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Best Famous Snail Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Snail poems. This is a select list of the best famous Snail poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Snail poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of snail poems.

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Written by William Shakespeare | Create an image from this poem

All the Worlds a Stage

 All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.
At first, the infant, Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel And shining morning face, creeping like snail Unwillingly to school.
And then the lover, Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad Made to his mistress' eyebrow.
Then a soldier, Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard, Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel, Seeking the bubble reputation Even in the cannon's mouth.
And then the justice, In fair round belly with good capon lined, With eyes severe and beard of formal cut, Full of wise saws and modern instances; And so he plays his part.
The sixth age shifts Into the lean and slippered pantaloon, With spectacles on nose and pouch on side; His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice, Turning again toward childish treble, pipes And whistles in his sound.
Last scene of all, That ends this strange eventful history, Is second childishness and mere oblivion, Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.


Written by Dylan Thomas | Create an image from this poem

Poem In October

 It was my thirtieth year to heaven
Woke to my hearing from harbour and neighbour wood
 And the mussel pooled and the heron
 Priested shore
 The morning beckon
With water praying and call of seagull and rook
And the knock of sailing boats on the net webbed wall
 Myself to set foot
 That second
 In the still sleeping town and set forth.
My birthday began with the water- Birds and the birds of the winged trees flying my name Above the farms and the white horses And I rose In rainy autumn And walked abroad in a shower of all my days.
High tide and the heron dived when I took the road Over the border And the gates Of the town closed as the town awoke.
A springful of larks in a rolling Cloud and the roadside bushes brimming with whistling Blackbirds and the sun of October Summery On the hill's shoulder, Here were fond climates and sweet singers suddenly Come in the morning where I wandered and listened To the rain wringing Wind blow cold In the wood faraway under me.
Pale rain over the dwindling harbour And over the sea wet church the size of a snail With its horns through mist and the castle Brown as owls But all the gardens Of spring and summer were blooming in the tall tales Beyond the border and under the lark full cloud.
There could I marvel My birthday Away but the weather turned around.
It turned away from the blithe country And down the other air and the blue altered sky Streamed again a wonder of summer With apples Pears and red currants And I saw in the turning so clearly a child's Forgotten mornings when he walked with his mother Through the parables Of sun light And the legends of the green chapels And the twice told fields of infancy That his tears burned my cheeks and his heart moved in mine.
These were the woods the river and sea Where a boy In the listening Summertime of the dead whispered the truth of his joy To the trees and the stones and the fish in the tide.
And the mystery Sang alive Still in the water and singingbirds.
And there could I marvel my birthday Away but the weather turned around.
And the true Joy of the long dead child sang burning In the sun.
It was my thirtieth Year to heaven stood there then in the summer noon Though the town below lay leaved with October blood.
O may my heart's truth Still be sung On this high hill in a year's turning.
Written by Anne Sexton | Create an image from this poem

Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty)

