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"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. · But this foul, grim, and urchin-snoutèd *

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 killed him so.
• '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.
· Had I been toothed like him, I must confess,
With kissing him I should have killed him first;
But he is dead, and never did he bless
My youth with his; the more am I accursed.'

With this she falleth in the place she stood,

And stains her face with his congealèd 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 woful words she told:
She lifts the coffer-lids that close his

eyes, Where, lo! two lamps, burnt out, in darkness lies : * The sea-urchin is a name given to the hedgehog.

+ On the ground he lay,
Blood had left his cheek,
For an orpèd swine
Smit him in the groin.

Sheepheard's Song of Venus and Adonis. 1 It is obvious from this example, as from numerous others, that the Elizabethan violations of time and form cannot always be referred to haste or accident; but that they were sometimes adopted designedly to suit the metre or the rhyme. In such cases as the present, it is possible that the final s came into use as a substitute for the Saxon termination th.

Two glasses, where herself herself beheld
A thousand times, and now no more reflect;
Their virtue lost, wherein they late excelled;
And every beauty robbed of his effect.

• Wonder of time,' quoth she, this is my spite;

That, you being dead, the day should yet be light. "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 unsavory end;

Ne'er settled equally, but high or low; That all love's pleasure shall not match his woe: It shall be fickle, false, and full of fraud; Bud and be blasted in a breathing-while; The bottom poison, and the top o'erstrawed * With sweets, that shall the truest sigh beguile.

The strongest body shall it make most weak,
Strike the wise dumb, and teach the fool 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:
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:

* O'erstrewed.
+ A term generally applied to grave and stately dances.

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.'
By this, the boy, that by her side lay killed,
Was melted like a vapour from her sight;
And in his blood, that on the ground lay spilled,
A purple flower sprung up, checkered with white,

Resembling well his pale cheeks, and the blood,

Which in round drops upon their whiteness stood. 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. • Poor flower! quoth she, this was thy father's 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. 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.
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 conveyed,
Holding their course to Paphos, where their

queen Means to immure herself, and not be seen.



[This poem was entered on the books of the Stationers' Company under the title of The Ravishment of Lucrece, May 9, 1594. It was published in quarto in the same year. Successive editions appeared in 1598, 1600, 1607, 1616, 1620, and 1632. Two other editions are spoken of, in 1596 and 1602; but Malone, who had heard of them, had never seen either. The edition of 1616, newly revised and corrected,' and published in the year in which Shakspeare died, contains, in addition to the argument prefixed to the previous edition, a table of contents dividing the story into twelve parts; and these contents, in a rather more explanatory form, are reprinted in the margin of the poem opposite to the places to which they refer. In subsequent editions the table is omitted, and the poem itself is divided into twelve parts, each part being headed by the explanation of its contents. The following is the table of contents, extracted from a rare copy in the possession of J. O. Halliwell, Esq., to whose kindness I am also indebted for the inspection of other early copies which I have collated for the text of this edition.*


1. Lucrece' praises for chaste, virtuous, and beautiful

enamoureth Tarquin. 2. Tarquin welcomed by Lucrece. 3. Tarquin overthrows all disputing with his wilfulness. 4. He puts his resolution in practice. 5. Lucrece awakes, and is amazed to be so surprised. 6. She pleads in defence of chastity. 7. Tarquin, all impatient, interrupteth her, and ravisheth

her by force. 8. Lucrece complains on her abuse. 9. She disputeth whether she should kill herself or no. 10. She is resolved on self-murder, yet sendeth first for her


* To an edition in Mr. Halliwell's possession of the date of 1655 is added a poem, by J. Quarles, entitled The Banishment of Tarquin; or, The Reward of Lust, in which the history is continued to its sequel.

II. Colatinus with his friends returns home.
12. Lucrece relateth the mischief ; they swear revenge, and

she, to exasperate the matter, killeth herself. Whether this table of contents, or the verbal revisions contained in the edition to which it is prefixed, were prepared, or sanctioned, by Shakspeare, cannot be determined. Malone rejects the revisions as the work of another hand. Some of them, however, are valuable and interesting; and the date of the impression entitles it to attention when the collation of the text is under cousideration.

The classical sources of the story of Lucrece are well known; but it is not probable that Shakspeare drew upon any of them, except, perhaps, the Fasti, which were translated before 1570. The narrative was accessible to him in Chaucer and Lydgate; it was to be found also in Painter's Palace of Pleasure; and there were several ballads on the subject. It was one of the many popular themes that had come down in sundry forms from the literature of the middle ages.

Opinion is divided in the choice between Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece.

Malone pronounces decidedly against the latter, a decision which greatly surprises Boswell. The majority of modern readers will be likely to agree with Malone. The subject of the former piece is, at least, less painful, and its treatment is more compact and effective. In beauty of expression, and passionate depth of feeling, the Venus and Adonis transcends the Lucrece, upon which more elaboration has been bestowed with less success. The interest of Lucrece suffers from attenuation. The agony is too protracted; the horror of the main incident is exhausted by prolonged argumentation; and the close is abrupt and hurried. There is a want of symmetry in the parts; and the catastrophe is not presented with the fulness or solemnity proportionate to the expectations excited by the preparatory details. But the poem abounds in sweet and noble

passages; and in both pieces we discover the germs of that unerring genius which impressed the true image of nature upon every scene and character it depicted.] SHAKSPEARE.


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