Venus and Adonis Translation Venus and Adonis
Epigraph: 'Vilia miretur vulgus; mihi flavus ApolloPocula Castalia plena ministret aqua.'
Epigraph: "Let idiots admire worthless things. Golden Apollo, lead me to the abundant spring of poetic inspiration."
Dedication: TO THE RIGHT HONORABLE HENRY WRIOTHESLY,EARL OF SOUTHAMPTON, AND BARON OF TICHFIELD.RIGHT HONORABLE, I KNOW not how I shall offend in dedicating my unpolished lines to your lordship, nor how the world will censure me for choosing so strong a prop to supportso weak a burden only, if your honour seem but pleased,I account myself highly praised, and vow to take advantage of all idle hours, till 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 god-father, and never after ear so barren a land, for fear it yield me still 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,WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE.
Dedication: To the Right Honorable Henry Wriothesly, Earl of Southampton and Baron of Tichfield.
I'm not sure if I'll offend you by dedicating my less-than-perfect poetry to you, sir, or if the world will criticize me for choosing someone as powerful as you to validate my pathetic creation. But if you're happy, sir, I'll feel like I've been successful—and I'll promise to use all my free time working until I can write a more serious poem to dedicate to you. But if my first-ever poem turns out to be bad, I'll regret dedicating it to you and won't try again, since I'll be afraid of producing another embarrassing poem. I leave it to up to your judgment. You can decide if it's worthy of you or not. Of course, I hope that the poem fulfills your heart's desires and that it can live up to the world's hopeful expectations.
Your faithful servant,
EVEN as the sun with purple-colour'd face Had ta'en his last leave of the weeping morn, Rose-cheek'd Adonis hied him to the chase; Hunting he loved, but love he laugh'd to scorn; Sick-thoughted Venus makes amain unto him, And like a bold-faced suitor 'gins to woo him.
The sun was purple on that rainy morning. Just as it disappeared behind a cloud, rosy-cheeked Adonis went out hunting. He loved hunting, but he laughed in the face of love. Lovesick over him, Venus followed him as fast as she could. She started talking sweetly to him, and as boldly as a lover would.
'Thrice-fairer than myself,' thus she began, 'The field's chief flower, sweet above compare, Stain to all nymphs, more lovely than a man, More white and red than doves or roses are; Nature that made thee, with herself at strife, Saith that the world hath ending with thy life.
"You're three times as pretty as I am," she began, "the prettiest flower in the field, and sweeter than anything in the world. You put fairies to shame. You're lovelier than any man alive. Your skin is whiter than a dove's, and your blushing cheeks are redder than roses. You're the most perfect creature Mother Nature ever made, and she'll never make another one like you.
'Vouchsafe, thou wonder, to alight thy steed, And rein his proud head to the saddle-bow; If thou wilt deign this favour, for thy meed A thousand honey secrets shalt thou know: Here come and sit, where never serpent hisses, And being set, I'll smother thee with kisses;
"Hey, handsome, would you be so kind as to get down off your horse and tie his reins to the horn of the saddle? If you'll do as I ask, I'll reward you by telling you a thousand secrets as sweet as honey. Come here and sit by me, where snakes can never bite you. Once you're here, I'll cover you with kisses.
'And yet not cloy thy lips with loathed satiety, But rather famish them amid their plenty, Making them red and pale with fresh variety, Ten kisses short as one, one long as twenty: A summer's day will seem an hour but short, Being wasted in such time-beguiling sport.'
"But I won't overload your lips with too much kissing. I'll make you long for more even as we kiss. I'll change it up—first your lips will be red, and then pale again. I'll give you ten quick kisses—all together as long as one normal kiss. Then I'll give you one long kiss as long as twenty quick kisses. When you have such a fun way to pass the time, a summer's day seems to go by in an hour."
With this she seizeth on his sweating palm, The precedent of pith and livelihood, And trembling in her passion, calls it balm, Earth's sovereign salve to do a goddess good: Being so enraged, desire doth lend her force Courageously to pluck him from his horse.
As she said that, she grabbed his sweating hand. It pulsed with all the life in his body. Trembling and passionate, she said his hand was sweet medicine, the best medicine on Earth that a goddess could ask for. As she got more aroused, she worked up the courage to pull him down from his horse.
Over one arm the lusty courser's rein, Under her other was the tender boy, Who blush'd and pouted in a dull disdain, With leaden appetite, unapt to toy; She red and hot as coals of glowing fire, He red for shame, but frosty in desire.
She threw the horse's reins over one arm and held the young boy under the other. He blushed and pouted disapprovingly. He wasn't aroused at all—he didn't want to play. She was red-hot with passion; he was red because he was embarrassed, but he didn't desire her at all.
The studded bridle on a ragged bough Nimbly she fastens:—O, how quick is love!— The steed is stalled up, and even now To tie the rider she begins to prove: Backward she push'd him, as she would be thrust, And govern'd him in strength, though not in lust.
She nimbly fastened the horse to a tree branch. Love moves quickly! Now that the horse was tied, she attempted to tie the rider, too. She pushed him backward just the way she hoped he would thrust into her. Her strength made it easy to throw him around physically, but she couldn't make him want her.
So soon was she along as he was down, Each leaning on their elbows and their hips: Now doth she stroke his cheek, now doth he frown, And 'gins to chide, but soon she stops his lips; And kissing speaks, with lustful language broken, 'If thou wilt chide, thy lips shall never open.'
She laid down beside him. Each of them leaned on their elbows and hips. When she stroked his cheek, he frowned. He started to say something, but she kissed his lips to stop him. As they kissed, she said, between kisses, "if you're going to argue with me, you'll never open your lips again."
He burns with bashful shame: she with her tears Doth quench the maiden burning of his cheeks; Then with her windy sighs and golden hairs To fan and blow them dry again she seeks: He saith she is immodest, blames her 'miss; What follows more she murders with a kiss.
He blushed, embarrassed. As she started to cry, her tears fell on his burning, innocent face. Then she dried his tears with a deep sigh and a toss of her blonde hair. He said she was being too forward, and that what she was doing was wrong. She shut him up again by kissing him.
Even as an empty eagle, sharp by fast, Tires with her beak on feathers, flesh and bone, Shaking her wings, devouring all in haste, Till either gorge be stuff'd or prey be gone; Even so she kissed his brow, his cheek, his chin, And where she ends she doth anew begin.
She was like a hungry eagle on the prowl: an eagle will catch a bird, pluck its feather out with its beak, and then tear the flesh away from the bone. It'll flap its wings, eating as quickly as it can until it's full or there's no prey left to eat. She kissed his forehead, his cheeks, and his chin like that, and then started all over again at the beginning.
Forced to content, but never to obey, Panting he lies and breatheth in her face; She feedeth on the steam as on a prey, And calls it heavenly moisture, air of grace; Wishing her cheeks were gardens full of flowers, So they were dew'd with such distilling showers.
He was forced to take it, but he didn't respond. He lay there, panting and breathing in her face. She breathed in his breath, saying it smelled heavenly and felt delightful. She said that if her cheeks were flowers, the moisture his breath left on them would make them grow better than any rain could.
Look, how a bird lies tangled in a net, So fasten'd in her arms Adonis lies; Pure shame and awed resistance made him fret, Which bred more beauty in his angry eyes: Rain added to a river that is rank Perforce will force it overflow the bank.
Adonis was trapped in her arms like a bird tangled in a net. His angry eyes looked even more beautiful as he struggled against her—ashamed, innocent, and resistant. Since he was already handsome, anything added to his face only made him more so.
Still she entreats, and prettily entreats, For to a pretty ear she tunes her tale; Still is he sullen, still he lours and frets, 'Twixt crimson shame and anger ashy-pale: Being red, she loves him best; and being white, Her best is better'd with a more delight.
She kept asking this handsome boy—and asking nicely. He remained cold, frowning and pushing her away. His face was alternately flushed with embarrassment and pale with anger. She loved him best when he was red—but then she loved him even more when he grew pale again.
Look how he can, she cannot choose but love; And by her fair immortal hand she swears, From his soft bosom never to remove, Till he take truce with her contending tears, Which long have rain'd, making her cheeks all wet; And one sweet kiss shall pay this countless debt.
With a face like that, she couldn't help but love him. She swore she would never take her beautiful, immortal hands off his soft chest. That is, unless he would give in to her pleading tears (which had been going on for a long time, leaving her cheeks all wet) and repay her with a single kiss.
Upon this promise did he raise his chin, Like a dive-dapper peering through a wave, Who, being look'd on, ducks as quickly in; So offers he to give what she did crave; But when her lips were ready for his pay, He winks, and turns his lips another way.
When she promised that, he raised his chin—like a heron peeking his head out from a wave, and diving back in as soon as he realizes he's been seen. He acted like he was going to give Venus what she wanted, but when she puckered her lips, he blinked and turned his lips away.
Never did passenger in summer's heat More thirst for drink than she for this good turn. Her help she sees, but help she cannot get; She bathes in water, yet her fire must burn: 'O, pity,' 'gan she cry, 'flint-hearted boy! 'Tis but a kiss I beg; why art thou coy?
A traveler on a hot summer day wouldn't have longed for water as much as Venus longed for his kiss. She saw his lips, but couldn't make them kiss her. Her cheeks were wet with tears, but her desire burned in her heart. "Take pity on me," she cried, "you hard-hearted boy! All I want is a kiss, why are you being so coy?
'I have been woo'd, as I entreat thee now, Even by the stern and direful god of war, Whose sinewy neck in battle ne'er did bow, Who conquers where he comes in every jar; Yet hath he been my captive and my slave, And begg'd for that which thou unask'd shalt have.
"The serious, terrifying god of war flirted with me the way I'm flirting with you now. He's never been defeated in battle; he conquers everyone he fights. And yet, I've made him my captive and my slave. I've made him beg for what I'd give you without asking.
'Over my altars hath he hung his lance, His batter'd shield, his uncontrolled crest, And for my sake hath learn'd to sport and dance, To toy, to wanton, dally, smile and jest, Scorning his churlish drum and ensign red, Making my arms his field, his tent my bed.
"He's hung his sword, battered shield, and helmet over my bed. He's learned to play games, dance, fool around, waste time, relax, smile, and joke for my sake. He's put aside his war drum and battle cry, making my arms his battlefield and my bed his tent instead.
'Thus he that overruled I oversway'd, Leading him prisoner in a red-rose chain: Strong-tempered steel his stronger strength obey'd, Yet was he servile to my coy disdain. O, be not proud, nor brag not of thy might, For mastering her that foil'd the god of fight!
"So I overcame the most powerful of the gods. I made him my prisoner and bound him in chains of red roses. Although he could defeat the strongest steel swords with his strength, he gave into my flirtatious tricks. Don't be so proud! Don't think you're tough for defeating the goddess who trumped the god of war!
'Touch but my lips with those fair lips of thine,— Though mine be not so fair, yet are they red— The kiss shall be thine own as well as mine. What seest thou in the ground? hold up thy head: Look in mine eye-balls, there thy beauty lies; Then why not lips on lips, since eyes in eyes?
"Just touch my lips with your pretty lips. Mine aren't as pretty as yours, but at least they're red—you'll enjoy the kiss as much as I will. What are you looking at on the ground? Hold your head up; look me in the eye. Your eyes are your most beautiful feature. If we kiss with lips on lips, why not with eyes on eyes?
