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VENUS AND ADONIS.
Even as the sun, with purple-colour'd face,
Sick-thoughted Venus makes amain unto him,
Thrice fairer than myself, (thus she began)
Nature that made thee, with herself at strife,
Vouchsafe, thou wonder, to alight thy steed,
Here come and sit, where never serpent hisses,
And yet not cloy thy lips with loath'd satiety,
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;
A summer's day will seem an hour but short,
With this she seizeth on his sweating palm,
Being so enrag'd, desire doth lend her force
Over one arm the lusty courser's rein,
She red and hot as coals of glowing fire,
The studded bridle on a ragged bough
and even now To tie the rider she begins to prove:
Backward she push'd him, as she would be thrust,
So soon was she along, as he was down,
And kissing speaks, with lustful language broken,
He burns with bashful shame, she with her tears
He saith she is immodest, and blames her 'miss;
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,
Even so she kiss'd his brow, his cheek, his chin,
Forc'd to content', but never to obey,
Wishing her cheeks were gardens full of flowers,
Look how a bird lies tangled in a net,
Rain added to a river that is rank“,
Still she entreats, and prettily entreats,
Being red, she loves him best; and being white,
Look how he can, she cannot choose but love;
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.
Which long have rain'd, making her cheeks all wet ;
And one sweet kiss shall pay this countless debt.
But when her lips were ready for his pay,
Never did passenger in summer's heat,
Her help she sees, but help she cannot get;
Oh, pity, 'gan she cry, Aint-hearted boy !
I have been woo’d, as I entreat thee now,
Yet hath he been my captive and my slave,
Over my altars hath he hung his lance,
Scorning his churlish drum, and ensign red,
Thus he that over-rul'd, I oversway'd,
Oh! be not proud, nor brag not of thy might,
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 coy” might 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 ;
Look in mine eye-balls, there thy beauty lies ;
Art thou asham'd to kiss? then, wink again,
These blue-vein'd violets whereon we lean,
The tender spring upon thy tempting lip
Fair flowers that are not gather'd in their prime,
Were I hard-favour'd, foul, or wrinkled old,
Then mightst thou pause, for then I were not for thee;
Thou canst not see one wrinkle in my brow;
My smooth moist hand, were it with thy hand felt,
Bid me discourse, I will enchant thine ear,
- 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.