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Look, how the world's poor people are amazed,
At apparitions, signs, and prodigies,

Whereon with fearful eyes they long have gazed
Infusing them with dreadful prophecies:

So she at these sad signs draws up her breath.
And, sighing it again, exclaims on Death.

"Hard-favored tyrant, ugly, meagre, lean, Hateful divorce of love," (thus chides she Death,) "Grim-grinning ghost, earth's worm, what, dost thou


To stifle beauty, and to steal his breath,

Who when he lived, his breath and beauty set
Gloss on the rose, smell to the violet?

"If he be dead, - O, no, it cannot be,
Seeing his beauty, thou shouldst strike at it-
O, yes, it may; thou hast no eyes to see,
But hatefully at random dost thou hit.

Thy mark is feeble age; but thy false dart
Mistakes that aim, and cleaves an infant's heart.

"Hadst thou but bid beware, then he had spoke,
And hearing him thy power had lost his 1 power.
The Destinies will curse thee for this stroke;
They bid thee crop a weed, thou pluck'st a flower:
Love's golden arrow at him should have fled,
And not Death's ebon dart, to strike him dead."

1 His for its.

2 Boswell has quoted a passage from Massinger's " Virgin Mar tyr," alluding, as Shakspeare here does, to the beautiful fable of Cupid and death exchanging arrows: —

"Strange affection!

Cupid once more hath changed his shafts with Death
And kills, instead of giving life."

'Dost thou drink tears, that thou provok'st such


What may a heavy groan advantage thee?
Why hast thou cast into eternal sleeping
Those eyes that taught all other eyes to see?
Now Nature cares not for thy mortal vigor,
Since her best work is ruined with thy rigor."

Here overcome, as one full of despair,

She vailed her eyelids, who, like sluices, stopped
The crystal tide that from her two cheeks fair
In the sweet channel of her bosom dropped;

But through the floodgates breaks the silver rain,
And with his strong course opens them again.

O, how her eyes and tears did lend and borrow!
Her eyes seen in the tears, tears in her eye;

Both crystals, where they viewed each other's sorrow,
Sorrow, that friendly sighs sought still to dry;

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But like a stormy day, now wind, now rain,
Sighs dry her cheeks, tears make them wet again.

Variable passions throng her constant woe,
As striving who should best become her grief;
All entertained, each passion labors so
That every present sorrow seemeth chief,

But none is best; then join they all together,
Like many clouds consulting for foul weather.

By this, far off she hears some huntsmen hollo:
A nurse's song ne'er pleased her babe so well:

Vailed, lowered.


2 Hollo, or hollow, is not quite the same word as holla, which we have already noticed, although the usual spelling of this word in the passage before us is holla.

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The dire imagination she did follow
This sound of hope doth labor to expel;
For now reviving joy bids her rejoice,
And flatters her it is Adonis' voice.

Whereat her tears began to turn the tide,
Being prisoned in her eye, like pearls in glass
Yet sometimes falls an orient drop beside,
Which her cheek melts, as scorning it should pass,
To wash the foul face of the sluttish ground,
Who is but drunken when she seemeth drowned.

O, hard-believing love, how strange it seems
Not to believe, and yet too credulous!
Thy weal and woe are both of them extremes,
Despair and hope make thee ridiculous:

The one doth flatter thee in thoughts unlikely
In likely thoughts the other kills thee quickly.

Now she unweaves the web that she hath wrought;
Adonis lives, and Death is not to blame;

It was not she that called him all-to1naught;
Now she adds honors to his hateful name;

She clepes him king of graves, and grave for kings,

Imperious supreme of all mortal things.

"No, no," quoth she, “sweet Death, I did but jest: Yet pardon me, I felt a kind of fear,

Whenas I met the boar, that bloody beast,
Which knows no pity, but is still severe ;
Then, gentle shadow, (truth I must confess,)
1 railed on thee, fearing my love's decease.

All-to. Mr. Dyce explains this as entirely, altogether

"Tis not my fault: the boar provoked my tongue; Be wreaked on him, invisible commander ;

'Tis he, foul creature, that hath done thee wrong; I did but act, he's author of thy slander;

Grief hath two tongues, and never woman yet Could rule them both, without ten women's wit.”

Thus, hoping that Adonis is alive,

Her rash suspect she doth extenuate;
And that his beauty may the better thrive,
With Death she humbly doth insinuate ;

Tells him of trophies, statues, tombs; and stories
His victories, his triumphs, and his glories.

"O Jove," quoth she, "how much a fool was I,
To be of such a weak and silly mind,
To wail his death who lives, and must not die,
Till mutual overthrow of mortal kind!

For he being dead, with him is beauty slain,
And, beauty dead, black chaos comes again.'

“Fie, fie, fond love, thou art so full of fear
As one with treasure laden, hemmed with thieves;
Trifles, unwitnessed with eye or ear,

Thy coward heart with false bethinking grieves."
Even at this word she hears a merry horn,
Whereat she leaps that was but late forlorn.

As falcon to the lure away she flies;

The grass stoops not, she treads on it so light;

1 Shakspeare, in his greater works, was not ashamed to recur

to the treasury of his early thoughts:

"Excellent wretch! Perdition catch my soul,

But I do love thee! and when I love thee not
Chaos is come again."

And in her haste unfortunately spies

The foul boar's conquest on her fair delight;

Which seen, her eyes, as murdered with the


Like stars ashamed of day, themselves withdrew.

Or, as the snail, whose tender horns being hit,
Shrinks backward in his shelly cave with pain,
And there, all smothered up, in shade doth sit,
Long after fearing to creep forth again ;

So, at his bloody view, her eyes are fled
Into the deep, dark cabins of her head;

Where they resign their office and their light
To the disposing of her troubled brain ;
Who bids them still consort with ugly night,
And never wound the heart with looks again;
Who, like a king perplexéd in his throne,
By their suggestion gives a deadly groan,

Whereat each tributary subject quakes:
As when the wind, imprisoned in the ground,.
Struggling for passage, earth's foundation shakes.
Which with cold terror doth men's minds confound,
The mutiny each part doth so surprise,

That from their dark beds once more leap her


And, being opened, threw unwilling light
Upon the wide wound that the boar had trenched
In his soft flank; whose wonted lily white

With purple tears, that his wound wept, was drenched :

No flower was nigh, no grass, herb, leaf, or weed, But stole his blood, and seemed with him to bleed

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