'Art thou ashamed to kiss? then wink again, And I will wink; so shall the day seem night; Love keeps his revels where they are but twain; Be bold to play, our sport is not in sight: These blue-vein'd violets whereon we lean Never can blab, nor know not what we mean.
"Are you too embarrassed to kiss me? Then close your eyes again, and I'll close mine, too. We can pretend it's nighttime. Lovers usually meet in the dark of night. So kiss me; no one can see us! The blue-and-purple violets over there won't blab—they don't know what we're up to.
'The tender spring upon thy tempting lip Shows thee unripe; yet mayst thou well be tasted: Make use of time, let not advantage slip; Beauty within itself should not be wasted: Fair flowers that are not gather'd in their prime Rot and consume themselves in little time.
"I can tell by the wispy hairs above your lip that you're not a man yet, but you're not too young for love. Seize the day; don't let time pass you by. Beauty in and of itself shouldn't be wasted. If you don't gather pretty flowers when they're blooming, they rot and decay quickly.
'Were I hard-favour'd, foul, or wrinkled-old, Ill-nurtured, crooked, churlish, harsh in voice, O'erworn, despised, rheumatic and cold, Thick-sighted, barren, lean and lacking juice, Then mightst thou pause, for then I were not for thee But having no defects, why dost abhor me?
"If I were ugly, gross, wrinkly, old, starving, hunchbacked, rude, harsh-voiced, over-worked, hated, diseased, cold, blind, barren, thin, or dry, you might have good reason to hesitate. Then I wouldn't be worthy of you. But I'm perfect, so why are you rejecting me?
'Thou canst not see one wrinkle in my brow; Mine eyes are gray and bright and quick in turning: My beauty as the spring doth yearly grow, My flesh is soft and plump, my marrow burning; My smooth moist hand, were it with thy hand felt, Would in thy palm dissolve, or seem to melt.
"There's not a single wrinkle in my forehead. My eyes are gray, bright, and can move quickly. I get more beautiful with every passing year. My skin is soft, my body is plump, and my bones are healthy. If you would touch it, my smooth, moist hand would dissolve in your hand, or seem to melt.
'Bid me discourse, I will enchant thine ear, Or, like a fairy, trip upon the green, Or, like a nymph, with long dishevell'd hair, Dance on the sands, and yet no footing seen: Love is a spirit all compact of fire, Not gross to sink, but light, and will aspire.
"Let me talk for a while—I'll entertain you. Or let me dance on the grass like a fairy. Or let me fly above the sand—my hair flowing like a water spirit's, my feet never touching the ground. The burning power of love doesn't weigh us down; it makes us lighter, and makes us feel like we can do anything.
'Witness this primrose bank whereon I lie; These forceless flowers like sturdy trees support me; Two strengthless doves will draw me through the sky, From morn till night, even where I list to sport me: Is love so light, sweet boy, and may it be That thou shouldst think it heavy unto thee?
"Look, see these primroses I'm lying on? These weak flowers support me as if they were sturdy trees. Two tiny doves can drag me across the sky, and fly me anywhere I want, from morning until night. Love is so light, sweet boy. So why do you think it's such a burden?
'Is thine own heart to thine own face affected? Can thy right hand seize love upon thy left? Then woo thyself, be of thyself rejected, Steal thine own freedom and complain on theft. Narcissus so himself himself forsook, And died to kiss his shadow in the brook.
"Are you in love with your own face? Can your right hand make love to your left? Then flirt with yourself and be rejected by yourself. You can still be free from love, but then you'll be robbing yourself. Narcissus fell in love with himself, too, and he died trying to kiss his own reflection in a stream.
'Torches are made to light, jewels to wear, Dainties to taste, f resh beauty for the use, Herbs for their smell, and sappy plants to bear: Things growing to themselves are growth's abuse: Seeds spring from seeds and beauty breedeth beauty; Thou wast begot; to get it is thy duty.
"Candles are supposed to be lit, jewelry is supposed to be worn, desserts are made to be tasted, flowers are supposed to be picked, herbs are meant to be smelled, trees are made to bear fruit. Things are supposed to be used for their purposes. Seeds are planted and produce more seeds. Beauty breeds beauty. Someone conceived you, so it's your duty to conceive a child of your own.
'Upon the earth's increase why shouldst thou feed, Unless the earth with thy increase be fed? By law of nature thou art bound to breed, That thine may live when thou thyself art dead; And so, in spite of death, thou dost survive, In that thy likeness still is left alive.'
"Why should you consume everything the earth produces without producing something to give back to it? According to the laws of nature, you're supposed to procreate so that your children can live on after you're dead. That way, even when you die, you live on in your surviving children."
By this the love-sick queen began to sweat, For where they lay the shadow had forsook them, And Titan, tired in the mid-day heat, With burning eye did hotly overlook them; Wishing Adonis had his team to guide, So he were like him and by Venus' side.
After saying all that, the love-sick goddess started to sweat. There was no shade where they were lying, and the sun was directly overhead in the midday heat. The sun-god, Titan, wished Adonis would trade places with him, so that Adonis would pull the sun across the sky in his chariot and Titan could lie down next to Venus instead.
And now Adonis, with a lazy spright, And with a heavy, dark, disliking eye, His louring brows o'erwhelming his fair sight, Like misty vapours when they blot the sky, Souring his cheeks cries 'Fie, no more of love! The sun doth burn my face: I must remove.'
Adonis was starting to get bored. His eyes grew heavy and dark, indicating how unhappy he was. He furrowed his brow low over his eyes, like clouds darkening the sky. He pouted and cried, "stop! Stop talking about love! The sun is burning my face. I need to leave."
'Ay me,' quoth Venus, 'young, and so unkind? What bare excuses makest thou to be gone! I'll sigh celestial breath, whose gentle wind Shall cool the heat of this descending sun: I'll make a shadow for thee of my hairs; If they burn too, I'll quench them with my tears.
"Oh dear," said Venus, "how can someone so young be so unkind? You're making up such lame excuses to leave! If I breathe my heavenly breath, it'll cool down the heat of the sun. I can make a shady spot for you underneath my hair. If the sun starts to burn my hair, I'll put the fire out with my tears.
'The sun that shines from heaven shines but warm, And, lo, I lie between that sun and thee: The heat I have from thence doth little harm, Thine eye darts forth the fire that burneth me; And were I not immortal, life were done Between this heavenly and earthly sun.
"When the sun shines from the sky, obviously it's warm. But look—I'm lying between the sun and you. The sun's heat doesn't hurt me at all; it's your eyes that set my heart on fire. If I weren't immortal, I'd be a goner, caught between the sun and you.
'Art thou obdurate, flinty, hard as steel, Nay, more than flint, for stone at rain relenteth? Art thou a woman's son, and canst not feel What 'tis to love? how want of love tormenteth? O, had thy mother borne so hard a mind, She had not brought forth thee, but died unkind.
"Are you really so tough, like a rock? Hard as steel? No, you're harder than rock—rock erodes in the rain! Didn't you have a mother—don't you know what love is? Don't you know how hard it is to be deprived of love? If your mother was as tough as you, she wouldn't have given birth to you; she would have died instead.
'What am I, that thou shouldst contemn me this? Or what great danger dwells upon my suit? What were thy lips the worse for one poor kiss? Speak, fair; but speak fair words, or else be mute: Give me one kiss, I'll give it thee again, And one for interest, if thou wilt have twain.
"Who am I for you to insult me this way? What are you afraid will happen if you give into me? Would your lips be that much worse off if they gave me a single kiss? Say something sweet. Only sweet things; otherwise be quiet. Give me one kiss, and I'll kiss you back. And I'll kiss you again if you want another one.
'Fie, lifeless picture, cold and senseless stone, Well-painted idol, image dun and dead, Statue contenting but the eye alone, Thing like a man, but of no woman bred! Thou art no man, though of a man's complexion, For men will kiss even by their own direction.'
"You're a lifeless picture; a cold, unfeeling stone; a painted statue; a dull, dead image; a work of art made to please the eye. You look like a man, but you can't be human! You're not a man, even though you look like one. Men kiss women of their own accord."
This said, impatience chokes her pleading tongue, And swelling passion doth provoke a pause; Red cheeks and fiery eyes blaze forth he wrong; Being judge in love, she cannot right her cause: And now she weeps, and now she fain would speak, And now her sobs do her intendments break.
That said, she was overcome with impatience and got tongue-tied. Her intense emotion forced her to stop talking. He looked angry with his red cheeks and fiery eyes. Even though Venus was the goddess of love, she couldn't help her cause. She cried, then tried to speak, then started to sob again in the middle of her sentence.
Sometimes she shakes her head and then his hand, Now gazeth she on him, now on the ground; Sometimes her arms infold him like a band: She would, he will not in her arms be bound; And when from thence he struggles to be gone, She locks her lily fingers one in one.
She would shake her head, then pull on his hand. She'd gaze at him, then at the ground. She'd fold her arms around him, then, when he struggled to get away and finally escaped, she'd lace her white fingers together.
'Fondling,' she saith, 'since I have hemm'd thee here Within the circuit of this ivory pale, I'll be a park, and thou shalt be my deer; Feed where thou wilt, on mountain or in dale: Graze on my lips; and if those hills be dry, Stray lower, where the pleasant fountains lie.
"Darling," she said, "since my white arms circle around you like a fence, I'll be a park, and you can be my deer. You can nibble wherever you want: in the mountains, or in the valleys. Graze on my lips. If my lips are dry, look lower, where the pleasant fountains are.
'Within this limit is relief enough, Sweet bottom-grass and high delightful plain, Round rising hillocks, brakes obscure and rough, To shelter thee from tempest and from rain Then be my deer, since I am such a park; No dog shall rouse thee, though a thousand bark.'
"You have everything you need within this fence: sweet grass in the valleys; high, delightful plains up top; round, rising hills; dark clumps of bush to shelter you from the wind and the rain. Be my deer, then, since I'm your park. No dog will ever catch you, even if a thousand tried."
At this Adonis smiles as in disdain, That in each cheek appears a pretty dimple: Love made those hollows, if himself were slain, He might be buried in a tomb so simple; Foreknowing well, if there he came to lie, Why, there Love lived and there he could not die.
Adonis smiled condescendingly at that. A pretty dimple showed in each cheek—if only his cheeks were dimpling for love. A lover can only hope to be buried in a grave as perfect as that dimple; he would know that, when he was buried there, love was all around and could never die.
These lovely caves, these round enchanting pits, Open'd their mouths to swallow Venus' liking. Being mad before, how doth she now for wits? Struck dead at first, what needs a second striking? Poor queen of love, in thine own law forlorn, To love a cheek that smiles at thee in scorn!
Venus fell in love with those lovely caves, those round, enchanting holes; they swallowed her up. She was crazy in love before, so where was she now? If you're dead after the first strike, do you really need to be struck again? Poor goddess of love—she was beat at her own game! She was in love with a dimple that only showed when he was rejecting her.
Now which way shall she turn? what shall she say? Her words are done, her woes are more increasing; The time is spent, her object will away, And from her twining arms doth urge releasing. ' Pity,' she cries, 'some favour, some remorse!' Away he springs and hasteth to his horse.
