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Look, when a painter would surpass the life,
In limning out a well-proportion'd 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, colour, pace, and bone.
Round-hoofd, short-jointed, fetlocks shag and long,
Broad breast, full eyes, small head, and noftril wide,
High crest, short ears, straight legs, and passing strong,
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.
Sometimes 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 whêr he run, or fly, they knew not whether ;
For through his mane and tail the high wind sings,
Fanning the hairs, who wave like feather'd 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.
Then, like a melancholy male-content,
He vails his tail, that, like a falling plume,
Cool shadow to his melting buttocks lent;
He stamps, and bites the poor flies in his fume:
His love perceiving how he is enrag'd,
Grew kinder, and his fury was assuag'd.
His testy master goeth about to take him ;
When lo, the unback'd 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 fits,
Banning his boisterous and unruly beast;
And now the happy season once more fits,
That love-lick Love by pleading may be bleft;
For lovers say, the heart hath treble wrong,
When it is barr'd the aidance of the tongue.
An oven that is stopp'd, or river stay'd,
Burneth more hotly, swelleth with more rage :
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), And with his bonnet hides his
Looks on the dull earth with disturbed mind;
Taking no notice that she is so nigh,
For all alkaunce he holds her in his eye.
O what a fight it was, wistly to view
How she came stealing to the wayward boy!
To note the fighting confliet of her hue !
How white and red each other did destroy!
But now, her cheek was pale, and by and by
It flash'd forth fire, as lightning from the sky,
Now was she just before him as he fat,
And like a lowly lover down she kneels;
With one fair hand she heaveth up his hat,
Her other tender hand his fair cheeks feels :
His tender cheeks receive her soft hands' print,
As apt as new fallen snow takes
O what a war of looks was then between them!
Her eyes, petitioners, to his eyes suing;
saw her eyes as they had not seen them ; Her eyes woo'd still, his eyes disdain’d 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 prison'd 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,
Show'd like to filver doves that fit a billing:
Once more the engine of her thoughts began :
“O faireft 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, faith lhe, and thou shalt have it ;
O give it me, left thy hard heart do steel it,
And being steel'd, soft sighs can never grave it :
Then love's deep groans I never shall regard,
Because Adonis' heart hath made mine hard.
For Thame, he cries, let go, and let me go ;
My day's delight is paft, my horse is gone,
fault I am bereft him fo;
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 cool'd ;
Else, suffer'd, it will set the heart on fire:
The sea hath bounds, but deep defire hath none,
Therefore no marvel though thy horse be gone.
How like a jade he stood, tied to a tree,
Servilely master'd 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 fo 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 befeech 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 I 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 unfinish’d?
Who plucks the bud before one leaf
If springing things be any jot diminishid,
They wither in their prime, prove nothing worth:
The colt that's back'd and burthen'd being young,
Loseth his pride, and never waxeth strong.
You hurt my hand with wringing ; let us part,
And leave this idle theme, this bootless chat :
your siege from my unyielding heart; To love's alarm it will not ope the gate.
Dismiss your vows, your feigned tears, your flattery;
For where a heart is hard, they make no battery.
What! canst thou talk (quoth she), hast thou a tongue?
Owould thou hadît not, or I had no hearing !
Thy mermaid's voice hath done me double wrong;
my load before, now press’d with bearing : Melodious discord, heavenly tune harsh-sounding, Earth's deep-sweet music, and heart's deep-fore wounding.
Had I no eyes, but ears, my ears would love
That inward beauty and invisible ;
Or, were I deaf, thy outward parts would move
in me that were but sensible :
Though neither eyes nor ears, to hear nor see,
Yet should I be in love, by touching thee,