 Consider
a girl who keeps slipping off,
arms limp as old carrots,
into the hypnotist's trance,
into a spirit world
speaking with the gift of tongues.
She is stuck in the time machine, suddenly two years old sucking her thumb, as inward as a snail, learning to talk again.
She's on a voyage.
She is swimming further and further back, up like a salmon, struggling into her mother's pocketbook.
Little doll child, come here to Papa.
Sit on my knee.
I have kisses for the back of your neck.
A penny for your thoughts, Princess.
I will hunt them like an emerald.
Come be my snooky and I will give you a root.
That kind of voyage, rank as a honeysuckle.
Once a king had a christening for his daughter Briar Rose and because he had only twelve gold plates he asked only twelve fairies to the grand event.
The thirteenth fairy, her fingers as long and thing as straws, her eyes burnt by cigarettes, her uterus an empty teacup, arrived with an evil gift.
She made this prophecy: The princess shall prick herself on a spinning wheel in her fifteenth year and then fall down dead.
Kaputt! The court fell silent.
The king looked like Munch's Scream Fairies' prophecies, in times like those, held water.
However the twelfth fairy had a certain kind of eraser and thus she mitigated the curse changing that death into a hundred-year sleep.
The king ordered every spinning wheel exterminated and exorcised.
Briar Rose grew to be a goddess and each night the king bit the hem of her gown to keep her safe.
He fastened the moon up with a safety pin to give her perpetual light He forced every male in the court to scour his tongue with Bab-o lest they poison the air she dwelt in.
Thus she dwelt in his odor.
Rank as honeysuckle.
On her fifteenth birthday she pricked her finger on a charred spinning wheel and the clocks stopped.
Yes indeed.
She went to sleep.
The king and queen went to sleep, the courtiers, the flies on the wall.
The fire in the hearth grew still and the roast meat stopped crackling.
The trees turned into metal and the dog became china.
They all lay in a trance, each a catatonic stuck in a time machine.
Even the frogs were zombies.
Only a bunch of briar roses grew forming a great wall of tacks around the castle.
Many princes tried to get through the brambles for they had heard much of Briar Rose but they had not scoured their tongues so they were held by the thorns and thus were crucified.
In due time a hundred years passed and a prince got through.
The briars parted as if for Moses and the prince found the tableau intact.
He kissed Briar Rose and she woke up crying: Daddy! Daddy! Presto! She's out of prison! She married the prince and all went well except for the fear -- the fear of sleep.
Briar Rose was an insomniac.
.
.
She could not nap or lie in sleep without the court chemist mixing her some knock-out drops and never in the prince's presence.
If if is to come, she said, sleep must take me unawares while I am laughing or dancing so that I do not know that brutal place where I lie down with cattle prods, the hole in my cheek open.
Further, I must not dream for when I do I see the table set and a faltering crone at my place, her eyes burnt by cigarettes as she eats betrayal like a slice of meat.
I must not sleep for while I'm asleep I'm ninety and think I'm dying.
Death rattles in my throat like a marble.
I wear tubes like earrings.
I lie as still as a bar of iron.
You can stick a needle through my kneecap and I won't flinch.
I'm all shot up with Novocain.
This trance girl is yours to do with.
You could lay her in a grave, an awful package, and shovel dirt on her face and she'd never call back: Hello there! But if you kissed her on the mouth her eyes would spring open and she'd call out: Daddy! Daddy! Presto! She's out of prison.
There was a theft.
That much I am told.
I was abandoned.
That much I know.
I was forced backward.
I was forced forward.
I was passed hand to hand like a bowl of fruit.
Each night I am nailed into place and forget who I am.
Daddy? That's another kind of prison.
It's not the prince at all, but my father drunkeningly bends over my bed, circling the abyss like a shark, my father thick upon me like some sleeping jellyfish.
What voyage is this, little girl? This coming out of prison? God help -- this life after death?
Written by Sylvia Plath | Create an image from this poem

