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His eye, which scornfully glisters like fire,
Shows his hot courage and his high desire.
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.
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.
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, color, pace, and bone.
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.
Sometime he scuds far off, and there he stares;
Anon he starts at stirring of a feather;
To bid the wind a base 1 he now prepares,
And whe'r 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 looks upon his love, and neighs unto her;
She answers him, as if she knew his mind:
Being proud, as females are, to see him woo her,
She puts on outward strangeness, seems unkind;
Spurns at his love, and scorns the heat he feels,
Beating his kind embracements with her heels.
Then, like a melancholy malecontent,
He vails his tail, that, like a falling plume,
Cool shadow to his melting buttock lent:
He stamps, and bites the poor flies in his fume.
His love, perceiving how he is enraged,
Grew kinder, and his fury was assuaged.
His testy master goeth about to take him;
When, lo, the unback'd breeder, full of fear,
Jealous of catching, swiftly doth forsake him,
With her the horse, and left Adonis there :
i. e. to challenge the wind to a contest for superiority. Base is a rustic game, sometimes termed prison-base, or prison-bars. 2 Lowers.
As they were mad, unto the wood they hie
Outstripping crows, that strive to overfly them.
All swoln with chasing, down Adonis sits,
Banning1 his boisterous and unruly beast;
And now the happy season once more fits,
That love-sick Love by pleading may be bless'd;
For lovers say, the heart hath treble wrong,
When it is barr'd the aidance of the tongue.
An oven that is stopp'd, or river stay'd,
Burneth more hotly, swelleth with more rage:
So of concealed sorrow may be said;
Free vent of words love's fire doth assuage;
But when the heart's attorney 2 once is mute,
The client breaks, as desperate in his suit.
He sees her coming, and begins to glow,
Even as a dying coal revives with wind;
And with his bonnet hides his angry brow;
Looks on the dull earth with disturbed mind;
Taking no notice that she is so nigh,
For all askaunce he holds her in his eye.
O, what a sight it was, wistly 3 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.
Now was she just before him as he sat,
And like a lowly lover down she kneels;
With one fair hand she heaveth up his hat,
Her other tender hand his fair cheek feels:
His tenderer cheek receives her soft hand's print,
As apt as new-fallen snow takes any dint.
O, what a war of looks was then between them!
Her eyes, petitioners, to his eyes suing;
His eyes saw her eyes as they had not seen them;
Her eyes woo'd still, his eyes disdain'd the wooing:
And all this dumb play had his 1 acts made plain
With tears, which, chorus-like, her eyes did rain.
Full gently now she takes him by the hand,
A lily prison'd in a jail 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 biiling.
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
'Give me my hand,' saith he: why dost thou
Give me my heart,' saith she, and thou shalt
O, give it me, lest thy hard heart do steel it,
And being steel'd, soft sighs can never grave
Then love's deep groans I never shall regard,
Because Adonis' heart hath made mine hard.'
'For shame,' he cries: 'let go, and let me go:
My day's delight is past, my horse is gone;
And 'tis your fault I am bereft him so :
I pray you, hence, and leave me here alone:
For all my mind, my thought, my busy care,
Is how to get my palfrey from the mare.'
Thus she replies:- Thy palfrey, as he should,
Welcomes the warm approach of sweet desire:
Affection is a coal that must be comm'd;
Else, suffer'd, it will set the heart
The sea hath bounds, but deep
esire hath none; Therefore no marvel though thy horse be gone.
1 Thy heart wounded as mine is.