The Epistle,

Vilia miretur vulgus, mihi flavus Apollo
Pocula Castalia plena ministret aqua.-Ooid.


Earl of Southampton and Baron of Tichfield.


I know not how I shall offend in dedicating my unpolished lines to your lordship, not kow the world will censure me for choosing so strong a prop to support so weak a burden: only, if your honour seem but pleased, I account myself highly praised, and vow to take advantage of all idle hours, uill I have honoured you with some graver labour.' But if the first heir of my invention prove deformed, I shall be sorry it had so noble a godfather, and never after ear so barren a land, for fear it yield me stili so bad a harvest. I leave it to your honourable survey, and your honour to your heart's content ; which I wish may always answer your own wish, and the world's hopeful expectation.

Your Honour's in all duty,


Even as the sun with purple-colour'd face He burns with bashful shame; she with her tean
Had ta'en his last leave of the weeping morn, Doth quench the maiden burning of his cheeks ;
Rose-cheek'd Adonis hied him to the chase ; Then with her windy sighs, and golden hairs,
Hunting he lov'd, but love he laugh'd to scorn : To fan and blow them dry again she seeks :
Sick-thoughted Venus makes amain unto him, He saith, she is immodest, blames her 'miss ;
And like a bold-fac'd suitor 'gins to woo him. What follows more, she murders with a kiss.
Thrice fairer than myself, (thus she began,) Even as an empty eagle, sharp by fast,
The field's chief flower, sweet above compare, Tires with her heak on feathers, desh, and bono,
Stain to all nymphs, more lovely than a man, Shaking her wings, devouring all in haste,
More white and red than doves or roses are ; Till either gorge be stuff'd, or prey be gone
Nature that made thee, with herself at strife, Even so she kiss'd his brow, his cheek, his chin,
Saith, that the world hath ending with thy life. And where she ends, she doth anew begin.
Vouchsafo, thou wonder, to alight thy steed, Forc'd to content, but never to obey,
And rein his proud head to the saddle-bow; Panting he lies, and breatheth in her faco;
If thou wilt deign this favour, for thy meed' She feedeth on the steam, as on a prey,
A thousand honey secrets shalt thou know: And calls it heavenly moisture, air of grace :
Here come and sit, where never serpent hisses, Wishing her cheeks were gardens full of flowers,
And being set, I'll smother thee with kisses : So they were dew'd with such distilling showers.
And yet not cloy thy lips with loath'd satiety, Look how a bird lies tangled in a net,
But rather famish them amid their plenty,

So fasten'd in her arms Adonis lies:
Making them red and pale with fresh variety; Pure shame and aw'd resistance made him frot,
Ten kisses short as one, one long as twenty :

Which bred more beauty in his angry eyes :
A summer's day will seem an hour but short, Rain added to a river that is ranh,
Being wasted in such time-beguiling sport. Perforce will force it overflow the bank.
With this she seizeth on his sweating palm, Still she entreats, and prettily entreats,
The precedent of pith and livelihood,

For to a pretty ear she tunes her tale ;
And, trembling in her passion, calls its balm, Still is he sullen, still he low'rs and frets,
Earth's sovereign salve to do a goddess good: 'Twixt crimson shame, and anger ashy-palo;
Being so enrag'd, desire doth lend her force, Being red, she loves him best; and being white,
Courageously to pluck him from his horse. Her best is better'd with a more delight.
Over one arm the lusty courser's rein,

Look how he can, she cannot choose but love ; Under her other was the tender boy,

And by her fair immortal hand she swears, Who blush'd and pouted in a dull disdain, From his soft bosom never to remove, With leaden appetite, unapt to toy;

Till he take truce with her contending tears, She red and hot, as coals of glowing fire,

Which long have rain'd, making her cheeks all wet; He red for shame, but frosty in desire.

And one sweet kiss shall pay this countless debt. The studded bridle on a ragged bough

Upon this promise did he raise his chin, Nimbly she fastens; (0, how quick is love!) Like a dive dapper peering through a wavo, The steed is stalled up, and even now

Who being look'd on, ducks as quickly in; To tie the rider she begins to prove :

So offers he to give what she did crave; Backward she push'd him, as she would be thrust, But when her lips were ready for his pay, And govern'd him in strength, though not in lust. He winks, and turns his lips another way. So soon was she along, as he was down,

Never did passenger in summer's heat, Each leaning on their elbows and their hips : More thirst for drink than she for this good turn. Now doth she stroke his chock, now doth he frown, Her help she sees, but help she cannot get; And 'gins to chide, but soon she stops his lips : She bathes in water, yet her fire must burn : And kissing speaks, with lustful language brokon, 0, pity, 'gan she cry, Aint-hearted boy; V thou will chide, thy lips shall never open.