Lesbos

 Viciousness in the kitchen!
The potatoes hiss.
It is all Hollywood, windowless, The fluorescent light wincing on and off like a terrible migraine, Coy paper strips for doors -- Stage curtains, a widow's frizz.
And I, love, am a pathological liar, And my child -- look at her, face down on the floor, Little unstrung puppet, kicking to disappear -- Why she is schizophrenic, Her face is red and white, a panic, You have stuck her kittens outside your window In a sort of cement well Where they crap and puke and cry and she can't hear.
You say you can't stand her, The bastard's a girl.
You who have blown your tubes like a bad radio Clear of voices and history, the staticky Noise of the new.
You say I should drown the kittens.
Their smell! You say I should drown my girl.
She'll cut her throat at ten if she's mad at two.
The baby smiles, fat snail, From the polished lozenges of orange linoleum.
You could eat him.
He's a boy.
You say your husband is just no good to you.
His Jew-Mama guards his sweet sex like a pearl.
You have one baby, I have two.
I should sit on a rock off Cornwall and comb my hair.
I should wear tiger pants, I should have an affair.
We should meet in another life, we should meet in air, Me and you.
Meanwhile there's a stink of fat and baby crap.
I'm doped and thick from my last sleeping pill.
The smog of cooking, the smog of hell Floats our heads, two venemous opposites, Our bones, our hair.
I call you Orphan, orphan.
You are ill.
The sun gives you ulcers, the wind gives you T.
B.
Once you were beautiful.
In New York, in Hollywood, the men said: 'Through? Gee baby, you are rare.
' You acted, acted for the thrill.
The impotent husband slumps out for a coffee.
I try to keep him in, An old pole for the lightning, The acid baths, the skyfuls off of you.
He lumps it down the plastic cobbled hill, Flogged trolley.
The sparks are blue.
The blue sparks spill, Splitting like quartz into a million bits.
O jewel! O valuable! That night the moon Dragged its blood bag, sick Animal Up over the harbor lights.
And then grew normal, Hard and apart and white.
The scale-sheen on the sand scared me to death.
We kept picking up handfuls, loving it, Working it like dough, a mulatto body, The silk grits.
A dog picked up your doggy husband.
He went on.
Now I am silent, hate Up to my neck, Thick, thick.
I do not speak.
I am packing the hard potatoes like good clothes, I am packing the babies, I am packing the sick cats.
O vase of acid, It is love you are full of.
You know who you hate.
He is hugging his ball and chain down by the gate That opens to the sea Where it drives in, white and black, Then spews it back.
Every day you fill him with soul-stuff, like a pitcher.
You are so exhausted.
Your voice my ear-ring, Flapping and sucking, blood-loving bat.
That is that.
That is that.
You peer from the door, Sad hag.
'Every woman's a whore.
I can't communicate.
' I see your cute décor Close on you like the fist of a baby Or an anemone, that sea Sweetheart, that kleptomaniac.
I am still raw.
I say I may be back.
You know what lies are for.
Even in your Zen heaven we shan't meet.
Written by Anne Sexton | Create an image from this poem

