'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.
William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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