Where could she turn? What could she say? She had no words left. Her suffering was getting worse, but she'd tried her best. Her object was trying to leave, straining against her arms around him. "Have pity on me," she cried, "show me some love, take it back!" But he jumped out of her arms and ran over to his horse.
But, lo, from forth a copse that neighbors by, A breeding jennet, lusty, young and proud, Adonis' trampling courser doth espy, And forth she rushes, snorts and neighs aloud: The strong-neck'd steed, being tied unto a tree, Breaketh his rein, and to her straight goes he.
But just then, a female horse came out from behind some nearby trees. She was young, attractive, energetic, and ready to breed. Adonis' horse saw her. She rushed over to him, snorted, and neighed. Adonis' strong-necked horse, still tied to the tree, broke his reins and went straight to her.
Imperiously he leaps, he neighs, he bounds, And now his woven girths he breaks asunder; The bearing earth with his hard hoof he wounds, Whose hollow womb resounds like heaven's thunder; The iron bit he crusheth 'tween his teeth, Controlling what he was controlled with.
He leapt up impressively, neighed, and ran. He broke his saddle from off his back and pawed the earth hard with his hoof. His hoof in the dirt made a loud, echoing sound like thunder. He crushed the iron bit with his teeth, controlling what was used to control him.
His ears up-prick'd; his braided hanging mane Upon his compass'd crest now stand on end; His nostrils drink the air, and forth again, As from a furnace, vapours doth he send: His eye, which scornfully glisters like fire, Shows his hot courage and his high desire.
He pricked his ears up. His braided mane didn't hang down anymore; it stood straight up on his head. His nostrils flared and he breathed out heavily again and again, his breath like steam blowing out of a furnace. His eyes were shining as bright as fire, showing how hot with desire he was, and how far he'd go to get what he wanted.
Sometime he trots, as if he told the steps, With gentle majesty and modest pride; Anon he rears upright, curvets and leaps, As who should say 'Lo, thus my strength is tried, And this I do to captivate the eye Of the fair breeder that is standing by.'
He trotted gently, majestically, and modestly as if he were counting his steps. Then he reared up on his hind legs, and jumped with his back legs into the air as if to say, "look how strong I am! I'm doing all this to catch the eye of the pretty horse standing over there."
What recketh he his rider's angry stir, His flattering 'Holla,' or his 'Stand, I say?' What cares he now for curb or pricking spur? For rich caparisons or trapping gay? He sees his love, and nothing else he sees, For nothing else with his proud sight agrees.
Does he care now that his angry rider is shouting, "hey" and "stay there?" Does he care about his whips and spurs? About fancy harnesses or bright-colored ribbons? He can't see anything but his love; nothing else is worth looking at to him.
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.
It was as if a painter had set out to draw an ideal horse that would put real horses to shame—drawing out the right proportions, painting him to his best ability, as if a work of art could be better than life. In just the same way, that horse's body, spirit, color, speed, and form excelled all other horses.
Round-hoof'd, short-jointed, fetlocks shag and long, Broad breast, full eye, small head and nostril 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.
Round hooves; short joints; long, shaggy fetlocks; a broad chest; full eyes; a small head; wide nostrils; a high forehead; straight legs; exceptional strength; a thin mane; thick tail; broad buttocks; and a soft hide: this horse lacked nothing except a handsome rider on his back to match his handsome self.
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 whether he run or fly they know not whether; For through his mane and tail the high wind sings, Fanning the hairs, who wave like feather'd wings.
He would scurry off and stand far away, staring. Then he'd start at the smallest thing. He was ready to chase the wind, whether he had to run or fly to do it. The wind ran through his mane and tail, fanning the hair out like feathery 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.
He looked at his love and neighed to her. She answered him as if she could read his mind. Like all females, she got prideful when he started flirting with her. She started acting cold and rude, rejecting his love and mocking his passion, kicking him away when he tried to get close.
Then, like a melancholy malcontent, He veils 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.
Then, as if he were depressed, he curled his tail over his backside, shading it like an umbrella. He stamped and bit the flies in his tail. His love could see how angry he was and started acting more kindly; his anger went away.
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.
His grumpy master went to grab him when, all of a sudden, the female horse spooked. Not wanting to lose her, Adonis' horse abandoned him and ran after her, leaving Adonis behind. They ran into the woods like crazy horses, running faster than the crows could fly in the air above them.
All swoln with chafing, 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 barr'd the aidance of the tongue.
Filled with anger, Adonis sat down, berating his energetic, misbehaving animal. It was a good time then for lovesick Venus to make a more successful attempt at love. Lovers say that your heart is most in pain when it can't find the words to articulate what it feels.
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.
When you stop an oven, it burns hotter; when you dam a river, it swells higher. It's the same when you try to keep sadness bottled up. Love makes you want to speak up. When you're silent, the words will break out of you because you start to get desperate.
He sees her coming, and begins to glow, Even as a dying coal revives with wind, 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.
He saw her coming and started to get angry, like a dying coal that flames up in the wind. He pulled his hat down over his face and looked down at the ground, angry and disturbed. He didn't look at her as she drew closer. He looked everywhere but at her.
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 flash'd forth fire, as lightning from the sky.
It was a sight to see how she came creeping over to the escaping boy! It was strange to see how her face blushed and grew pale! Her cheek was pale, but a few seconds later it would blush again, as quickly as lightning in 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-fall'n snow takes any dint.
She reached the place where he was sitting, and knelt down like a humble lover. She pulled his hat up with one hand, and felt his soft cheek with her other hand. His soft cheek, like freshly-fallen snow, felt the imprint of her soft hand on it.
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 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.
There was a war of looks between the two of them. She looked into his eyes, pleading, begging. He looked into hers like he couldn't see them. Her eyes flirted with him; his eyes rejected her flirting. Their silent looks gave way to an abundance of tears, which rained down from her eyes to explain her sadness.
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 two silver doves that sit a-billing.
She took him gently by the hand, encasing his white hand in her white one. It was like a lily covered in snow, or ivory wrapped in alabaster; that's how white their two hands were. This beautiful battle between her and him—the willing and the unwilling—was like two silver doves pecking at each other.
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!'
She started to speak again, saying, "you're the most handsome man that ever walked the earth! If you were a woman and I were a man, and you were the lovesick one instead of me, I'd help you out with an encouraging look, knowing nothing except that my body would cure you!"
'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 steel'd, soft sighs can never grave it: Then love's deep groans I never shall regard, Because Adonis' heart hath made mine hard.'
"Let go of my hand," he said, "why are you holding it?" "Let go of my heart," she said, "and you can have your hand back. Oh, give it back to me, or your heart will harden mine! And once it's hardened, I'll never be able to fall in love again, not even for the sweetest lover, because Adonis' heart will have 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.'
"Shame on you," he cried, "let me go, let me go! I'm tired of this, my horse is gone, and it's your fault that I lost him. Get out of here. Please leave me alone. All I can think about or care about right now is getting my horse back from that 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 desire hath none; Therefore no marvel though thy horse be gone.
She replied, "your horse is giving into the heat of love (as he should). You have to give desire what it wants; otherwise, if you let it burn, it'll set your heart on fire. The sea has limits, but deep desire knows no bounds. Don't be surprised your horse is gone.
'How like a jade he stood, tied to the 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.
"He stood there tied with a leather rein to the tree like an old nag. But when he saw the female horse, he fell in love with her. He didn't care about being tied up then. He threw off his burdens, freeing his head, mouth, back, and chest.
'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?
"Is it possible for a man to see his fair-skinned true love lying naked on the bedsheets, and just be content with looking? Don't other parts of your body want to be satisfied? Who's afraid to go after what they want when they want it?
'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'm apologizing for your horse, silly boy. You should learn from him. I'm telling you: take advantage of the opportunity in front of you. Putting what I've said aside, you can still learn from his actions. Learn to love! The lesson is simple and, once you learn it, you never forget it."
'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.
"I don't know anything about love," he said, "and I never want to. All I care about is hunting boars. It sounds like a lot of work that I'm not willing to put in. All I can say about love is that I love to reject it. I've heard it doesn't last very long anyway, and that it makes you have mood swings so that you're laughing one minute and crying the next.
'Who wears a garment shapeless and unfinish'd? Who plucks the bud before one leaf put forth? If springing things be any jot diminish'd, They wither in their prime, prove nothing worth: The colt that's back'd and burden'd being young Loseth his pride and never waxeth strong.
"Who wears a shirt before they're done sewing it? Who picks a flower before a single leaf has sprouted? If you ruin something while it's still growing, you never get to see what it could have become. If you break a horse in and teach it to obey commands when it's young, it loses its spirit and never gets big and strong.
'You hurt my hand with wringing; let us part, And leave this idle theme, this bootless chat: Remove your siege from my unyielding heart; To love's alarms it will not ope the gate: Dismiss your vows, your feigned tears, your flattery; For where a heart is hard they make no battery.'
"You're hurting my hand by pulling on it so much—let me go. Forget this nonsense. Forget all this useless chat. Stop trying to get me to fall in love with you; I'm not interested. Quit your promises, your fake tears, and your flattery. I'm not going to give in to you."
'What! canst thou talk?' quoth she, 'hast thou a tongue? O, would thou hadst not, or I had no hearing! Thy mermaid's voice hath done me double wrong; I had my load before, now press'd with bearing: Melodious discord, heavenly tune harshsounding, Ear's deep-sweet music, and heart's deep-sore wounding.
"What! What are you saying?" she said, "can you really be saying this? I wish you couldn't speak at all! I wish I were deaf! You've hurt me two times over: you lured me in with your siren song; made me fall in love with you (which was bad enough); and then rejected me. Your looks are like a sweet melody, but your words are harsh and dissonant. Seeing and hearing you at the same time is music to the ear, but a deep wound to the heart.
'Had I no eyes but ears, my ears would love That inward beauty and invisible; Or were I deaf, thy outward parts would move Each part in me that were but sensible: Though neither eyes nor ears, to hear nor see, Yet should I be in love by touching thee.
"If I had ears and no eyes, my ears would love your internal, invisible beauty. Or if I had no ears, then I'd fall head over heels in love with your external attractiveness. And if I didn't have eyes or ears and couldn't see or hear, I'd still fall in love with you through touch alone.
'Say, that the sense of feeling were bereft me, And that I could not see, nor hear, nor touch, And nothing but the very smell were left me, Yet would my love to thee be still as much; For from the stillitory of thy face excelling Comes breath perfumed that breedeth love by smelling.
"If I lost my sense of touch—if I couldn't see, hear, or touch, and all I had left was smell—I'd still love you just as much. You see, the pores of your face produce a sweet smell that would make anyone fall in love with you just by smelling.
'But, O, what banquet wert thou to the taste, Being nurse and feeder of the other four! Would they not wish the feast might ever last, And bid Suspicion double-lock the door, Lest Jealousy, that sour unwelcome guest, Should, by his stealing in, disturb the feast?'
"And if I could only taste you, it'd be as delicious as a feast! The taste of you alone would make up for all my other lost senses. I'd never want the feast to end. I wouldn't mind giving up my other senses, in fact, because sight, hearing, touch, and smell might be jealous! If I had all my senses, it'd disturb the feast of taste!"
Once more the ruby-colour'd portal open'd, Which to his speech did honey passage yield; Like a red morn, that ever yet betoken'd Wreck to the seaman, tempest to the field, Sorrow to shepherds, woe unto the birds, Gusts and foul flaws to herdmen and to herds.