Flee On Your Donkey

 Because there was no other place
to flee to,
I came back to the scene of the disordered senses,
came back last night at midnight,
arriving in the thick June night
without luggage or defenses,
giving up my car keys and my cash,
keeping only a pack of Salem cigarettes
the way a child holds on to a toy.
I signed myself in where a stranger puts the inked-in X's— for this is a mental hospital, not a child's game.
Today an intern knocks my knees, testing for reflexes.
Once I would have winked and begged for dope.
Today I am terribly patient.
Today crows play black-jack on the stethoscope.
Everyone has left me except my muse, that good nurse.
She stays in my hand, a mild white mouse.
The curtains, lazy and delicate, billow and flutter and drop like the Victorian skirts of my two maiden aunts who kept an antique shop.
Hornets have been sent.
They cluster like floral arrangements on the screen.
Hornets, dragging their thin stingers, hover outside, all knowing, hissing: the hornet knows.
I heard it as a child but what was it that he meant? The hornet knows! What happened to Jack and Doc and Reggy? Who remembers what lurks in the heart of man? What did The Green Hornet mean, he knows? Or have I got it wrong? Is it The Shadow who had seen me from my bedside radio? Now it's Dinn, Dinn, Dinn! while the ladies in the next room argue and pick their teeth.
Upstairs a girl curls like a snail; in another room someone tries to eat a shoe; meanwhile an adolescent pads up and down the hall in his white tennis socks.
A new doctor makes rounds advertising tranquilizers, insulin, or shock to the uninitiated.
Six years of such small preoccupations! Six years of shuttling in and out of this place! O my hunger! My hunger! I could have gone around the world twice or had new children - all boys.
It was a long trip with little days in it and no new places.
In here, it's the same old crowd, the same ruined scene.
The alcoholic arrives with his gold culbs.
The suicide arrives with extra pills sewn into the lining of her dress.
The permanent guests have done nothing new.
Their faces are still small like babies with jaundice.
Meanwhile, they carried out my mother, wrapped like somebody's doll, in sheets, bandaged her jaw and stuffed up her holes.
My father, too.
He went out on the rotten blood he used up on other women in the Middle West.
He went out, a cured old alcoholic on crooked feet and useless hands.
He went out calling for his father who died all by himself long ago - that fat banker who got locked up, his genes suspened like dollars, wrapped up in his secret, tied up securely in a straitjacket.
But you, my doctor, my enthusiast, were better than Christ; you promised me another world to tell me who I was.
I spent most of my time, a stranger, damned and in trance—that little hut, that naked blue-veined place, my eyes shut on the confusing office, eyes circling into my childhood, eyes newly cut.
Years of hints strung out—a serialized case history— thirty-three years of the same dull incest that sustained us both.
You, my bachelor analyst, who sat on Marlborough Street, sharing your office with your mother and giving up cigarettes each New Year, were the new God, the manager of the Gideon Bible.
I was your third-grader with a blue star on my forehead.
In trance I could be any age, voice, gesture—all turned backward like a drugstore clock.
Awake, I memorized dreams.
Dreams came into the ring like third string fighters, each one a bad bet who might win because there was no other.
I stared at them, concentrating on the abyss the way one looks down into a rock quarry, uncountable miles down, my hands swinging down like hooks to pull dreams up out of their cage.
O my hunger! My hunger! Once, outside your office, I collapsed in the old-fashioned swoon between the illegally parked cars.
I threw myself down, pretending dead for eight hours.
I thought I had died into a snowstorm.
Above my head chains cracked along like teeth digging their way through the snowy street.
I lay there like an overcoat that someone had thrown away.
You carried me back in, awkwardly, tenderly, with help of the red-haired secretary who was built like a lifeguard.
My shoes, I remember, were lost in the snowbank as if I planned never to walk again.
That was the winter that my mother died, half mad on morphine, blown up, at last, like a pregnant pig.
I was her dreamy evil eye.
In fact, I carried a knife in my pocketbook— my husband's good L.
L.
Bean hunting knife.
I wasn't sure if I should slash a tire or scrape the guts out of some dream.
You taught me to believe in dreams; thus I was the dredger.
I held them like an old woman with arthritic fingers, carefully straining the water out— sweet dark playthings, and above all, mysterious until they grew mournful and weak.
O my hunger! My hunger! I was the one who opened the warm eyelid like a surgeon and brought forth young girls to grunt like fish.
I told you, I said— but I was lying— that the kife was for my mother .
.
.
and then I delivered her.
The curtains flutter out and slump against the bars.
They are my two thin ladies named Blanche and Rose.
The grounds outside are pruned like an estate at Newport.
Far off, in the field, something yellow grows.
Was it last month or last year that the ambulance ran like a hearse with its siren blowing on suicide— Dinn, dinn, dinn!— a noon whistle that kept insisting on life all the way through the traffic lights? I have come back but disorder is not what it was.
I have lost the trick of it! The innocence of it! That fellow-patient in his stovepipe hat with his fiery joke, his manic smile— even he seems blurred, small and pale.
I have come back, recommitted, fastened to the wall like a bathroom plunger, held like a prisoner who was so poor he fell in love with jail.
I stand at this old window complaining of the soup, examining the grounds, allowing myself the wasted life.
Soon I will raise my face for a white flag, and when God enters the fort, I won't spit or gag on his finger.
I will eat it like a white flower.
Is this the old trick, the wasting away, the skull that waits for its dose of electric power? This is madness but a kind of hunger.
What good are my questions in this hierarchy of death where the earth and the stones go Dinn! Dinn! Dinn! It is hardly a feast.
It is my stomach that makes me suffer.
Turn, my hungers! For once make a deliberate decision.
There are brains that rot here like black bananas.
Hearts have grown as flat as dinner plates.
Anne, Anne, flee on your donkey, flee this sad hotel, ride out on some hairy beast, gallop backward pressing your buttocks to his withers, sit to his clumsy gait somehow.
Ride out any old way you please! In this place everyone talks to his own mouth.
That's what it means to be crazy.
Those I loved best died of it— the fool's disease.
Written by Dylan Thomas | Create an image from this poem

