THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
From off a hill whose concave womb reworded
A plaintful story from a sist'ring vale
My spirits t'attend this double voice accorded
And down I laid to list the sad-tuned tale
Ere long espied a fickle maid full pale
Tearing of papers breaking rings atwain
Storming her world with sorrow's wind and rain.
Upon her head a platted hive of straw
Which fortified her visage from the sun
Whereon the thought might think sometime it saw
The carcase of a beauty spent and done.
Time had not scythed all that youth begun
Nor youth all quit but spite of heaven's fell rage
Some beauty peeped through lattice of seared age.
Oft did she heave her napkin to her eyne
Which on it had conceited characters
Laund'ring the silken figures in the brine
That seasoned woe had pelleted in tears
And often reading what contents it bears;
As often shrieking undistinguished woe
In clamours of all size both high and low.
Sometimes her levelled eyes their carriage ride
As they did batt'ry to the spheres intend;
Sometime diverted their poor balls are tied
To th' orbed earth; sometimes they do extend
Their view right on; anon their gazes lend
To every place at once and nowhere fixed
The mind and sight distractedly commixed.
Her hair nor loose nor tied in formal plat
Proclaimed in her a careless hand of pride;
For some untucked descended her sheaved hat
Hanging her pale and pined cheek beside;
Some in her threaden fillet still did bide
And true to bondage would not break from thence
Though slackly braided in loose negligence.
A thousand favours from a maund she drew
Of amber crystal and of beaded jet
Which one by one she in a river threw
Upon whose weeping margent she was set;
Like usury applying wet to wet
Or monarchs' hands that lets not bounty fall
Where want cries some but where excess begs all.
Of folded schedules had she many a one
Which she perused sighed tore and gave the flood;
Cracked many a ring of posied gold and bone
Bidding them find their sepulchres in mud;
Found yet moe letters sadly penned in blood
With sleided silk feat and affectedly
Enswathed and sealed to curious secrecy.
These often bathed she in her fluxive eyes
And often kissed and often 'gan to tear;
Cried 'O false blood thou register of lies
What unapproved witness dost thou bear!
Ink would have seemed more black and damned here!
This said in top of rage the lines she rents
Big discontents so breaking their contents.
A reverend man that grazed his cattle nigh
Sometime a blusterer that the ruffle knew
Of court of city and had let go by
The swiftest hours observed as they flew
Towards this afflicted fancy fastly drew;
And privileged by age desires to know
In brief the grounds and motives of her woe.
So slides he down upon his grained bat
And comely distant sits he by her side;
When he again desires her being sat
Her grievance with his hearing to divide.
If that from him there may be aught applied
Which may her suffering ecstasy assuage
'Tis promised in the charity of age.
'Father' she says 'though in me you behold
The injury of many a blasting hour
Let it not tell your judgement I am old:
Not age but sorrow over me hath power.
I might as yet have been a spreading flower
Fresh to myself if I had self-applied
Love to myself and to no love beside.
'But woe is me! too early I attended
A youthful suit- it was to gain my grace-
O one by nature's outwards so commended
That maidens' eyes stuck over all his face.
Love lacked a dwelling and made him her place;
And when in his fair parts she did abide
She was new lodged and newly deified.
'His browny locks did hang in crooked curls;
And every light occasion of the wind
Upon his lips their silken parcels hurls.
What's sweet to do to do will aptly find:
Each eye that saw him did enchant the mind;
For on his visage was in little drawn
What largeness thinks in Paradise was sawn.
'Small show of man was yet upon his chin;
His phoenix down began but to appear
Like unshorn velvet on that termless skin
Whose bare out-bragged the web it seemed to wear:
Yet showed his visage by that cost more dear;
And nice affections wavering stood in doubt
If best were as it was or best without.
'His qualities were beauteous as his form
For maiden-tongued he was and thereof free;
Yet if men moved him was he such a storm
As oft 'twixt May and April is to see
When winds breathe sweet unruly though they be.
His rudeness so with his authorized youth
Did livery falseness in a pride of truth.
'Well could he ride and often men would say
"That horse his mettle from his rider takes:
Proud of subjection noble by the sway
What rounds what bounds what course what stop he makes!"
And controversy hence a question takes
Whether the horse by him became his deed
Or he his manage by th' well-doing steed.
'But quickly on this side the verdict went:
His real habitude gave life and grace
To appertainings and to ornament
Accomplished in himself not in his case
All aids themselves made fairer by their place
Came for additions; yet their purposed trim
Pierced not his grace but were all graced by him.