He opened the red, gaping door of his mouth again as if to say something sweet. His mouth was like the red morning sun that tells sailors that storms are coming; farmers that the crops will be ruined; shepherds that they'll lose their flocks; birds that they'll have trouble flying; and cowboys and cows that they'll have strong winds to deal with.
This ill presage advisedly she marketh: Even as the wind is hush'd before it raineth, Or as the wolf doth grin before he barketh, Or as the berry breaks before it staineth, Or like the deadly bullet of a gun, His meaning struck her ere his words begun.
She took note of this bad omen. Like the way the wind blows before it rains; or the way a wolf grins before it barks; or the way a berry breaks before its juice leaks out; or the way a gun goes off before its deadly bullet strikes, she knew exactly what he was about to say even before he started.
And at his look she flatly falleth down, For looks kill love and love by looks reviveth; A smile recures the wounding of a frown; But blessed bankrupt, that by love so thriveth! The silly boy, believing she is dead, Claps her pale cheek, till clapping makes it red;
When she saw his face, she fell down flat. Looks can kill when you're in love; and loving looks are the only thing that can set you right again. A smile cancels out all the harm that a frown does. But even when you have nothing to go on, you're blessed to be so in love! Thinking she was dead, the silly boy slapped her pale cheek until he made it red again.
And all amazed brake off his late intent, For sharply he did think to reprehend her, Which cunning love did wittily prevent: Fair fall the wit that can so well defend her! For on the grass she lies as she were slain, Till his breath breatheth life in her again.
He stopped what he'd been saying. He had intended to reject her once and for all, but her clever trick prevented him from doing so. She was pretty smart to think of that! She lay there in the grass as if she were dead until his breath brought her to life again.
He wrings her nose, he strikes her on the cheeks, He bends her fingers, holds her pulses hard, He chafes her lips; a thousand ways he seeks To mend the hurt that his unkindness marr'd: He kisses her; and she, by her good will, Will never rise, so he will kiss her still.
He pinched her nose, slapped her cheeks, bent her fingers, felt her pulse, brushed her lips—he tried a thousand different things to undo how he'd hurt her. Then he kissed her. As far a she was concerned, she would never get up as long as he would keep on kissing her.
The night of sorrow now is turn'd to day: Her two blue windows faintly she up-heaveth, Like the fair sun, when in his fresh array He cheers the morn and all the earth relieveth; And as the bright sun glorifies the sky, So is her face illumined with her eye;
All her sadness went away; she was happy now. She opened her two blue eyes, shining at him like the sun when it rises in the early morning, waking the earth. Her face brightened when her eyes opened, just like when the sun illuminates the sky.
Whose beams upon his hairless face are fix'd, As if from thence they borrow'd all their shine. Were never four such lamps together mix'd, Had not his clouded with his brow's repine; But hers, which through the crystal tears gave light, Shone like the moon in water seen by night.
Her eyes were fixed on his hairless face as if they got all their energy from him. Four such exceptional eyes have never been in the same place at the same time before or since. His eyes were overshadowed by his frowning eyebrows, but her eyes shone through her tears like the moon reflected in water at night.
'O, where am I?' quoth she, 'in earth or heaven, Or in the ocean drench'd, or in the fire? What hour is this? or morn or weary even? Do I delight to die, or life desire? But now I lived, and life was death's annoy; But now I died, and death was lively joy.
"Where am I?" she said, "on earth, in heaven, drowning in the ocean, burning in fire? What time is it? Is it morning, or evening? Do I want to die, or live? Just a few seconds ago, I was alive and couldn't dream of dying, but then I died and I really enjoyed it.
'O, thou didst kill me: kill me once again: Thy eyes' shrewd tutor, that hard heart of thine, Hath taught them scornful tricks and such disdain That they have murder'd this poor heart of mine; And these mine eyes, true leaders to their queen, But for thy piteous lips no more had seen.
"Oh, you killed me! Kill me again. You're hard-hearted; you've been giving me rude, hateful, condescending looks. You've broken my poor heart. As for me—I can usually control myself. If I hadn't seen your luscious lips I wouldn't be in this mess.
'Long may they kiss each other, for this cure! O, never let their crimson liveries wear! And as they last, their verdure still endure, To drive infection from the dangerous year! That the star-gazers, having writ on death, May say, the plague is banish'd by thy breath.
"Kiss me again, and again—you're bringing me back to life! Never stop kissing me with your luscious red lips! As long as your fresh, young lips are around, the world will be free from disease all year round! Astronomers who foretold an epidemic will have to change their statements, saying the disease has been cured by your breath.
'Pure lips, sweet seals in my soft lips imprinted, What bargains may I make, still to be sealing? To sell myself I can be well contented, So thou wilt buy and pay and use good dealing; Which purchase if thou make, for fear of slips Set thy seal-manual on my wax-red lips.
"How can I keep the sweet, soft seal of your lips pressing against mine forever? What deal do I have to make with you? I'd be happy to sell my soul—as long as you'd buy it and treat it nicely. If you buy my soul, you'll have to mark me as yours by setting the seal of your lips on mine.
'A thousand kisses buys my heart from me; And pay them at thy leisure, one by one. What is ten hundred touches unto thee? Are they not quickly told and quickly gone? Say, for non-payment that the debt should double, Is twenty hundred kisses such a trouble?'
"You can buy my heart for a thousand kisses. You can pay at your leisure, one by one. What would a thousand kisses cost you? They're over and done with quickly. And, if you didn't pay me and your debt doubled, would two thousand kisses really be so much trouble?"
'Fair queen,' quoth he, 'if any love you owe me, Measure my strangeness with my unripe years: Before I know myself, seek not to know me; No fisher but the ungrown fry forbears: The mellow plum doth fall, the green sticks fast, Or being early pluck'd is sour to taste.
"Beautiful queen" he said, "if you really love me, you'll have to understand that I'm shy because I'm young. Don't try to have sex with me before I'm a man. Fishermen don't reel in minnows. Unripe, green plums are sour-tasting when they're picked too early.
'Look, the world's comforter, with weary gait, His day's hot task hath ended in the west; The owl, night's herald, shrieks, ''Tis very late;' The sheep are gone to fold, birds to their nest, And coal-black clouds that shadow heaven's light Do summon us to part and bid good night.
"Look, the sun is slowly setting in the west. You can tell it's nighttime because the owl is hooting, 'it's very late!' The sheep have gone back to their pasture; the birds are asleep in their nests. The sky is growing dark. It's time to go our separate ways and say good night.
'Now let me say 'Good night,' and so say you; If you will say so, you shall have a kiss.' 'Good night,' quoth she, and, ere he says 'Adieu,' The honey fee of parting tender'd is: Her arms do lend his neck a sweet embrace; Incorporate then they seem; face grows to face.
"Now I'll say 'good night,' and then you. If you say it, I'll give you a kiss." "Good night," she said. Before he said "goodbye," he kissed her sweetly. She threw her arms around his neck. They seemed to become one person, their faces pressed together.
Till, breathless, he disjoin'd, and backward drew The heavenly moisture, that sweet coral mouth, Whose precious taste her thirsty lips well knew, Whereon they surfeit, yet complain on drouth: He with her plenty press'd, she faint with dearth Their lips together glued, fall to the earth.
Breathless, he pulled back and drew his sweet, moist, pink mouth away—robbing her thirsty lips of their precious taste. Even when she was kissing him, she complained she wasn't getting enough. When he gave her what she wanted, she pulled him to the ground, wanting more.
Now quick desire hath caught the yielding prey, And glutton-like she feeds, yet never filleth; Her lips are conquerors, his lips obey, Paying what ransom the insulter willeth; Whose vulture thought doth pitch the price so high, That she will draw his lips' rich treasure dry:
Now she had her desired prey within her clutches. She kissed him again and again, like a hungry person who's never full. Her lips were conquerors; his lips obeyed, giving her whatever she demanded. She set the price (in kisses) so high that she was bound to rob his lips of all they could give.
And having felt the sweetness of the spoil, With blindfold fury she begins to forage; Her face doth reek and smoke, her blood doth boil, And careless lust stirs up a desperate courage, Planting oblivion, beating reason back, Forgetting shame's pure blush and honour's wrack.
Having glimpsed the treasure he had to offer, she furiously began to look for more. Her face grew hot, her blood boiled, and her strong desire made her bold. She forgot herself. She pushed her better judgment aside, forgetting his innocence and the importance of preserving reputation.
Hot, faint, and weary, with her hard embracing, Like a wild bird being tamed with too much handling, Or as the fleet-foot roe that's tired with chasing, Or like the froward infant still'd with dandling, He now obeys, and now no more resisteth, While she takes all she can, not all she listeth.
He was hot, weak, and tired from her aggressive fondling. He was like a wild bird tamed by a keeper; or a speedy deer that gets tired of being chased; or a whining baby that quiets down after being rocked. Now he obeyed her. He didn't resist anymore. She took everything she could, but not everything she wanted.
What wax so frozen but dissolves with tempering, And yields at last to every light impression? Things out of hope are compass'd oft with venturing, Chiefly in love, whose leave exceeds commission: Affection faints not like a pale-faced coward, But then woos best when most his choice is froward.
Even frozen wax becomes soft when you melt it, and retains the shape of every object you press into it. We often try to achieve things that are impossible to get, especially in love. When we're in love, we aren't afraid to go the extra mile. We work the hardest for love when our lover plays hard to get.
When he did frown, O, had she then gave over, Such nectar from his lips she had not suck'd. Foul words and frowns must not repel a lover; What though the rose have prickles, yet 'tis pluck'd: Were beauty under twenty locks kept fast, Yet love breaks through and picks them all at last.
Even when he frowned, she kept going—she'd already tasted the sweetness of his lips and couldn't stop. Angry words and frowns can't stop a lover. We still pick roses even though they have thorns; in the same way, a lover pushes through all the obstacles that keep him from enjoying his beautiful lover.
For pity now she can no more detain him; The poor fool prays her that he may depart: She is resolved no longer to restrain him; Bids him farewell, and look well to her heart, The which, by Cupid's bow she doth protest, He carries thence incaged in his breast.
She felt bad for him and didn't want to keep him any longer. The poor boy begged her to let him leave, and she decided not to hold him down anymore. She said goodbye, and asked him to be careful with her heart, which she swore he carried with him wherever he went.
'Sweet boy,' she says, 'this night I'll waste in sorrow, For my sick heart commands mine eyes to watch. Tell me, Love's master, shall we meet to-morrow? Say, shall we? shall we? wilt thou make the match?' He tells her, no; to-morrow he intends To hunt the boar with certain of his friends.
"Sweet boy," she said, "tonight I'll be overcome with grief—I'm lovesick over you. My darling, tell me: what time should we meet up tomorrow? Can we? Will you meet me?" He told her he couldn't because he already had plans to hunt boars with some of his friends.
'The boar!' quoth she; whereat a sudden pale, Like lawn being spread upon the blushing rose, Usurps her cheek; she trembles at his tale, And on his neck her yoking arms she throws: She sinketh down, still hanging by his neck, He on her belly falls, she on her back.
