'I know not love,' quoth he, 'nor will not know it, Unless it be a boar, and then I chase it; 'Tis much to borrow, and I will not owe it; My love to love is love but to disgrace it; 412 For I have heard it is a life in death, That laughs and weeps, and all but with a breath.
'Who wears a garment shapeless and unfinish'd? Who plucks the bud before one leaf put forth? 416 If springing things be any jot diminish'd, They wither in their prime, prove nothing worth; The colt that's back'd and burden'd being young Loseth his pride, and never waxeth strong. 420
'You hurt my hand with wringing Iet us part, And leave this idle theme, this bootless chat: Remove your siege from my unyielding heart; To love's alarms it will not ope the gate: 424 Dismiss your vows, your feigned tears, your flattery; For where a heart is hard they make no battery.'
'What! canst thou talk?' quoth she, 'hast thou a tongue? O! would thou hadst not, or I had no hearing; 428 Thy mermaid's voice hath done me double wrong; I had my load before, now press'd with bearing: Melodious discord, heavenly tune, harsh-sounding, Ear's deep-sweet music, and heart's deep-sore wounding.
'Had I no eyes but ears, my ears would love 433 That inward beauty and invisible; Or were I deaf, thy outward parts would move Each part in me that were but sensible: 436 Though neither eyes nor ears, to hear nor see, Yet should I be in love by touching thee.
'Say, that the sense of feeling were bereft me, And that I could not see, nor hear, nor touch, 440 And nothing but the very smell were left me, Yet would my love to thee be still as much; For from the stillitory of thy face excelling Comes breath perfum'd that breedeth love by smelling.
'But O! what banquet wert thou to the taste, 445 Being nurse and feeder of the other four; Would they not wish the feast might ever last, And bid Suspicion double-lock the door, Lest Jealousy, that sour unwelcome guest, Should, by his stealing in, disturb the feast?' 448
Once more the ruby-colour'd portal open'd, Which to his speech did honey passage yield, 452 Like a red morn, that ever yet betoken'd Wrack to the seaman, tempest to the field, Sorrow to shepherds, woe unto the birds, Gusts and foul flaws to herdmen and to herds. 456
This ill presage advisedly she marketh: Even as the wind is hush'd before it raineth, Or as the wolf doth grin before he barketh, Or as the berry breaks before it staineth, 460 Or like the deadly bullet of a gun, His meaning struck her ere his words begun.
And at his look she flatly falleth down For looks kill love, and love by looks reviveth; 464 A smile recures the wounding of a frown; But blessed bankrupt, that by love so thriveth! The silly boy, believing she is dead Claps her pale cheek, till clapping makes it red; 468
And all amaz'd brake off his late intent, For sharply he did think to reprehend her, Which cunning love did wittily prevent: Fair fall the wit that can so well defend her! 472 For on the grass she lies as she were slain Till his breath breatheth life in her again.
He wrings her nose, he strikes her on the cheeks, He bends her fingers, holds her pulses hard, 476 He chafes her lips; a thousand ways he seeks To mend the hurt that his unkindness marr'd: He kisses her; and she, by her good will, Will never rise, so he will kiss her still. 480
The night of sorrow now is turn'd to day: Her two blue windows faintly she up-heaveth, Like the fair sun, when in his fresh array He cheers the morn, and all the world relieveth: 484 And as the bright sun glorifies the sky, So is her face illumin'd with her eye;
Whose beams upon his hairless face are fix'd, As if from thence they borrow'd all their shine. 488 Were never four such lamps together mix'd, Had not his clouded with his brow's repine; But hers, which through the crystal tears gave light Shone like the moon in water seen by night.