I In My Intricate Image

 I

I, in my intricate image, stride on two levels,
Forged in man's minerals, the brassy orator
Laying my ghost in metal,
The scales of this twin world tread on the double,
My half ghost in armour hold hard in death's corridor,
To my man-iron sidle.
Beginning with doom in the bulb, the spring unravels, Bright as her spinning-wheels, the colic season Worked on a world of petals; She threads off the sap and needles, blood and bubble Casts to the pine roots, raising man like a mountain Out of the naked entrail.
Beginning with doom in the ghost, and the springing marvels, Image of images, my metal phantom Forcing forth through the harebell, My man of leaves and the bronze root, mortal, unmortal, I, in my fusion of rose and male motion, Create this twin miracle.
This is the fortune of manhood: the natural peril, A steeplejack tower, bonerailed and masterless, No death more natural; Thus the shadowless man or ox, and the pictured devil, In seizure of silence commit the dead nuisance.
The natural parallel.
My images stalk the trees and the slant sap's tunnel, No tread more perilous, the green steps and spire Mount on man's footfall, I with the wooden insect in the tree of nettles, In the glass bed of grapes with snail and flower, Hearing the weather fall.
Intricate manhood of ending, the invalid rivals, Voyaging clockwise off the symboled harbour, Finding the water final, On the consumptives' terrace taking their two farewells, Sail on the level, the departing adventure, To the sea-blown arrival.
II They climb the country pinnacle, Twelve winds encounter by the white host at pasture, Corner the mounted meadows in the hill corral; They see the squirrel stumble, The haring snail go giddily round the flower, A quarrel of weathers and trees in the windy spiral.
As they dive, the dust settles, The cadaverous gravels, falls thick and steadily, The highroad of water where the seabear and mackerel Turn the long sea arterial Turning a petrol face blind to the enemy Turning the riderless dead by the channel wall.
(Death instrumental, Splitting the long eye open, and the spiral turnkey, Your corkscrew grave centred in navel and nipple, The neck of the nostril, Under the mask and the ether, they making bloody The tray of knives, the antiseptic funeral; Bring out the black patrol, Your monstrous officers and the decaying army, The sexton sentinel, garrisoned under thistles, A cock-on-a-dunghill Crowing to Lazarus the morning is vanity, Dust be your saviour under the conjured soil.
) As they drown, the chime travels, Sweetly the diver's bell in the steeple of spindrift Rings out the Dead Sea scale; And, clapped in water till the triton dangles, Strung by the flaxen whale-weed, from the hangman's raft, Hear they the salt glass breakers and the tongues of burial.
(Turn the sea-spindle lateral, The grooved land rotating, that the stylus of lightning Dazzle this face of voices on the moon-turned table, Let the wax disk babble Shames and the damp dishonours, the relic scraping.
These are your years' recorders.
The circular world stands still.
) III They suffer the undead water where the turtle nibbles, Come unto sea-stuck towers, at the fibre scaling, The flight of the carnal skull And the cell-stepped thimble; Suffer, my topsy-turvies, that a double angel Sprout from the stony lockers like a tree on Aran.
Be by your one ghost pierced, his pointed ferrule, Brass and the bodiless image, on a stick of folly Star-set at Jacob's angle, Smoke hill and hophead's valley, And the five-fathomed Hamlet on his father's coral Thrusting the tom-thumb vision up the iron mile.
Suffer the slash of vision by the fin-green stubble, Be by the ships' sea broken at the manstring anchored The stoved bones' voyage downward In the shipwreck of muscle; Give over, lovers, locking, and the seawax struggle, Love like a mist or fire through the bed of eels.
And in the pincers of the boiling circle, The sea and instrument, nicked in the locks of time, My great blood's iron single In the pouring town, I, in a wind on fire, from green Adam's cradle, No man more magical, clawed out the crocodile.
Man was the scales, the death birds on enamel, Tail, Nile, and snout, a saddler of the rushes, Time in the hourless houses Shaking the sea-hatched skull, And, as for oils and ointments on the flying grail, All-hollowed man wept for his white apparel.
Man was Cadaver's masker, the harnessing mantle, Windily master of man was the rotten fathom, My ghost in his metal neptune Forged in man's mineral.
This was the god of beginning in the intricate seawhirl, And my images roared and rose on heaven's hill.
Written by Charles Bukowski | Create an image from this poem