'Tis but a kiss I beg; why art thou coy?

I have been woo'd as I entreat thee now, Upon the earth's increase why should'st thou feed,
Even by the stern and direful god of war; Unless the earth with thy increase be fed ?
Whose sinewy neck in battle ne'er did bow, By law of nature thou art bound to breed,
Who conquers where he comes, in every jar; That thine may live, when thou thyself art dead;
Yet hath be been my captive and my slave, And so, in spite of death, thou dost survive,
And begg'd for that which thou unask'd shalt have. In that thy likeness still is left alive.
Over my altars hath he hung his lance,

By this, the love-sick queen began to sweat,
His batier'd shield, his uncontrolled crest, For, where they lay, the shadow had forsook them,
And for my sake hath learn'd to sport and dance, And Titan, tired in the mid-day heat,
To toy, to wanton, dally, smile, and jest ;

With burning eye did hotly overlook them; Scorning his churlish drum, and ensign red, Wishing Adonis had his team to guide, Making my arms his field, his tent my bed. So he were like him, and by Venus' side. Thus he that over-ruld, I oversway'd,

And now Adonis, with a lazy spright, Leading him prisoner in a red-rose chain : And with a heavy, dark, disliking eye, Strong-temper'd steel his stronger strength obey'd, His low'ring brows o'er-whelming his fair sight, Yet was he servile to my coy disdain,

Like misty vapours, when they blot the sky, O, be not proud, nor brag not of thy might, Souring his cheeks, cries, Fie, no more of love; For mastering her that foil'd the god of fight. The sun doth burn my face; I must remove. Touch but my lips with those fair lips of thine, Ah me, (quoth Venus,) young, and so unkind ? (Though mine be not so fair, yet are they red,) What bare excuses mak'st thou to be gone? The kiss shall be thine own as well as mine ;- I'll sigh celestial breath, whose gentle wind What see'st thou in the ground? hold up thy head; Shall cool the heat of this descending sun; Look in mine eye-balls, ihere thy beauty lies : I'll make a shadow for thee of my hairs; Then why not lips on lips, since eyes in eyes ? If they burn too, I'll quench them with my tears. Art thou asham'd to kiss? then wink again, The sun that shines from heaven, shines but warm, And I will wink; so shall the day seem night; And lo, I lie between that sun and thee; Love keeps his revels where there are but twain ; The heat I have from thence doth little harm, Be bold to play, our sport is not in sight; Thine eye darts forth the fire that burneth me: These blue-vein'd violets whereon we lean, And were I not immortal, life were done, Never can blab, nor know not what we mean. Between this heavenly and earthly sun. The tender spring upon thy tempting lip

Art thou obdurate, flinty, hard as steel, Shows thee unripe ; yet may'st thou well be tasted; Nay more than flint, for stone at rain relenteth ? Make use of time, let not advantage slip; Art thou a woman's son, and canst not feel Beauty within itself should not be wasted: What 'tis to love? how want of love tormenteth Fair flowers that are not gather'd in their prime, O, had thy mother borne so hard a mind, Rot and consume themselves in little time. She had not brought forth thee, but died unkind. Were I hard-favour'd, foul, or wrinkled-old, What am I, that thou should'st contemn me this? Ill-nurtur’d, crooked, churlish, harsh in voice, Or what great danger dwells upon my sut? O'er-worn, despised, rheumatic, and cold, What were thy lips the worse for one poor kiss ? Thick-sighted, barren, lean, and lacking juice, Speak, fair ; but speak fair words, or else be mute : Then might'st thou pause, for then I were not for Give me one kiss, I'll give it thee again,

And one for interest, if thou wilt have twain. But having no defects, why dost abhor me?