"Hunting!" she said, her cheeks suddenly getting as pale as white cotton fabric being thrown over a rose. She trembled at his words and threw her arms around his neck. She sank down, still hanging onto his neck. She fell on her back, and he fell on her stomach.
Now is she in the very lists of love, Her champion mounted for the hot encounter: All is imaginary she doth prove, He will not manage her, although he mount her; That worse than Tantalus' is her annoy, To clip Elysium and to lack her joy.
She finally had him where she wanted, mounted on top of her and ready to get hot and heavy. But she could only play it out in her mind: he wouldn't make love to her, even though he was on top of her. She was being tortured—what she wanted was right there, but she couldn't get it.
Even as poor birds, deceived with painted grapes, Do surfeit by the eye and pine the maw, Even so she languisheth in her mishaps, As those poor birds that helpless berries saw. The warm effects which she in him finds missing She seeks to kindle with continual kissing.
She was overcome with how much she wanted him, like a poor bird that thinks fake grapes are real and, seeing what looks like food, starves to death. She tried to get him aroused by kissing him over and over.
But all in vain; good queen, it will not be: She hath assay'd as much as may be proved; Her pleading hath deserved a greater fee; She's Love, she loves, and yet she is not loved. 'Fie, fie,' he says, 'you crush me; let me go; You have no reason to withhold me so.'
But it was all in vain; for the poor goddess it was not meant to be. She had tried as much as she could. She should have had better luck with him. She was the goddess of love, she was in love with him, and yet he didn't love her back. "Shame on you," he said, "you're crushing me! Let me go. There's no reason for you to hold me like this."
'Thou hadst been gone,' quoth she, 'sweet boy, ere this, But that thou told'st me thou wouldst hunt the boar. O, be advised! thou know'st not what it is With javelin's point a churlish swine to gore, Whose tushes never sheathed he whetteth still, Like to a mortal butcher bent to kill.
"I would have let you leave already, sweet boy," she said, "except that you told me you had to go hunting tomorrow. Oh, be careful! You don't know how awful and dangerous it is to stab a boar with a spear. Even after you stab him, he'll keep swinging his tusks, like an angry butcher on a mission to kill.
'On his bow-back he hath a battle set Of bristly pikes, that ever threat his foes; His eyes, like glow-worms, shine when he doth fret; His snout digs sepulchres where'er he goes; Being moved, he strikes whate'er is in his way, And whom he strikes his cruel tushes slay.
"His curved back is full of bristly hairs that are dangerous, too. His eyes shine like fireflies when he's angry. He digs deep holes with his snout wherever he goes. When he's riled up, he'll knock down anything in his way. He kills anything he touches with his tusks.
'His brawny sides, with hairy bristles arm'd, Are better proof than thy spear's point can enter; His short thick neck cannot be easily harm'd; Being ireful, on the lion he will venture: The thorny brambles and embracing bushes, As fearful of him, part, through whom he rushes.
"His thick flanks are covered in hairy bristles, too, which repel the point of a spear so that you can't wound him. It's difficult to cut his short, thick neck. When he's angry, he'll even fight a lion. Even the thorns, brambles, and thick bushes are afraid of him as he runs and crashes through them.
'Alas, he nought esteems that face of thine, To which Love's eyes pay tributary gazes; Nor thy soft hands, sweet lips and crystal eyne, Whose full perfection all the world amazes; But having thee at vantage,—wondrous dread!— Would root these beauties as he roots the mead.
"He doesn't care at all about your pretty face, or about how much I love you. He doesn't care about your soft hands, sweet lips, and sparkling eyes. He doesn't care that you're the most perfect boy in the entire world. Once he sets his sight on you, watch out! He'll destroy your beautiful body as easily as he tramples over the dirt.
'O, let him keep his loathsome cabin still; Beauty hath nought to do with such foul fiends: Come not within his danger by thy will; They that thrive well take counsel of their friends. When thou didst name the boar, not to dissemble, I fear'd thy fortune, and my joints did tremble.
"Oh, leave him alone in the forest. A beautiful boy like you shouldn't have anything to do with such disgusting creatures. Don't put yourself in danger on purpose; you'd do well to take my advice. No joke—when I heard you say 'boar,' I was afraid for you, and I started shaking.
'Didst thou not mark my face? was it not white? Saw'st thou not signs of fear lurk in mine eye? Grew I not faint? and fell I not downright? Within my bosom, whereon thou dost lie, My boding heart pants, beats, and takes no rest, But, like an earthquake, shakes thee on my breast.
"Didn't you see my face? Wasn't it white? Didn't you see the fear in my eyes? Didn't I faint? Didn't I fall down? My heart is pounding in my chest—you can feel it. It won't stop. It's shaking you like an earthquake as you lay there on top of it.
' For where Love reigns, disturbing Jealousy Doth call himself Affection's sentinel; Gives false alarms, suggesteth mutiny, And in a peaceful hour doth cry 'Kill, kill!' Distempering gentle Love in his desire, As air and water do abate the fire.
"When we're in love, we get jealous easily. Jealousy makes us quick to panic, even when it's a false alarm. Even in low-stakes situations, our jealous hearts can make us go immediately to thinking, 'kill, kill!' Jealousy offsets the desires of love in the same way that air and water put out fire.
'This sour informer, this bate-breeding spy, This canker that eats up Love's tender spring, This carry-tale, dissentious Jealousy, That sometime true news, sometime false doth bring, Knocks at my heat and whispers in mine ear That if I love thee, I thy death should fear:
"Jealousy is a tattle-tale, a double-crossing spy, a worm that eats up love when it's just blossomed. Jealousy gossips and causes conflict, sometimes bringing true news and sometimes fake news. Jealousy is what's making my heart pound. It's whispering in my ear telling me that, if I love you, I should be afraid of your death.
'And more than so, presenteth to mine eye The picture of an angry-chafing boar, Under whose sharp fangs on his back doth lie An image like thyself, all stain'd with gore; Whose blood upon the fresh flowers being shed Doth make them droop with grief and hang the head.
"Because I'm so jealous for you, I can see an angry, charging boar in my mind's eye. I can imagine that, underneath his sharp fangs, you're lying on your back, stained with blood. Your blood is falling onto the fresh flowers underneath, making them droop and hang their heads with grief.
'What should I do, seeing thee so indeed, That tremble at the imagination? The thought of it doth make my faint heart bleed, And fear doth teach it divination: I prophesy thy death, my living sorrow, If thou encounter with the boar to-morrow.
"What am I supposed to do when I see you that way? My own imagination is making me tremble. The thought of it is making my heart weak. Fear is making me see the future. If you hunt the boar tomorrow, I prophesy that you will die and that I will live, grieving for you.
'But if thou needs wilt hunt, be ruled by me; Uncouple at the timorous flying hare, Or at the fox which lives by subtlety, Or at the roe which no encounter dare: Pursue these fearful creatures o'er the downs, And on thy well-breath'd horse keep with thy hounds.
"If you have to go hunting, then do as I say: hunt skittish, scurrying rabbits, or sneaky foxes, or elusive deer. Pursue any of these easily-hunted animals, and stay put on your sturdy horse while your dogs do the work.
'And when thou hast on foot the purblind hare, Mark the poor wretch, to overshoot his troubles How he outruns the wind and with what care He cranks and crosses with a thousand doubles: The many musets through the which he goes Are like a labyrinth to amaze his foes.
"And when you're chasing a practically blind rabbit, watch how the poor thing works as hard as he can to outrun you, and how he criss-crosses and doubles back, squeezing through gaps in fences to confuse you and tire you out.
'Sometime he runs among a flock of sheep, To make the cunning hounds mistake their smell, And sometime where earth-delving conies keep, To stop the loud pursuers in their yell, And sometime sorteth with a herd of deer: Danger deviseth shifts; wit waits on fear:
"He'll run through a flock of sheep to make the dogs lose the scent. Then he'll burrow down underground where the moles are, so that the dogs can't follow him. Then he'll hide with a herd of deer. Necessity is the mother of invention; danger forces us to be clever.
'For there his smell with others being mingled, The hot scent-snuffing hounds are driven to doubt, Ceasing their clamorous cry till they have singled With much ado the cold fault cleanly out; Then do they spend their mouths: Echo replies, As if another chase were in the skies.
"You see, when his scent mingles with other scents, the sniffing dogs aren't able to follow him anymore. They stop barking until they can find the trail again—then they sound the alarm. Their barks echo, as if a second hunt were going on up in the sky.
'By this, poor Wat, far off upon a hill, Stands on his hinder legs with listening ear, To harken if his foes pursue him still: Anon their loud alarums he doth hear; And now his grief may be compared well To one sore sick that hears the passing-bell.
"The poor rabbit, far away on a hill, hears the barks. He stands up on his hind legs, straining his ears and trying to figure out if his enemies are still pursuing him. When he hears their loud alarms, he's as depressed as a sick man who hears the ringing of the death knell.
'Then shalt thou see the dew-bedabbled wretch Turn, and return, indenting with the way; Each envious brier his weary legs doth scratch, Each shadow makes him stop, each murmur stay: For misery is trodden on by many, And being low never relieved by any.
"Then you'll see the rabbit covered in dew going back and forth, mixing up his trail. The briars scratch his tired legs. He's afraid of every shadow and every sound. For you see, the miserable are victimized by many others, and the lowest of the low never receive help from anyone.
'Lie quietly, and hear a little more; Nay, do not struggle, for thou shalt not rise: To make thee hate the hunting of the boar, Unlike myself thou hear'st me moralize, Applying this to that, and so to so; For love can comment upon every woe.
"Lie quietly and listen to a little more. No, don't fight me! Then I'll never let you up. It's unlike me to lecture like this, but I'm trying to convince you not to go hunting for boars. I'm putting this speech together because I'm in love with you and have a vested interest.
'Where did I leave?' 'No matter where,' quoth he, 'Leave me, and then the story aptly ends: The night is spent.' 'Why, what of that?' quoth she. 'I am,' quoth he, 'expected of my friends; And now 'tis dark, and going I shall fall.' 'In night,' quoth she, 'desire sees best of all
"Where was I?" "It doesn't matter," he said, "let me go. End your story there. The night is over." "What does that matter?" she said. "My friends are expecting me," he said, "and it's getting dark. I need to go, even if I am going to die the way you say." She replied, "The best sex happens in the dark...
'But if thou fall, O, then imagine this, The earth, in love with thee, thy footing trips, And all is but to rob thee of a kiss. Rich preys make true men thieves; so do thy lips Make modest Dian cloudy and forlorn, Lest she should steal a kiss and die forsworn.
"...but if you are injured in the hunt, then imagine this: the earth is in love with you, so it trips you to try and get you to kiss it. The promise of riches will make even an honest man a thief. In the same way, your lips would make a modest virgin fall in love with you to the point where she'd die just to get a single kiss from you.
'Now of this dark night I perceive the reason: Cynthia for shame obscures her silver shine, Till forging Nature be condemn'd of treason, For stealing moulds from heaven that were divine; Wherein she framed thee in high heaven's despite, To shame the sun by day and her by night.
"Now I can see why this night is so dark. The moon is covering her silvery face because she's embarrassed that you're more beautiful than she is. Mother Nature should be condemned for treason for making you so beautiful as to put the moon and the sun to shame.