His Wife The Painter

 There are sketches on the walls of men and women and ducks,
and outside a large green bus swerves through traffic like
insanity sprung from a waving line; Turgenev, Turgenev,
says the radio, and Jane Austin, Jane Austin, too.
"I am going to do her portrait on the 28th, while you are at work.
" He is just this edge of fat and he walks constantly, he fritters; they have him; they are eating him hollow like a webbed fly, and his eyes are red-suckled with anger-fear.
He feels hatred and discard of the world, sharper than his razor, and his gut-feel hangs like a wet polyp; and he self-decisions himself defeated trying to shake his hung beard from razor in water (like life), not warm enough.
Daumier.
Rue Transonian, le 15 Avril, 1843.
(lithograph.
) Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale.
"She has a face unlike that of any woman I have ever known.
" "What is it? A love affair?" "Silly.
I can't love a woman.
Besides, she's pregnant.
" I can paint- a flower eaten by a snake; that sunlight is a lie; and that markets smell of shoes and naked boys clothed, and that under everything some river, some beat, some twist that clambers along the edge of my temple and bites nip-dizzy.
.
.
men drive cars and paint their houses, but they are mad; men sit in barber chairs; buy hats.
Corot.
Recollection of Mortefontaine.
Paris, Louvre.
"I must write Kaiser, though I think he's a homosexual.
" "Are you still reading Freud?" "Page 299.
" She made a little hat and he fastened two snaps under one arm, reaching up from the bed like a long feeler from the snail, and she went to church, and he thought now I h've time and the dog.
About church: the trouble with a mask is it never changes.
So rude the flowers that grow and do not grow beautiful.
So magic the chair on the patio that does not hold legs and belly and arm and neck and mouth that bites into the wind like the ned of a tunnel.
He turned in bed and thought: I am searching for some segment in the air.
It floats about the peoples heads.
When it rains on the trees it sits between the branches warmer and more blood-real than the dove.
Orozco.
Christ Destroying the Cross.
Hanover, Dartmouth College, Baker Library.
He burned away in his sleep.


Written by William Shakespeare | Create an image from this poem

Fairy Land ii

 YOU spotted snakes with double tongue, 
 Thorny hedgehogs, be not seen; 
Newts and blind-worms, do no wrong; 
 Come not near our fairy queen.
Philomel, with melody, Sing in our sweet lullaby; Lulla, lulla, lullaby; lulla, lulla, lullaby! Never harm, Nor spell nor charm, Come our lovely lady nigh; So, good night, with lullaby.
Weaving spiders, come not here; Hence, you long-legg'd spinners, hence! Beetles black, approach not near; Worm nor snail, do no offence.
Philomel, with melody, Sing in our sweet lullaby; Lulla, lulla, lullaby; lulla, lulla, lullaby! Never harm, Nor spell nor charm, Come our lovely lady nigh; So, good night, with lullaby.
Written by R S Thomas | Create an image from this poem

On The Farm

 There was Dai Puw.
He was no good.
They put him in the fields to dock swedes, And took the knife from him, when he came home At late evening with a grin Like the slash of a knife on his face.
There was Llew Puw, and he was no good.
Every evening after the ploughing With the big tractor he would sit in his chair, And stare into the tangled fire garden, Opening his slow lips like a snail.
There was Huw Puw, too.
What shall I say? I have heard him whistling in the hedges On and on, as though winter Would never again leave those fields, And all the trees were deformed.
And lastly there was the girl: Beauty under some spell of the beast.
Her pale face was the lantern By which they read in life's dark book The shrill sentence: God is love.
Written by William Shakespeare | Create an image from this poem

Venus and Adonis

 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.
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.
" 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.
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.
By this she hears the hounds are at a bay; Whereat she starts, like one that spies an adder Wreath'd 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.
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 court'sy who shall cope 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.
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; 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 she runs, and now she will no further, But back retires to rate the boar for murther.
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.
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.
When he hath ceas'd 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.
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.
"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 liv'd, his breath and beauty set Gloss on the rose, smell to the violet? "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.
"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 him dead.
"Dost thou drink tears, that thou provok'st 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.
" 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 make thee ridiculous: The one doth flatter thee in thoughts unlikely, In likely thoughts the other kills thee quickly.
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.
"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.
"'Tis not my fault: the boar provok'd 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.
" 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.
"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.
"Fie, fie, fond love, thou art so full of fear As one with treasure laden, hemm'd with 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.
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 asham'd of day, themselves withdrew; 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: 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, 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; 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.
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 till now.
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