Fie, lifeless picture, cold and senseless stone, Thou can'st not see one wrinkle in

Well-painted idol, image, dull and dead, Mine eyes are grey,'and bright, and quick in turning; Statue, contenting but the eye alone, My beauty as the spring doth yearly grow, Thing like a man, but of no woman bred; My flesh is soft and plump, my marrow burning;, Thou art no man, though of a man's complexion, My smooth moist hand, were it with thy hand felt, For men will kiss even by their own direction. Would in thy palm dissolve, or seem to melt. This said, impatience chokes her pleading tongue, Bid me discourse, I will enchant thine ear, And swelling passion doth provoke a pause ; Or, like a fairy, trip upon the green,

Red cheeks and fiery eyes blaze forth her wrong ; Or, like a nymph, with long dishevell'd hair, Being judge in love, she cannot right her cause : Dance on the sands, and yet no footing seen: And now she weeps, and now she fain would speak, Love is a spirit all compact of fire,

And now her sobs do her intendments break. Not gross to sink, but light, and will aspire. Sometimes she shakes her head, and then his hand, Witness this primrose bank whereon I lie; Now gazeth she on him, now on the ground; These forceless flowers like sturdy trees support me; Sometimes her arms infold him like a band Two strengthless doves will draw me thro' the sky, She would, he will not in her arms be bound: From morn till night, even where I list to sport me; And when from thence he struggles to be gone, Is love so light, sweet boy, and may it be

She locks her lily fingers, one in one. That thou should'st think it heavy unto thee ?

Fondling, she saith, since I have hemm'd thee here, Is thine own heart to thine own face affected ? Within the circuit of this ivory pale, Can thy right hand seize love upon thy left ? I'll be a park, and thou shalt be my deer ; Then woo ihyself, be of thyself rejected,

Feed where thou wilt, on mountain or in dale : Steal thine own freedom, and complain on theft, Graze on my lips; and, if those hills be dry, Narcissus, so, himself himself forsook,

Stray lower, where the pleasant fountains lie. And died to kiss his shadow in the brook.

Within this limit is relief enough, Torches are made to light, jewels to wear, Sweet bottom-grass, and high delightful plain, Dainties to taste, fresh beauty for the use; Round rising hillocks, brakes, obscure and rough, Herbs for their smell, and sappy plants to bear; To shelter thee from tempest and from rain ; Things growing to themselves are growth's abuse : Then be my deer, since I am such a park ; Seeds spring from seeds, and beauty breedeth No dog shall rouse thee, though a thousand bark. beauty;

At this Adonis smiles, as in disdain, Thou wast begot, -to get, it is thy duty.

That in each cheek appears a pretty dimple :

Love made those hollows, if himself were slain, 1 ‘Mine eyes are grey.' What we now call blue He might be buried in a tomb so simple ; eyes, were, in Shakspeare's time, called grey eyes, and Fore-knowing well, if there he came to 'lie, were considered as eminently beautiful.-Malone. Why there Love liv'd, and there he could not die.




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These lovely caves, these round enchanting pits, All swoln with chasing, down Adonis sits,
Opend their mouths to swallow Venus' liking: Banning his boist'rous and unruly beast;
Being mad before, how doth she now for wils? And now the happy season once more fits,
Struck dead at first, what needs a second striking ? That love-sick Love, by pleading may be blest;
Poor queen of love, in thine own law forlorn, For lovers say, the

eart hath treble wrong,
To love a cheek that smiles at thee in scorn! When it is barr'd the aidance of the tongue.
Now which way shall she turn? what shall she say? An oven that is stopp’d, or river stay'd,
Her words are done, her woes the more increasing ; Burneth more hotly, swelleth with more rage.
The time is spent, her object will away,

So of concealed sorrow may be said ;
And from heriwining arms doth urge releasing: Free vent of words love's fire doth assuage,
Pity,-(she cries) some favour,--some remorse;– But when the heart's attorney once is mute,
Away he springs, and hasteth to his horse. The client breaks, as desperate in his suit.
But lo, from forth a copse that neighbours by, He sees her coming, and begins to glow,
A breeding jennet, lusty, young, and proud, (Even as a dying coal revives with wind)
Adonis' trampling courser doth espy,

And with his bonnet hides his angry brow;
And forth she rushes, snorts, and neighs aloud : Looks on the dull earth with disturbed mind;
The strong-neck'd steed, being tied unto a tree, Taking no notice that she is so nigh,
Breaketh his rein, und to her straight goes he. For all askaunce he holds her in his eye.
Imperiously he leaps, he neighs, he bounds, 0, what a sight it was, wistly to view
And now his woven girths he breaks asunder; How she came stealing to the wayward boy!
The bearing earth with his hard hoof he wounds, To note the fighting conflict of her hue !
Whose hollow womb resounds like heaven's thun- How white and red each other did destroy!
The iron bit he crusheth ’iween his teeth, (der; But now, her cheek was pale, and by and by
Controlling what he was controlled with.

