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VENUS AND ADONIS.

Even as the sun, with purple-colour'd face,
Had ta’en his last leave of the weeping 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 chief 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 never serpent hisses,
And being set, I'll smother thee with kisses :

And yet not cloy thy lips with loath'd satiety,
But rather famish them amid their plenty,

1 Rose-CHEEK'd Adonis] Marlowe applies the same compound epithet to Adonis in his “Hero and Leander," Sest. I., a circumstance which the Rev. Mr. Dyce does not seem to have recollected : “Rose-cheek'd Adonis kept a solemn feast,” &c.

Dyce's Marlowe's Works, iii. p. 9. It is hard to say which poet preceded the other, because, although Marlowe was killed in 1593, Shakespeare probably wrote " Venus and Adonis

" before he arrived in London : “Hero and Leander" did not come from the press till 1598. We may take this opportunity of pointing out a misprint of “and” for of, p. 17, where “to rob her name and honour" ought clearly to be “to rob her name of honour."

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, trembling 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 her 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; (oh, 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 saith she is immodest, and blames her 'miss;
What follows more she murders with a kiss?.

2

blames her 'miss; What follows more she MURDERS with a kiss.] The word “amiss" was not unfrequently used as a substantive in the time of Shakespeare. “She murders with

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'd, 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 content', but never to obey,
Panting he lies, and breatheth in her face;
She feedeth on the steam, 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 is he sullen, still he lowers and frets,
'Twixt crimson shame, and anger ashy-pale ;

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

a kiss” is the reading of the editions of 1593, 1594, and 1596 : the editions of 1600 and 1620, as well as that printed at Edinburgh in 1627, have smothers for “murders."

3 Forc'd to content,] i. e. Forc'd to be content, or compell’d to acquiescence. It is hardly to be wondered at that in many modern editions "content" is printed consent : Malone restored “ content."

– a river that is RANK,] “ A river that is rank" is a river that is already full. Drayton, in his “ Barons' Wars," 1603, B. i. has,

“Fetching full tides, luxurious, high, and rank.The line is not in the first edition, 1596, when the poem was printed in 4to. and called “ Mortimerados.”

For to a pretty ear she tunes her tale ;] So all the old copies ; but possibly "ear" was originally a misprint for air.

4

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,
Like 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 her 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 her fire must burno.

Oh, pity, 'gan she cry, Aint-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 sinewy 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 shalt 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 toy’, 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.

Oh! be not proud, nor brag not of thy might,
For mastering her that foild the god of fight.

6 — yet BER fire must burn.] This is the reading of the editions of 1593, 1594, and 1596: that of 1600, and the Edinburgh impression, have “yet in fire must burn."

7 To toy,] So the editions of 1593 and 1594 : those of 1596, 1600, and Edinburgh, 1627, have coy. " To coymight be right, as in “ Midsummer-Night's Dream," Vol. ii. p. 233, we have it used in the sense of to care88:

" While I thy amiable cheeks do coy." The adjective "coy" is employed two stanzas above, and in the next stanza.

Touch but my lips with those fair lips of thine ;
Though mine be not so fair, yet are they red,
The kiss shall be thine own as well as mine.
What seest thou in the ground ? hold up thy head :

Look in mine eye-balls, there thy beauty lies ;
Then, why not lips on lips, since eyes in 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 are 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 not what we mean'.

The tender spring upon thy tempting lip
Shows thee unripe, yet mayst thou well be tasted.
Make use of time, let not advantage slip;
Beauty within itself should 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,
I'll nurtur'd, crooked, churlish, harsh in voice,
O'er-worn, despised, rheumatic, and cold,
Thick-sighted, barren, lean, and lacking juice,

Then mightst thou pause, for then I were not for thee;
But having no defects, why dost abhor me

e ?

Thou canst 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 is 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 dishevelled hair,
Dance on the sands, and yet no footing seen:

- nor know not what we mean.] The word "what" is omitted in Malone's Shakespeare by Boswell, Vol. xx. p. 17. It is merely an error of the press, and "wbat” is found in all the early editions.

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