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VENUS AND ADONIS.

Even as the sun, with purple-coloured face, Had ta'en bis last leave of the wecping morn, Rose-cheek'd Adonis hied him to the chase : Hunting he lov'd, but love he laugh'd to scorn.

Sick-thoughted Venus makes amain unto him,

And like a bold-fac'd suitor 'gins to woo him. Thrice-fairer than myself! (thus she began) The field's sweet 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. Vouchsafe thou wonder ! to alight thy steed, And rein his proud head to the saddle-bow ; If thou wilt deign this favour, for thy meed, A thousand honey secrets shalt thou know.

Here come and sit, where serpent never hisses,

And being set, I'll smother thee with kisses. And yet not cloy thy lips with loaded satiety, But rather famish them amid their plenty ; Making them red and pale with fresh variety ; Ten 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 irembling in her passion calls it balm ;
Earth's sovereign salve to do a goddess good.

Being so enrag'd, desire doth lend her force

Courageously to pluck him from his horse.
Over one arm the lusty courser's rein,
Under the other was the tender boy,
Who blush'd 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 ; (0, how quick is love :)
The steed is stalled up, and even now
To tie the rider she begins to prove.

Backward she push'd him, as she would be thrust,

And govern'd him in strength, though not in lust. So soon was she along, as he was down, Each leaning on their elbows and their hips : Now doth she stroke his cheek, now doth he 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 them dry again she seeks.

He says she is immodest, blames her miss ;
What follows more she smothers with a kiss.
Even as an empty eagle, sharp by fast,
Tires with her beak on feathers, flesh and bone,
Shaking her wings, devouring all in haste,
Till either gorge be stuff't or prey be gone :

Even so she kiss'd his brow, his cheek, his chin,

And where she ends, she doth anew begin.
Forc'd to consent, but never to obey,
Panting he lies, and breathing in her face ;
She feedeth on the stream as on a prey,
And calls it heavenly moisture ; air of grace !

Wishing her cheeks were gardens full of flowers,

So they were dew'd with such distilling showers.
Look how a bird lies tangled in a net,
So fasten'd in her arms Adonis lies :
Pure shame and aw'd resistance made him fret ;
Which bred more beauty in his angry eyes.

Rain added to a river that is rank,

Perforce will force it overflow the bank.
Still she entreats, and prettily entreats,
For to a pretty ear she tunes her tale ;
Still he is sullen, still he lowers and frets,
'Twixt crimson shame and angry ashy pale,

Being red, she loves him best ; and being white,

Her breast is better'd 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 rain'd, making her cheeks all wet,

And one sweet kiss shall pay this countless debt.
Upon this promise did he raise his chin,
Live a dive-dapper peering through a wave,
Who, being look'd on, ducks as quickly in ;
So offers he to give what she did crave,

But when his 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 in fire must burn.

O pity, 'gan she cry, flint-hearted boy!

'Tis but a kiss I beg, why art thou coy ?
I have been woo'd, as I entreat thee now,
Even by the stern and direful god of war,
Whose sidewy 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 begg’d for that which thou unask'd shall have. Over my altars hath he hung his lance, His batter'd shield, his uncontrolled crest,

And for my sake hath learn'd to sport and dance,
To coy, 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 over-rul'd, I oversway'd,
Leading him prisoner in a red rose chain :
Strong temper'd steel, his stronger strength obey'd,
Yet was he servile to my coy disdain.

O, be not proud, nor brag not of thy might,

For mast'ring her that foil'd the god of fight !
Touch but my lips with those fair lips of thine,
(Tho' mine be not so fair, yet they are red)
The kiss shall be thine own as well as mine ;
What seest thou on the ground ? hold up thy head :

Look in mine eye-balls where thy beauty lies;

Then why not lips on lips since eyes on eyes? Art thou asham'd to kiss? Then wink again, And I will wink, so shall the day seem night ; Love keeps his revels where there be but twain ; Be bold to play, our sport is not in sight.

These blue-vein’d violets whereon we lean,

Never can blab, nor know they what we mean.
The tender spring upon thy tempting lip
Shows thee unripe, yet may'st thou well be tasted ;
Make use of time, let not advantage slip,
Beauty within itself would not be wasted,
Fair flowers that are not gather'd in their prime,

Rot and consume themselves in little time.
Were I hard favour'd, foul, or wrinkled, old,
Ill-natur'd, crooked, churlish, harsh of voice,
O'er-worn, despised, rheumatic and cold,
Thick-sighted, barren, lean, and lacking juice,

Then might'st thou pause, for then I were not for thee;

But, having no defects, why dost abhor me? Thou can'st not see one wrinkle in my brow, Mine eyes are grey, and bright, and quick in turning ; My beauty, as the spring doth yearly grow ; My flesh as 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 dishevell’d 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,
'The forceless flowers like sturdy trees support me :
Two strengthless doves will draw me through the sky
From morn till night, even where I list to sport me.

Is love so light, sweet boy, and may it be

That thou should'st think it heavy unto thee?
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 of 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 beauties for the use,
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 wert begot, to get it is thy duty.
Upon the earth's increase why should'st 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 in the mid-day 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, darki, disliking eye,

[1] Alluding to twinned cherries, apples, peaches, &c. which accidentally grow into each other. STEEVENS.

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