His testy master goeth about to take him;
When lo! the unback'd breeder, full of fear,         320
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,
  Outstripping crows that strive to overfly them.    324
All swoln with chafing, 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;        328
  For lovers say, the heart hath treble wrong
  When it is barr'd the aidance of the tongue.
An oven that is stopp'd, or river stay'd,
Burneth more hotly, swelleth with more rage:         332
So of concealed sorrow may be said;
Free vent of words love's fire doth assuage;
  But when the heart's attorney once is mute
  The client breaks, as desperate in his suit.       336
He sees her coming, and begins to glow,--
Even as a dying coal revives with wind,--
And with his bonnet hides his angry brow;
Looks on the dull earth with disturbed mind,         340
  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 she came stealing to the wayward boy;            344
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 flash'd forth fire, as lightning from the sky.  348
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:          352
  His tenderer cheek receives her soft hand's print,
  As apt as new-fall'n snow takes any dint.
O! what a war of looks was then between them;
Her eyes petitioners to his eyes suing;              356
His eyes saw her eyes as they had not seen them;
Her eyes woo'd still, his eyes disdain'd the wooing:
  And all this dumb play had his acts made plain
  With tears, which, chorus-like, her eyes did rain.
Full gently now she takes him by the hand,           361
A lily prison'd in a gaol of snow,
Or ivory in an alabaster band;
So white a friend engirts so white a foe:            364
  This beauteous combat, wilful and unwilling,
  Show'd like two silver doves that sit a-billing.
Once more the engine of her thoughts began:
'O fairest mover on this mortal round,               368
Would thou wert as I am, and I a man,
My heart all whole as thine, thy heart my wound;
  For one sweet look thy help I would assure thee,
  Though nothing but my body's bane would cure thee.'
'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 steel'd, soft sighs can never grave it:    376
  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,          380
And 'tis your fault I 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.'           384
Thus she replies: 'Thy palfrey, as he should,
Welcomes the warm approach of sweet desire:
Affection is a coal that must be cool'd;
Else, suffer'd, it will set the heart on fire:       388
  The sea hath bounds, but deep desire hath none;
  Therefore no marvel though thy horse be gone.
'How like a Jade he stood, tied to the tree,
Servilely master'd with a leathern rein!             392
But when he saw his love, 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.     396
'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?                400
  Who is so faint, that dare not bo 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,           404
To take advantage on presented joy
Though I were dumb, yet his proceedings teach thee.
  O learn to love, the lesson is but plain,
  And once made perfect, never lost again.

Venus and Adonis Page 06

William Shakespeare

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William Shakespeare
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