'And therefore hath she bribed the Destinies To cross the curious workmanship of nature, To mingle beauty with infirmities, And pure perfection with impure defeature, Making it subject to the tyranny Of mad mischances and much misery;
"You see, the moon has bribed the Fates to work against Mother Nature. That way, beauty eventually succumbs to ugliness, and pure perfection is always mixed with deformity. For that reason, the most beautiful people are subject to oppression, bad luck, and misery.
'As burning fevers, agues pale and faint, Life-poisoning pestilence and frenzies wood, The marrow-eating sickness, whose attaint Disorder breeds by heating of the blood: Surfeits, imposthumes, grief, and damn'd despair, Swear nature's death for framing thee so fair.
"They suffer from burning fevers, shivers, poisonous insect bites, mental illness, bone cancer, blood disease, swelling, tumors, grief, and damned despair. These are the curses that counteract the fact that Mother Nature made you beautiful.
'And not the least of all these maladies But in one minute's fight brings beauty under: Both favour, savour, hue and qualities, Whereat the impartial gazer late did wonder, Are on the sudden wasted, thaw'd and done, As mountain-snow melts with the midday sun.
"Any one of these diseases would ruin someone's beauty instantly. Good looks, forms, colors, and qualities that might have impressed you one minute are gone the next. They're erased, vanishing as fast as mountain snow that melts in the midday sun.
'Therefore, despite of fruitless chastity, Love-lacking vestals and self-loving nuns, That on the earth would breed a scarcity And barren dearth of daughters and of sons, Be prodigal: the lamp that burns by night Dries up his oil to lend the world his light.
"So you see, nuns and virgins that take a vow of chastity are being wasteful. They're depriving the earth of daughters and sons that might have been born—they're wasting their fertility. When a lamp burns at night, it uses up its oil to provide light.
'What is thy body but a swallowing grave , Seeming to bury that posterity Which by the rights of time thou needs must have, If thou destroy them not in dark obscurity? If so, the world will hold thee in disdain, Sith in thy pride so fair a hope is slain.
"Your body is just a wide-open grave, burying the children which you're bound to have in due time. Why would you prevent your children from being born? If you did, the world would hate you. You would have withheld a blessing from the world on account of your pride.
'So in thyself thyself art made away; A mischief worse than civil home-bred strife, Or theirs whose desperate hands themselves do slay, Or butcher-sire that reaves his son of life. Foul-cankering rust the hidden treasure frets, But gold that's put to use more gold begets.'
"By preventing your future children from being born, you'd be annihilating yourself—it's a worse crime than civil war, or suicide, or a man who kills his own son. Rust eats away at precious metals, but gold that's invested produces more gold after a while."
'Nay, then,' quoth Adon, 'you will fall again Into your idle over-handled theme: The kiss I gave you is bestow'd in vain, And all in vain you strive against the stream; For, by this black-faced night, desire's foul nurse, Your treatise makes me like you worse and worse.
"Oh, stop," said Adonis, "you're just saying the same thing over and over again. It was pointless for me to kiss you, and it's pointless for you to fight this uphill battle. The way you're going on in the dark of night and trying to convince me to have sex with you is making me like you less and less.
'If love have lent you twenty thousand tongues, And every tongue more moving than your own, Bewitching like the wanton mermaid's songs, Yet from mine ear the tempting tune is blown For know, my heart stands armed in mine ear, And will not let a false sound enter there;
"If you had twenty thousand tongues and each of them talked even more convincingly than you do—and if each of them was as bewitching as a mermaid song—I still wouldn't listen. You have to understand that I'm not interested—nothing you can say is going to change my heart.
'Lest the deceiving harmony should run Into the quiet closure of my breast; And then my little heart were quite undone, In his bedchamber to be barr'd of rest. No, lady, no; my heart longs not to groan, But soundly sleeps, while now it sleeps alone.
"I wouldn't let a single one of your words disturb the quiet of my hard heart. Otherwise, my little heart would have no peace; he wouldn't be able to sleep in his own bed, that is, my chest. No ma'am, my heart's not interested in love. It prefers to sleep—and sleep alone.
'What have you urged that I cannot reprove? The path is smooth that leadeth on to danger: I hate not love, but your device in love, That lends embracements unto every stranger. You do it for increase: O strange excuse, When reason is the bawd to lust's abuse!
"I've pushed back against everything you've asked. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. I don't hate love, I just hate the way you're going about it. I hate the way you're willing to sleep with any random stranger. You say you're doing it for posterity, but that's a strange excuse to justify your own lust!
'Call it not love, for Love to heaven is fled, Since sweating Lust on earth usurp'd his name; Under whose simple semblance he hath fed Upon fresh beauty, blotting it with blame; Which the hot tyrant stains and soon bereaves, As caterpillars do the tender leaves.
"Don't call it 'love.' Love is a higher thing than the bodily lust you've shown me today. It's easy to call it 'love' when you just want to taste my fresh beauty and soil my reputation. You're happy to have sex and then leave me behind, like a leaf that's been munched by caterpillars.
'Love comforteth like sunshine after rain, But Lust's effect is tempest after sun; Love's gentle spring doth always fresh remain, Lust's winter comes ere summer half be done; Love surfeits not, Lust like a glutton dies; Love is all truth, Lust full of forged lies.
"Love is soothing, like sunshine after a rainstorm. But lust is the opposite—it's like a storm after the sun. Love is fresh and gentle like the spring; lust gets old quickly, like an early winter. You can never have too much love; lust is always excessive. Love is pure truth; lust is built on lies.
'More I could tell, but more I dare not say; The text is old, the orator too green. Therefore, in sadness, now I will away; My face is full of shame, my heart of teen: Mine ears, that to your wanton talk attended, Do burn themselves for having so offended.'
"I could say more, but I won't. It's an old story and I'm too young to tell it. I'll leave now. As you can tell by my face, I'm sad and ashamed, and my heart hurts. My ears are burning from all the offensive things you've said to me today."
With this, he breaketh from the sweet embrace, Of those fair arms which bound him to her breast, And homeward through the dark laund runs apace; Leaves Love upon her back deeply distress'd. Look, how a bright star shooteth from the sky, So glides he in the night from Venus' eye.
With that, he broke free of her arms, which had held him pinned to her chest. He ran homeward through the darkness, leaving Venus lying there, deeply distressed. He glided away from Venus in the night like a shooting star, streaking across the sky.
Which after him she darts, as one on shore Gazing upon a late-embarked friend, Till the wild waves will have him seen no more, Whose ridges with the meeting clouds contend: So did the merciless and pitchy night Fold in the object that did feed her sight.
She watched him go the way someone standing onshore watches a friend depart on a ship—keeping sight of him until the waves swallow him up, and the ship disappears on the horizon. So, too, did the merciless darkness of the night make it hard for her to see Adonis.
Whereat amazed, as one that unaware Hath dropp'd a precious jewel in the flood, Or stonish'd as night-wanderers often are, Their light blown out in some mistrustful wood, Even so confounded in the dark she lay, Having lost the fair discovery of her way.
She was stunned, like someone who accidentally dropped a precious jewel in the water; or like a sleepwalker suddenly woken up in the woods, their candle blown out in the darkness. She was lying there, confused, and didn't know which way to go.
And now she beats her heart, whereat it groans, That all the neighbour caves, as seeming troubled, Make verbal repetition of her moans; Passion on passion deeply is redoubled: 'Ay me!' she cries, and twenty times 'Woe, woe!' And twenty echoes twenty times cry so.
She pounded on her chest and groaned—the sound echoing for miles around as if the whole world were as upset as she was. Her passion was doubled as the echo repeated it. "Poor me!" she cried. She said, "the tragedy, the tragedy" twenty times, and then twenty echoes followed.
She marking them begins a wailing note And sings extemporally a woeful ditty; How love makes young men thrall and old men dote; How love is wise in folly, foolish-witty: Her heavy anthem still concludes in woe, And still the choir of echoes answer so.
Noticing the echoes, she wailed and then started to sing an improvised, sad tune. She sang about how love holds young men captive and makes old men silly; she sang about how love is blind and foolish. She concluded her heavy song sadly, the choir of echoes continuing on.
Her song was tedious and outwore the night, For lovers' hours are long, though seeming short: If pleased themselves, others, they think, delight In such-like circumstance, with suchlike sport: Their copious stories oftentimes begun End without audience and are never done.
Her song was long; it went on all night. Lovers lose track of time and don't realize how quickly the hours go by. Lovers assume that other people will be delighted by their own happiness, so they tend to tell long, boring stories that are never done—and no one listens.
For who hath she to spend the night withal But idle sounds resembling parasites, Like shrill-tongued tapsters answering every call, Soothing the humour of fantastic wits? She says ''Tis so:' they answer all ''Tis so;' And would say after her, if she said 'No.'
The annoying sound of the echoes was her only company that night, shouting back to her like a bartender shouting down a rowdy group of customers. Whether she said, "that's the way it is," or "no, it isn't," the echoes would repeat it.
Lo, here the gentle lark, weary of rest, From his moist cabinet mounts up on high, And wakes the morning, from whose silver breast The sun ariseth in his majesty; Who doth the world so gloriously behold That cedar-tops and hills seem burnish'd gold.
A little bird who was tired of sleeping scurried out of his nest, which was damp with dew, and chirped to announce that morning had come. The sun rose in its majesty, making the whole world—the treetops, the hills—look as if they were made of gold.
Venus salutes him with this fair good-morrow: 'O thou clear god, and patron of all light, From whom each lamp and shining star doth borrow The beauteous influence that makes him bright, There lives a son that suck'd an earthly mother, May lend thee light, as thou dost lend to other.'
Venus saluted the sun-god and said good morning, continuing, "you bright god, you're the god of all light. Every candle and shining star has you to thank for the beautiful light that makes them bright. And yet, there's a man on earth who's brighter than you, if you can believe it!"
This said, she hasteth to a myrtle grove, Musing the morning is so much o'erworn, And yet she hears no tidings of her love: She hearkens for his hounds and for his horn: Anon she hears them chant it lustily, And all in haste she coasteth to the cry.
Having said that, she ran over to a group of myrtle trees, thinking how late in the morning it was getting. And yet, she couldn't hear Adonis coming. She listened to see if she could hear his dogs or his hunting horn. Suddenly, she heard the loud trumpet and went as quickly as she could toward the sound.
And as she runs, the bushes in the way Some catch her by the neck, some kiss her face, Some twine about her thigh to make her stay: She wildly breaketh from their strict embrace, Like a milch doe, whose swelling dugs do ache, Hasting to feed her fawn hid in some brake.
As she ran, the bushes on the way grazed her neck, slashed at her face, and wrapped around her legs to try and stop her. She wildly broke free of them, like a deer whose teats are full of milk, running away to feed her fawn, hidden in the grass.
By this, she hears the hounds are at a bay; Whereat she starts, like one that spies an adder Wreathed up in fatal folds just in his way, The fear whereof doth make him shake and shudder; Even so the timorous yelping of the hounds Appals her senses and her spirit confounds.
And then she heard the dogs coming closer. She was startled, like someone who spots a snake curled up in the grass and shakes and shudders in fear. The dogs' barking frightened her, overcoming her senses and rendering her motionless.
For now she knows it is no gentle chase, But the blunt boar, rough bear, or lion proud, Because the cry remaineth in one place, Where fearfully the dogs exclaim aloud: Finding their enemy to be so curst, They all strain courtesy who shall cope him first.