It flash'd forth fire, as lightning from the sky.
His ears up-prick’d; his braided hanging mane Now was she just before him as he sat,
Upon his compass'd crest now stand on end; And like a lowly lover down she kneels:
His nostrils drink the air, and forth again,

With one fair hand she heaveth up his hal,
As from a furnace, vapours doch he send:

Her other tender hand his fair cheek feels :
His eye, which scornfully glisters like fire, His tend'rer cheek receives her soft hand's print,
Shows his hot courage, and his high desire. As apt as new-fall’n suow takes any dint.
Sometime he trois, as if he told the steps,

o, what a war of looks was then between them! With gentle majesty, and modest pride;

Her eyes, petitioners, to his eyes suing ;
Anon he rears upright, curvels and leaps,

His eyes saw her eyes as they had not seen them,
As who should say, Lo! thus my strength is try'd; Her eyes woo'd still, his eyes disdain'd the wooing:
And this I do, to captivate the eye

And all this dumb play had his acts made plain Of the fair breeder ihat is standing by.

With tears, which, chorus-like, her eyes did rain.
What'recketh he his rider's angry stir,

Full gently now she takes him by the hand,
His flattering holla, or his Stand, I say ?

A lily prison’d in a gaol of snow,
What cares he now for curb, or pricking spur ? Or ivory in an alabaster band;
For rich caparisons, or trapping gay?

So while a friend engirts so white a foe :
He sees his love, and nothing else he sees, This beauteous combat, wilful and unwilling,
For nothing else with his proud sight agrees.

Show'd like two silver doves that sit a billing.
Look, when a painter would surpass the life,

Once more the engine of her thoughts began;
In limning out a well-proportion'd steed,

O, fairest mover on this mortal round,
His art with nature's workmanship at strife

Would thou wert as I am, and I a man,
As if the dead the living should exceed;

My heart all whole as thine, thy heart my wound;
So did this horse excel a common one,

For one sweet look thy help I would assure thee,
In shape, in courage, colour, pace, and bone. Though nothing but my body's bane would cure thee.
Round-hoof'd, short-jointed, fetlocks shag and long, Give me my hand, saith he, why dost thou feel it?
Broad breast, full eve, small head, and nostril wide, Give me my heart, saith she, and thou shalt have it;
High crest, short ears, strait legs, and passing strong, o, give it me, lest ihy hard heart do steal it,
Thin mane, thick tail, broad buttock, tender hide : And being steeld, soft sighs can never grave it:
Look what a horse should have, he did not lack, Then love's deep groans I never shall regard,
Save a proud rider on so proud a back.

Because Adonis' heart hath made mine hard.
Sometime he scuds far off, and there he stares ;

For shame, he cries, let go, and let me go;
Anon he starts at stirring of a feather ;

My day's delight is past, my horse is gone,
To bid the wind a base he now prepares,

And 'uis your fault I am bereft him so;
And whe'r he run, or fly, they know not whether; I pray you hence, and leave me here alone;
For through his mane and tail the high wind sings For all my mind, my thought, my busy care,
Fanning the hairs, who wave like feather'd wings. Is how to get my palfrey from the mare.
He looks upon his love, and neighs unto her; Thus she replies : Thy palfrey, as he should,
She answers him, as to she knew his mind : Welcomes the warm approach of sweet desiro.
Being proud, as females are, if see him woo her, Affection is a coal that must be cool'd;
She puts on outward strangeness, seems unkind; Else, suffer'd, it will set the heart on fire :
Spurns at his love, aud scorns the heat he feels, The sea hath bounds, but deep desire hath none;
Beating his kind embracements with her heels. Therefore no marvel though thy horse be gone.
Then, like a melancholy malecontent,

How like a jade he stood, tied to the tree,
He vails his tail, that, like a falling plume Servilely master'd with a leathern rein!
Cool shadow to his melting buttock lent;

But when he saw his love, his youth's fair fee,
He stamps, and bites the poor flies in his fume : He held such petty bondage in disdain ;
His love perceiving how he is enrag'd,

Throwing the base thong from his bending crest,
Grew kinder, and his fury was assuag'd.

Enfranchising his mouth, his back, his breast.
His testy master goeth about to take him ;

Who sees his true love in her naked bed,
When lo, the unback'd breeder, full of fear, Teaching the sheets a whiter hue than white,
Jealous of catching, swiftly doth forsake him, But, when his glution eye so full hath fed,
With her the horse, and left Adonis there : His other agents aim at like delight?
As they were mad, unto the wood they hie them, Who is so faint, that dare not be so bold,
Out-stripping crows that strive to over-fly them. To touch the fire, the weather being cold?

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