winged with desire,
Will cost my crown, and, like an empty eagle,
Tire on the flesh of me and of my son."

3 Content, acquiescence.



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, 1
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 lowers 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 di-dapper 2 peering through a wave,

1 Rank, full. Rank is often used to express excess or violence
generally ; and rankness is applied to a flood, in King John, Act v.
Sc. iv. :

" And like a bated and retired flood,
Leaving our rankness and irregular course."

2 Di-dapper. This is generally printed dive-dapper, without any


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 overs way ed,
Leading him prisoner in a red-rose chain :

authority. One of the familiar names of the dab-chick is di-dapper ;
and this was the old poetical name. Beaumont and Fletcher, in
"The Woman Hater," have a comparison of the mutability of for
tune with this nimble water-bird: " The misery of man may fitly
be compared to a di-dapper, who, when she is under water past our
sight, and indeed can seem no more to us, rises again, shakes but
herself, and is the same she was."


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 !

" Toueh 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 w r ell as mine :
What seest 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

Shows 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-favored, foul, or wrinkled-old,
Ill-nurtured, crooked, churlish, harsh in voice,
O er-worn, 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 gray, 1 and bright, and quick in turn
ing ;

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 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 ?

i 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,

1 Gray is said to be here used as blue. We have subsequently

" Her two blue windows faintly she upheaved)."
But the eye-lids are the " blue windows."



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 l 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 er whelming his fair sight,

Like rnisty vapors when they blot the sky,

Souring his cheeks, cries, " Fie, no more of loveJ
The sun doth burn my face ; I must remove."

" Ah me," quoth Venus, "young, and so unkind!
What bare excuses mak st thou to begone !
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.

, attired.


" The sun that shines from heaven shines but warm,

And lo, 1 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 them 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. 1

" What am I, that thou shouldst contemn 2 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.

a 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 ;

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

2 Contemn is here used in the sense of throw aside ; as Malone
explains it, " contemptuously refuse this favor."


Red checks 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 1 break.

Sometimes she shakes her head, and then his hand,
Now gazeth she on him, now on the ground ;
Sometimes her arms enfold 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

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 ;

1 Intendments, intentions. So in Othello, Act iv. Sc. n. : " I
have said nothing but what I protest intendment of doing " The
word continued to be used long after the time of Shakspcaie.



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 favor some re
morse " 1
Away he springs, and hasteth to his horse.

But lo, from forth a copse that neighbors 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 crushes tween his teeth,
Controlling what he was controlled with.

1 Remorse, tenderness.


His cars up pricked ; bis braided hanging mane
Upon his compassed 1 crest now stand on end ; 9
His nostrils drink the air, and forth again,
As from a furnace, vapors 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 w r ho should say, Lo! 3 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," 4 or his " Stand, I say " ?

What cares he now for curb, or pricking spur ?

For rich caparisons, or trapping gay ?

He sees his love, and nothing else he sees^
Nor nothing else with his proud sight agrees.

1 Compassed, arched.

2 Mane is here used as a plural noun. In a note on Othello,
Act n. Sc. i., Knight justifies the adoption of a new reading

" The wind-shaked serge, with high and monstrous mane "

upon the belief that in this line we have a picture which was prob
ably 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
Shakspeare, of the majesty of the war-horse erecting his mane under
the influence of passion.

3 This is a faint echo of the wonderful passage in Job, " He
saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha ! "

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


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, color, 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


Thin marie, 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 1 he now prepares,

And whe r he run, or fly, they knew not whether ;

For through his mane and tail the high wind

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.

1 In the game of bate-, or prison base, one runs and challenges
another to pursue. " To bid the wind a base " is therefore to chal
lenge the wind to speed. We have the same expression in the
early play of thy Two Gentlemen of Verona :

" Indeed, Ibid the base for Proteus. 1


Then, like a melancholy malecontent,
He vails 1 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 is 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 chasing 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 7 may be said ;

Iree vent of words love s fire doth assuage ;
But when the heart s attorney 2 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,

1 Vails, lowers.

2 In Richard III. we have,

" Why should calamity be full of words ?
Windy attorneys to their client woes."

The tongue, in the passage before us, is the attorney to the heart.


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 7 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 tenderer cheek receives her soft hand s print,
As apt as new-fallen 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 1 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.

1 His for its.



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 ; 1
For one sweet look thy help I would assure


Though nothing but my body s bane would cure

" 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 : 2
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 1 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

Therefore no marvel though thy horse be gone.

1 Malone explains this " thy heart wounded as mine is."

2 Grave, engrave.


" How like a jade he stood, tied to the tree,

Servilely mastered with a leathern rein !

But when he saw his lov : e, 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 ?

o O

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,

Online LibraryWilliam ShakespeareThe dramatic works of William Shakspeare... embracing a life of the poet, and notes, original and selected (Volume 8) → online text (page 1 of 27)