She then realized Adonis wasn't hunting something small; it was a strong boar, a rough bear, or a proud lion. She could tell because the shouts were coming from one place, as were the dogs' scared barks. Knowing they had cornered their enemy, all of them fought to see who could kill him first.
This dismal cry rings sadly in her ear, Through which it enters to surprise her heart; Who, overcome by doubt and bloodless fear, With cold-pale weakness numbs each feeling part: Like soldiers, when their captain once doth yield, They basely fly and dare not stay the field.
The dogs' ominous barks rang in her ears and troubled her heart. Overcome by doubt and fear, each part of Venus' body started to go weak and numb; she couldn't feel anything. Her body parts were like cowardly soldiers that run away from the battlefield as soon as their captain surrenders.
Thus stands she in a trembling ecstasy; Till, cheering up her senses all dismay'd, She tells them 'tis a causeless fantasy, And childish error, that they are afraid; Bids them leave quaking, bids them fear no more:— And with that word she spied the hunted boar,
She stood there trembling and out of her mind. But then she told herself she was being childish; that it was just her imagination; and that her senses were mistaken on account of her being afraid. She told her body to stop shaking and to not be afraid. And just then she spotted the hunted boar...
Whose frothy mouth, bepainted all with red, Like milk and blood being mingled both together, A second fear through all her sinews spread, Which madly hurries her she knows not whither: This way runs, and now she will no further, But back retires to rate the boar for murther.
...his mouth foaming, blood spilling out of it, mixing red and white together. A second, terrified thought coursed through her entire body. She ran crazily; she didn't know where. She ran one way and then, when she couldn't go any further, went back again to charge the boar with murder.
A thousand spleens bear her a thousand ways; She treads the path that she untreads again; Her more than haste is mated with delays, Like the proceedings of a drunken brain, Full of respects, yet nought at all respecting; In hand with all things, nought at all effecting.
She wanted to go every direction at once. She went down one path and then back again; she hurried, and then she lagged. She moved like a drunk person's brain, which thinks a hundred different thoughts but doesn't think through any one of them entirely; or that talks about acting but never makes a move.
Here kennell'd in a brake she finds a hound, And asks the weary caitiff for his master, And there another licking of his wound, 'Gainst venom'd sores the only sovereign plaster; And here she meets another sadly scowling, To whom she speaks, and he replies with howling.
She found a dog hiding in the bushes and asked the poor thing where his master was. He licked his wound, the only way a dog knows how to heal a poisoned cut. Then she saw another dog scowling sadly. She spoke to him and he replied by howling.
When he hath ceased his ill-resounding noise, Another flap-mouth'd mourner, black and grim, Against the welkin volleys out his voice; Another and another answer him, Clapping their proud tails to the ground below, Shaking their scratch'd ears, bleeding as they go.
When he had stopped making that horrible racket, a black, serious dog with a flappy mouth howled up to the sky. Another dog, and then another, answered him. They beat their tails on the ground and shook their scratched ears, bleeding the whole time.
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.
Poor people all over the world are impressed by omens, signs, and superstitions. They love to talk about them and believe they're significant, as if they can tell the future. In the same way, Venus looked at all these sad signs and breathed in deeply. Breathing out again, she shouted out, cursing Death.
'Hard-favour'd tyrant, ugly, meagre, lean, Hateful divorce of love,'—thus chides she Death,— 'Grim-grinning ghost, earth's worm, what dost thou mean 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?
She said to Death, "you misshapen, ugly, tiny, thin, hateful opposite of love. You skeletal ghost, you earthworm, what are doing? Why would you put an end to his beauty? Why would you stop him from breathing? When he was alive, his breath and his beauty could make a rose look prettier and a violet smell better.
'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.
"If he is dead—oh, no, it can't be! You couldn't have killed him, once you knew how beautiful he was! And yet, it can be, can't it? You have no eyes to see; you hatefully hit people at random. You aim for sick, old people, but sometimes you miss and kill a baby instead.
'Hadst thou but bid beware, then he had spoke, And, hearing him, thy power had lost his 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 dead.
"If you had only just given him a warning, then he would have talked back to you and you would have stopped in your tracks. The Fates will curse you for killing him. They told you to kill an old person, but you killed a young one. He should be falling in love at his age, not falling down dead!
'Dost thou drink tears, that thou provokest such weeping? 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 vigour, Since her best work is ruin'd with thy rigour.'
"Do you feed off of tears? Is that why you're making me cry so much? What do you want with a heavy groan? Why would you close his eyes forever, considering his eyes taught all other eyes how to see? There's nothing left for Mother Nature to be proud of in this world, now that you've shot down her best work."
Here overcome, as one full of despair, She vail'd her eyelids, who, like sluices, stopt The crystal tide that from her two cheeks fair In the sweet channel of her bosom dropt; But through the flood-gates breaks the silver rain, And with his strong course opens them again.
She was overwhelmed by despair at this point. She closed her eyes; her eyelids worked like a dam, stopping the tide of her tears from reaching her two, fair cheeks, and from dripping onto her breasts. But then the tears broke through the flood-gates, and she was forced to open 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 view'd each other's sorrow, Sorrow that friendly sighs sought still to dry; But like a stormy day, now wind, now rain, Sighs dry her cheeks, tears make them wet again.
Her eyes and her tears were indistinguishable! Her eyes were filled with tears and tears were in her eyes. Her eyes and her tears were both like mirrors reflecting their sadness back at each other—a sadness that no amount of sighs could exhaust. It was like a stormy day: first wind, then rain. First tears made her cheeks wet, then sighs dried them again.
Variable passions throng her constant woe, As striving who should best become her grief; All entertain'd, each passion labours so, That every present sorrow seemeth chief, But none is best: then join they all together, Like many clouds consulting for foul weather.
She felt many different kinds of grief at that moment, as if she weren't sure what to feel or how to express it. Each kind of sadness felt the most pressing when she felt it, but no single one fully dominated. All her sadnesses joined together, then, like dark clouds overhead that make for bad weather.
By this, far off she hears some huntsman hollo; A nurse's song ne'er pleased her babe so well: The dire imagination she did follow This sound of hope doth labour to expel; For now reviving joy bids her rejoice, And flatters her it is Adonis' voice.
Then she heard a hunter shouting from far away. She had never been so happy to hear something in her life. The sound made her hopeful again, expelling her darkest imaginings. She was overjoyed now, thinking she'd heard Adonis' voice.
Whereat her tears began to turn their tide, Being prison'd 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 drown'd.
Her tears stopped falling. They were trapped in her eyes like pearls suspended in glass. One tear trailed down her left cheek, where it disappeared on her flushed, red skin—as if her skin couldn't bear to allow the tears to the pass all the way down her face to make it wet all over.
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 makes thee ridiculous: The one doth flatter thee in thoughts unlikely, In likely thoughts the other kills thee quickly.
Poor Venus, she couldn't believe he was dead, and yet she completely believed it! Her greatest hope and her greatest fear were two extremes. Her quick jumps from despair to hope made her ridiculous—the one thought made her happy (though it was unlikely he was alive), and the other, more probable thought nearly killed her.
Now she unweaves the web that she hath wrought; Adonis lives, and Death is not to blame; It was not she that call'd him, all-to naught: Now she adds honours to his hateful name; She clepes him king of graves and grave for kings, Imperious supreme of all mortal things.
She convinced herself that she was wrong—that Adonis was alive and that Death was not to blame. She had no reason to call on Death; it was pointless. Then she praised Death's hateful name, calling him the king of graves and the grave for kings, the god who ruled over all mortal things.
'No, no,' quoth she, 'sweet Death, I did but jest; Yet pardon me I felt a kind of fear When as I met the boar, that bloody beast, Which knows no pity, but is still severe; Then, gentle shadow,—truth I must confess,— I rail'd on thee, fearing my love's decease.
"No, no," she said, "dear Death, I was only joking! Forgive me, I was afraid when I saw the boar—that violent, pitiless, aggressive animal. So, sweet ghost, I have to admit that I criticized you because I was afraid my love was dead.
''Tis not my fault: the boar provoked my tongue; Be wreak'd 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.'
"It's not my fault. The boar made me talk that way. Punish the boar, Death. That disgusting creature is the one that's done you wrong. I only reacted; he's the cause of my criticism. People can't control what they say when they're grieving. No woman in the history of the world could control her tongue when she was in mourning, even if she had the willpower of ten women put together."
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.
Still hoping that Adonis was alive, she continued flattering Death. She begged Death to let the beautiful boy live. She complimented Death on his trophies, statues, tombs, and all the stories of his victories, 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.
"Goodness," she said, "I was such an idiot—and so weak-minded—to mourn the death of someone who was alive and who will never die until the end of mankind! For you see, if he's dead, then that's the end of beauty. And without beauty, the universe will descend back into chaos.
'Fie, fie, fond love, thou art so full of fear As one with treasure laden, hemm'd 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.
"Shame on my foolish heart. I'm as afraid as a person carrying treasure who's being followed by thieves. The tiniest sight or sound sets my cowardly heart thinking all kinds of things that aren't true." As she said that, she heard a hunting horn. She jumped into the air, even though she was downcast only a moment ago.
As falcon to the lure, away she flies; The grass stoops not, she treads on it so light; And in her haste unfortunately spies The foul boar's conquest on her fair delight; Which seen, her eyes, as murder'd with the view, Like stars ashamed of day, themselves withdrew;
She flew away like a falcon following its prey. She ran so quickly that she didn't even trample the grass. As she ran, sadly she saw what the evil boar had done to her beloved boy. When she saw him, her eyes were murdered by the sight. She closed her eyes, like stars dimming when day dawns...
Or, as the snail, whose tender horns being hit, Shrinks backward in his shelly cave with pain, And there, all smother'd 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:
...or like a snail that shrinks back into his cave of a shell when you touch his eye stalks—fleeing the pain—and stays there all hidden away in the darkness, even after he's stopped being afraid to creep forward again. Like the snail, when Venus saw Adonis lying there, bloody, her eyes flew back into the dark recesses of her skull.
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 perplexed in his throne, By their suggestion gives a deadly groan,
There, her eyes refused to see anymore, and refused to relay any images to her brain. Her brain told her eyes to stay there in the darkness and never to take in heartbreaking sights ever again. Her heart, like a king sitting, confused, on his throne, groaned when he was mentioned by the brain.
Whereat each tributary subject quakes; As when the wind, imprison'd in the ground, Struggling for passage, earth's foundation shakes, Which with cold terror doth men's minds confound. This mutiny each part doth so surprise That from their dark beds once more leap her eyes;
Then every bone in her body shook like an earthquake. It was like when the wind—funneled underground and struggling to get out—shakes the earth above, terrifying and confusing mankind. Her shaking body so surprised her that her eyes opened once again.
And, being open'd, threw unwilling light Upon the wide wound that the boar had trench'd In his soft flank; whose wonted lily white With purple tears, that his wound wept, was drench'd: No flower was nigh, no grass, herb, leaf, or weed, But stole his blood and seem'd with him to bleed.
And, being open, her eyes could see the wide wound the boar had cut in Adonis' soft thigh. His lily white skin was covered with the purple tears shed by his wound. All the flowers, grass, herbs, leaves, and weeds nearby were covered in his blood, and seemed to bleed with him.
