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.

Venus and Adonis Page 13

William Shakespeare

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William Shakespeare
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