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Look, when a painter would surpass the life.
In limning out a well-proportioned steed,
His art with nature's workmanship at strife,
As if the dead the living should exceed;
So did this horse excel a common one,

In shape, in courage, color, pace, and bone.

Round-hoofed, short-jointed, fetlocks shag and long, Broad breast, full eye, small head, and nostril wide, High crest, short ears, straight legs, and passing


Thin mane, thick tail, broad buttock, tender hide :
Look what a horse should have, he did not lack,
Save a proud rider on so proud a back.

Sometime he scuds far off, and there he stares;
Anon he starts at stirring of a feather ;
To bid the wind a base' he now prepares,

And whe'r he run, or fly, they knew not whether ;
For through his mane and tail the high wind


Fanning the hairs, who wave like feathered wings.

He looks upon his love and neighs unto her;
She answers him as if she knew his mind:
Being proud, as females are, to see him woo her,
She puts on outward strangeness, seems unkind;
Spurns at his love, and scorns the heat he feels,
Beating his kind embracements with her heels.

1 In the game of base, or prison base, one runs and challenges another to pursue. "To bid the wind a base " is therefore to challenge the wind to speed. We have the same expression in the early play of the Two Gentlemen of Verona:

"Indeed, I bid the base for Proteus."

Then, like a melancholy malecontent,

He vails' his tail, that, like a falling plume,
Cool shadow to his melting buttock lent;
He stamps, and bites the poor flies in his fume:
His love, perceiving how he is enraged,
Grew kinder, and his fury was assuaged.

His testy master goeth about to take him;
When lo, the unbacked breeder, full of fear,
Jealous of catching, swiftly doth forsake him,
With her the horse, and left Adonis there;

As they were mad unto the wood they hie them
Out-stripping crows that strive to over-fly them.

All swoln with chasing down Adonis sits,
Banning his boisterous and unruly beast ;
And now the happy season once more fits,
That love-sick Love by pleading may be blest;
For lovers say the heart hath treble wrong,
When it is barred the aidance of the tongue.


An oven that is stopped, or river stayed,
Burneth more hotly, swelleth with more
So of concealed sorrow may be said;
Free vent of words love's fire doth assuage;
But when the heart's attorney once is mute,
The client breaks, as desperate in his suit.

He sees her coming, and begins to glow,
Even as a dying coal revives with wind,

1 Vails, lowers.

2 In Richard III. we have,

"Why should calamity be full of words >
Windy attorneys to their client woes."

The tongue, in the passage before us, is the attorney to the heart.

And with his bonnet hides his angry brow;
Looks on the dull earth with disturbed mind;
Taking no notice that she is so nigh,
For all askance he holds her in his eye.

O, what a sight it was, wistly to view
How she came stealing to the wayward boy!
To note the fighting conflict of her hue!
How white and red each other did destroy!
But now her cheek was pale, and by and by
It flashed forth fire, as lightning from the sky.

Now was she just before him as he sat,
And like a lowly lover down she kneels,
With one fair hand she heaveth up his hat,
Her other tender hand his fair cheek feels:

His tenderer cheek receives her soft hand's print,
As apt as new-fallen snow takes any dint.

O, what a war of looks was then between them:
Her eyes, petitioners, to his eyes suing;
His eyes saw her eyes as they had not seen them;
Her eyes wooed still, his eyes disdained the wooing:
And all this dumb play had his' acts made plain
With tears, which, chorus-like, her eyes did rain.

Full gently now she takes him by the hand,
A lily prisoned in a gaol of snow,

Or ivory in an alabaster band;

So white a friend engirts so white a foe:

This beauteous combat, wilful and unwilling,
Showed like two silver doves that sit a billing.

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Once more the engine of her thoughts began: "O fairest mover on this mortal round, Would thou wert as I am, and I a man,


My heart all whole as thine, thy heart my wound; For one sweet look thy help I would assure thee,

Though nothing but my body's bane would cure thee."


"Give me my hand," saith he; why dost thou

feel it?"

"Give me my heart," saith she, "and thou shalt have it;

O, give it me, lest thy hard heart do steel it,
And being steeled, soft sighs can never grave it:2
Then love's deep groans I never shall regard,
Because Adonis' heart hath made mine hard."

"For shame," he cries; "let go, and let me go,
My day's delight is past, my horse is gone,
And 'tis your fault I am bereft him so;
I pray you hence, and leave me here alone:

For all my mind, my thought, my busy care,
Is how to get my palfrey from the mare."

Thus she replies: " Thy palfrey, as he should,
Welcomes the warm approach of sweet desire
Affection is a coal that must be cooled;

Else, suffered, it will set the heart on fire:

The sea hath bounds, but deep desire hath


Therefore no marvel though thy horse be gone.

1 Malone explains this "thy heart wounded as mine is." 2 Grave, engrave.

'How like a jade he stood, tied to the tree,
Servilely mastered with a leathern rein !
But when he saw his love, his youth's fair fee,
He held such petty bondage in disdain ;

Throwing the base thong from his bending crest,
Enfranchising his mouth, his back, his breast.

"Who sees his true love in her naked bed,
Teaching the sheets a whiter hue than white,
But, when his glutton eye so full hath fed,
His other agents aim at like delight?

Who is so faint that dare not be so bold
To touch the fire, the weather being cold?

"Let me excuse thy courser, gentle boy; And learn of him, I heartily beseech thee, To take advantage on presented joy;

Though I were dumb, yet his proceedings teach thee. O, learn to love; the lesson is but plain,

And, once made perfect, never lost again."

"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 ;

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 unfinished?
Who plucks the bud before one leaf put forth?
If springing things be any jot diminished,
They wither in their prime, prove nothing worth:
The colt that's backed and burthened being young
Loseth his pride, and never waxeth strong.

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