This solemn sympathy poor Venus noteth; Over one shoulder doth she hang her head; Dumbly she passions, franticly she doteth; She thinks he could not die, he is not dead: Her voice is stopt, her joints forget to bow; Her eyes are mad that they have wept til now.
Venus observed the plants' apparent sympathy. She leaned her head against her shoulder. She gestured silently and touched him frantically, thinking he couldn't die—he couldn't be dead! She couldn't speak. She couldn't move. She felt she was silly for crying before that moment.
Upon his hurt she looks so steadfastly, That her sight dazzling makes the wound seem three; And then she reprehends her mangling eye, That makes more gashes where no breach should be: His face seems twain, each several limb is doubled; For oft the eye mistakes, the brain being troubled.
She looked steadily at the spot where he'd been hurt. It overwhelmed her sight, making her think she could see three wounds. Then she corrected her blurry vision, which was inventing gashes where there were none. She thought she saw two faces, four arms, and four legs. When you're upset, your eyes often make mistakes.
'My tongue cannot express my grief for one, And yet,' quoth she, 'behold two Adons dead! My sighs are blown away, my salt tears gone, Mine eyes are turn'd to fire, my heart to lead: Heavy heart's lead, melt at mine eyes' red fire! So shall I die by drops of hot desire.
"I can't even express my grief for one Adonis, and look! Here's two dead Adonises," she said. "I can't sigh anymore; my salty tears are all gone. My eyes have turned into fire and my heart has turned into lead. I wish I could melt my hard heart with the fire coming from my eyes! Then I could kill myself, being consumed by my own desire.
'Alas, poor world, what treasure hast thou lost! What face remains alive that's worth the viewing? Whose tongue is music now? what canst thou boast Of things long since, or any thing ensuing? The flowers are sweet, their colours fresh and trim; But true-sweet beauty lived and died with him.
"The world has lost such a treasure! Is there anyone alive who can compare to him? Anyone with a voice as sweet? Could anyone ever beat him, in the past or in the days to come? The flowers may be pretty with their fresh, bright colors, but since he embodied true beauty, beauty died with him, too.
'Bonnet nor veil henceforth no creature wear! Nor sun nor wind will ever strive to kiss you: Having no fair to lose, you need not fear; The sun doth scorn you and the wind doth hiss you: But when Adonis lived, sun and sharp air Lurk'd like two thieves, to rob him of his fair:
"No one needs to wear hats or veils anymore! The sun and the wind are gone. Since you can't get sunburned anymore, you don't have to be afraid. The sun is laughing at you, and the wind is hissing at you. But when Adonis was alive, the sun and the air were jealous of him and wanted to make him less handsome so that he couldn't compete with them.
'And therefore would he put his bonnet on, Under whose brim the gaudy sun would peep; The wind would blow it off and, being gone, Play with his locks: then would Adonis weep; And straight, in pity of his tender years, They both would strive who first should dry his tears.
"So Adonis would have to wear a hat. The sun would peek over the brim of the hat, but then the wind would blow it off and play with Adonis' hair. Then Adonis would cry. At once, the sun and the air would take pity on the young boy, and the two of them would compete to comfort him first.
'To see his face the lion walk'd along Behind some hedge, because he would not fear him; To recreate himself when he hath sung, The tiger would be tame and gently hear him; If he had spoke, the wolf would leave his prey And never fright the silly lamb that day.
"Lions had to hide in the bushes to see his face, because Adonis wasn't afraid of them. Tigers would sit tamely and gently to listen to him entertain himself by singing. When he spoke, he could convince wolves to leave their prey, and to even put off scaring sheep for a day.
'When he beheld his shadow in the brook, The fishes spread on it their golden gills; When he was by, the birds such pleasure took, That some would sing, some other in their bills Would bring him mulberries and ripe-red cherries; He fed them with his sight, they him with berries.
"When he saw his reflection in a stream, fish would swim through and try to touch it. When he was nearby, birds would sing to him or carry in their beaks mulberries and ripe, red cherries for him. They loved to look at him, so they'd bring him berries in return.
'But this foul, grim, and urchin-snouted boar, Whose downward eye still looketh for a grave, Ne'er saw the beauteous livery that he wore; Witness the entertainment that he gave: If he did see his face, why then I know He thought to kiss him, and hath kill'd him so.
"But this gross, evil, long-nosed boar with his downward facing eyes couldn't appreciate Adonis' beauty—he never saw what he looked like and he never heard his sweet voice. If he did see his face, then maybe he accidentally killed him because he was trying to kiss him.
''Tis true, 'tis true; thus was Adonis slain: He ran upon the boar with his sharp spear, Who did not whet his teeth at him again, But by a kiss thought to persuade him there; And nuzzling in his flank, the loving swine Sheathed unaware the tusk in his soft groin.
"Ah, yes—this is how Adonis was killed: he hit the boar with his sharp spear, and the boar, instead of pursuing him with his teeth, thought he could kiss Adonis and make him stop hunting him. Nuzzling into his flank, the sweet pig accidentally thrust his tusk into Adonis' thigh.
'Had I been tooth'd like him, I must confess, With kissing him I should have kill'd him first; But he is dead, and never did he bless My youth with his; the more am I accurst.' With this, she falleth in the place she stood, And stains her face with his congealed blood.
"I have to admit: if I had tusks like the boar, I would have killed Adonis when I tried to kiss him. But he's dead. I never got the chance to make love to him, and I regret that." With that, she fell down where she stood and rubbed her face in his congealed blood.
She looks upon his lips, and they are pale; She takes him by the hand, and that is cold; She whispers in his ears a heavy tale, As if they heard the woeful words she told; She lifts the coffer-lids that close his eyes, Where, lo, two lamps, burnt out, in darkness lies;
She looked at his pale lips. She held his cold hand. She whispered a sad story in his ear as if he could hear the words she said. She lifted his eyelids, but his eyes were burned out, filled with darkness, not light.
Two glasses, where herself herself beheld A thousand times, and now no more reflect; Their virtue lost, wherein they late excell'd, And every beauty robb'd of his effect: 'Wonder of time,' quoth she, 'this is my spite, That, thou being dead, the day should yet be light.
She'd seen her own reflection in those eyes a thousand times, but they didn't reflect anymore. They had lost all the beauty they once had, and the world was short of beauty now because of it. "It's strange how it's still daytime," she said, "and that it's still light outside, even though you're dead.
'Since thou art dead, lo, here I prophesy: Sorrow on love hereafter shall attend: It shall be waited on with jealousy, Find sweet beginning, but unsavoury end, Ne'er settled equally, but high or low, That all love's pleasure shall not match his woe.
"Since you're dead, I prophesy that lovers forever afterward will have trouble. They'll be jealous of each other. They'll enjoy the honeymoon phase, and then get tired of each other and break up. Love and trouble will always be together; one can't exist without the other. They'll never be equal, either—the good parts of being in love will never equal the bad.
'It shall be fickle, false and full of fraud, Bud and be blasted in a breathing-while; The bottom poison, and the top o'erstraw'd With sweets that shall the truest sight beguile: The strongest body shall it make most weak, Strike the wise dumb and teach the fool to speak.
"Love will be flighty, double-crossing, and full of deception. Just when it sprouts and blossoms, the roots will be poisoned. Just when couples are starting to enjoy love's sweet fruits, love will be snatched away from them. Love will make the strongest man weak, make the wise man dumb, and teach the stupid man to speak.
'It shall be sparing and too full of riot, Teaching decrepit age to tread the measures; The staring ruffian shall it keep in quiet, Pluck down the rich, enrich the poor with treasures; It shall be raging-mad and silly-mild, Make the young old, the old become a child.
"Love will happen infrequently, and will cause conflict when it does arrive. Love will teach old men to act young again. It will make the boldest scoundrel shut his mouth. It will make the rich poor and the poor rich. It will be absolutely crazy and sweet and mild. It will make young men old, and old men become children again.
'It shall suspect where is no cause of fear; It shall not fear where it should most mistrust; It shall be merciful and too severe, And most deceiving when it seems most just; Perverse it shall be where it shows most toward, Put fear to valour, courage to the coward.
"Love will be jealous when there's no reason to be. It will be comfortable when it should be afraid. It will be both too forgiving and too harsh, and the most fake when it seems the most real. It will be hard to get when you want it most. It will make courageous men cowardly and cowards courageous.
'It shall be cause of war and dire events, And set dissension 'twixt the son and sire; Subject and servile to all discontents, As dry combustious matter is to fire: Sith in his prime Death doth my love destroy, They that love best their loves shall not enjoy.'
"Love will cause wars and catastrophes. It will make sons and fathers fight one another. It will instigate countless conflicts, like dry kindling starts fires. Since Death killed my love before his time, lovers until the end of time won't be allowed to enjoy the best part of their love."
By this, the boy that by her side lay kill'd Was melted like a vapour from her sight, And in his blood that on the ground lay spill'd, A purple flower sprung up, chequer'd with white, Resembling well his pale cheeks and the blood Which in round drops upon their whiteness stood.
After she said that, the dead boy by her side evaporated into thin air. And in the place where his blood lay spilled on the ground, a purple flower with spots of white sprang up. It resembled his pale cheeks, with their blushing spots in the middle of his white skin.
She bows her head, the new-sprung flower to smell, Comparing it to her Adonis' breath, And says, within her bosom it shall dwell, Since he himself is reft from her by death: She crops the stalk, and in the breach appears Green dropping sap, which she compares to tears .
She bowed her head to smell the newly-grown flower, comparing it to her Adonis' breath. She said she would carry it by her heart always, since death took him away from her. She cut the stalk. Green sap oozed out of the end, which she compared to tears.
'Poor flower,' quoth she, 'this was thy fathers guise— Sweet issue of a more sweet-smelling sire— For every little grief to wet his eyes: To grow unto himself was his desire, And so 'tis thine; but know, it is as good To wither in my breast as in his blood.
"Poor flower," she said, "your father cried like that. You're the sweet son of an even sweeter-smelling father. He would cry for every little thing. He wanted to grow up to be a man, and so do you. But you should know that it's as good to wither here, next to my heart, as it is to grow here in his blood.
'Here was thy father's bed, here in my breast; Thou art the next of blood, and 'tis thy right: Lo, in this hollow cradle take thy rest, My throbbing heart shall rock thee day and night: There shall not be one minute in an hour Wherein I will not kiss my sweet love's flower.'
"Your father laid his head here, on my chest. You're his heir, so it's your place, now. Look, rest yourself in the hollow cradle between my breasts. My throbbing heart will rock you day and night. I'll kiss my sweet love's flower every minute of every hour."
Thus weary of the world, away she hies, And yokes her silver doves; by whose swift aid Their mistress mounted through the empty skies In her light chariot quickly is convey'd; Holding their course to Paphos, where their queen Means to immure herself and not be seen.
Weary of the world now, she called her silver doves to take her away. With their speedy help, she rose into the empty sky in her light chariot. They set their course for Paphos, where Venus intended to hide, and never be seen again.
LitCharts A+ members also get exclusive access to:
- Downloadable translations of every Shakespeare play and sonnet
- Downloads of 814 LitCharts Lit Guides
- Explanations and citation info for 19,172 quotes covering 814 books
- Teacher Editions for every Lit Guide
- PDFs defining 136 key Lit Terms