'So on the tip of his subduing tongue
All kind of arguments and question deep
All replication prompt and reason strong
For his advantage still did wake and sleep.
To make the weeper laugh the laugher weep
He had the dialect and different skill
Catching all passions in his craft of will
'That he did in the general bosom reign
Of young of old and sexes both enchanted
To dwell with him in thoughts or to remain
In personal duty following where he haunted.
Consents bewitched ere he desire have granted
And dialogued for him what he would say
Asked their own wills and made their wills obey.
'Many there were that did his picture get
To serve their eyes and in it put their mind;
Like fools that in th' imagination set
The goodly objects which abroad they find
Of lands and mansions theirs in thought assigned;
And labouring in moe pleasures to bestow them
Than the true gouty landlord which doth owe them.
'So many have that never touched his hand
Sweetly supposed them mistress of his heart.
My woeful self that did in freedom stand
And was my own fee-simple not in part
What with his art in youth and youth in art
Threw my affections in his charmed power
Reserved the stalk and gave him all my flower.
'Yet did I not as some my equals did
Demand of him nor being desired yielded;
Finding myself in honour so forbid
With safest distance I mine honour shielded.
Experience for me many bulwarks builded
Of proofs new-bleeding which remained the foil
Of this false jewel and his amorous spoil.
'But ah who ever shunned by precedent
The destined ill she must herself assay?
Or forced examples 'gainst her own content
To put the by-past perils in her way?
Counsel may stop awhile what will not stay;
For when we rage advice is often seen
By blunting us to make our wills more keen.
'Nor gives it satisfaction to our blood
That we must curb it upon others' proof
To be forbod the sweets that seems so good
For fear of harms that preach in our behoof.
O appetite from judgement stand aloof!
The one a palate hath that needs will taste
Though Reason weep and cry it is thy last.
'For further I could say this man's untrue
And knew the patterns of his foul beguiling;
Heard where his plants in others' orchards grew;
Saw how deceits were gilded in his smiling;
Knew vows were ever brokers to defiling;
Thought characters and words merely but art
And bastards of his foul adulterate heart.
'And long upon these terms I held my city
Till thus he 'gan besiege me: "Gentle maid
Have of my suffering youth some feeling pity
And be not of my holy vows afraid.
That's to ye sworn to none was ever said;
For feasts of love I have been called unto
Till now did ne'er invite nor never woo.
'"All my offences that abroad you see
Are errors of the blood none of the mind;
Love made them not; with acture they may be
Where neither party is nor true nor kind.
They sought their shame that so their shame did find;
And so much less of shame in me remains
By how much of me their reproach contains.
'"Among the many that mine eyes have seen
Not one whose flame my heart so much as warmed
Or my affection put to th' smallest teen
Or any of my leisures ever charmed.
Harm have I done to them but ne'er was harmed;
Kept hearts in liveries but mine own was free
And reigned commanding in his monarchy.
'"Look here what tributes wounded fancies sent me
Of paled pearls and rubies red as blood;
Figuring that they their passions likewise lent me
Of grief and blushes aptly understood
In bloodless white and the encrimsoned mood-
Effects of terror and dear modesty
Encamped in hearts but fighting outwardly.
'"And lo behold these talents of their hair
With twisted metal amorously empleached
I have receiv'd from many a several fair
Their kind acceptance weepingly beseeched
With the annexions of fair gems enriched
And deep-brained sonnets that did amplify
Each stone's dear nature worth and quality.
'"The diamond? why 'twas beautiful and hard
Whereto his invised properties did tend;
The deep-green em'rald in whose fresh regard
Weak sights their sickly radiance do amend;
The heaven-hued sapphire and the opal blend
With objects manifold; each several stone
With wit well blazoned smiled or made some moan.
'"Lo all these trophies of affections hot
Of pensived and subdued desires the tender
Nature hath charged me that I hoard them not
But yield them up where I myself must render-
That is to you my origin and ender;
For these of force must your oblations be
Since I their altar you enpatron me.
'"O then advance of yours that phraseless hand
Whose white weighs down the airy scale of praise;
Take all these similes to your own command
Hallowed with sighs that burning lungs did raise;
What me your minister for you obeys
Works under you; and to your audit comes
Their distract parcels in combined sums.
'"Lo this device was sent me from a nun
Or sister sanctified of holiest note
Which late her noble suit in court did shun
Whose rarest havings made the blossoms dote;
For she was sought by spirits of richest coat
But kept cold distance and did thence remove
To spend her living in eternal love.
'"But O my sweet what labour is't to leave
The thing we have not mast'ring what not strives
Playing the place which did no form receive