Page images

And, for she could not get a greater blisse,
She did intreat at least a sister's kisse;
But still the more she did the boy beseech,
The more he powted at her wanton speech.
At last the Nymph began to touch his skin,
Whiter then mountaine snow hath euer bin,
And did in purenesse that cleare spring surpasse,
Wherein Actæon saw th' Arcadian lasse.
Thus did she dally long, till at the last,
In her moyst palme she lockt his white hand fast:
Then in her hand his wrest she 'gan to close,
When through his pulses strait the warme bloud gloes,
Whose youthfull musicke, fanning Cupid's fire,
In her warme brest kindled a fresh desire.
Then did she lift her hand vnto his brest,
A part as white and youthfull as the rest,
Where, as his flowry breath still comes and goes,
She felt his gentle heart pant through his clothes.

At last she tooke her hand from off that part,
And sayd, It panted like another's heart:
Why should it be more feeble, and lesse bold ?
Why should the bloud about it be more cold ?
Nay sure, that yeelds; onely thy tongue denyes,
And the true fancy of thy heart belyes.
Then did she lift her hand ynto his chin:
And prays'd the prety dimpling of his skin;
But straight his chin she 'gan to ouerslip,
When she beheld the rednesse of his lip;
And sayd, thy lips are soft, presse them to mine
And thou shalt see they are as soft as thine.
Then would she faine haue gone vnto his eye,
But still his ruddy lip standing so nie,
Drew her hand backe, therefore his eye she mist,
Ginning to claspe his necke, and would haue kist;
But then the boy did struggle to be gone,
Vowing to leaue her and that place alone.

But then bright Salmacis began to feare,
And sayd, Fayre Stranger, I will leaue thee here
Amid these pleasant places all alone.
So, turning back, she fayned to be gone;
But from his sight she had no power to passé,
Therefore she turn'd, and hid her in the grasse,
When to the ground bending her snow-white knee,
The glad earth gave new coates to euery tree.

He then supposing he was all alone,
(Like a young boy that is espy'd of none)
Runnes here, and there, then on the bankes doth looke,
Then on the cristall current of the brooke,
Then with his foote he toucht the siluer streames,
Whose drowzy waves made musike in their dreames,
And, for he was not wholy in, did weepe,
Talking alowd and babbling in their sleepe:
Whose pleasant coolenesse when the boy did feele,
He thrust his foote downe lower to the heele;
O’recome with whose sweet noyse, he did begin
To strip his soft clothes from his tender skin,
When straight the scorching Sun wept teares of brine,
Because he durst not touch him with his shine,
For feare of spoyling that same iu'ry skin,
Whose whitenesse he so much delighted in:
And then the Moone, mother of mortale ease,
Would fayne have come from the Antipodes,
To baue beheld him naked as he stood,
Ready to leape into the siluer flood,
But might not; for the lawes of heauen deny,
To shew men's secrets to a woman's eye;
And therefore was her sad and gloomy light
Confin'd vnto the secret-keeping night.

When beauteous Salmacis awhile had gaz'd
Vpon his naked corps, she stood amaz’d,
And both her sparking eyes burnt in her face,
Like the bright Sunne reflected in a glasse.

Scarce can she stay from running to the boy,
Scarce can she now deferre her hoped ioy;
So fast her youthfull bloud playes in her vaynes,
That almost mad, she scarce her selfe contaynes,
When young Hermaphroditus as he stands,
Clapping his white side with his hollow hands,
Leapt liuely from the land, whereon he stood,
Into the mayne part of the cristall flood :
Like iu'ry then his snowy body was,
Or a white Lilly in a cristall glasse.

Then rose the water-Nymph from where she lay,
As hauing wonne the glory of the day,
And her light garments casts from off her skin.
Hee's mine, she cry'd, and so leapt spritely in.
The flattering iuy who did euer see
Inclaspe the huge trunke of an aged tree,
Let him behold the young boy as he stands,
Inclasp in wanton Salmacis's hands :
Betwixt those iu'ry armes she lockt him fast,
Striuing to get away, till at the last,
Fondling, she sayd, why striu'st thou to be gone?
Why shouldst thou so desire to be alone ?
Thy cheeke is neuer faire when none is by ;
For what is red and white, but to the eye?
And for that cause the heauens are darke at night,
Because all creatures close their

weary sight; For there's no mortall can so earely rise, But still the morning waytes vpon


eyes. The earely-rising and soone-singing larke Can neuer chaunt her sweete notes in the darke; For sleepe she ne're so little or so long, Yet still the morning will attend her song. All creatures that beneath bright Cinthia be, Haue appetite vnto society: The ouerflowing waues would haue a bound Within the confines of the spacious ground,

And all their shady currents would be plaste
In hollow of the solitary vaste,
But that they lothe to let their soft streames sing,
Where none can heare their gentle murmuring.
Yet still the boy, regardlesse what she sayd,
Struggled apace to ouerswimme the mayd;
Which when the Nymph perceiu’d, she 'gan to say,
Struggle tbou mayst, but neuer get away.
So graunt, iust gods, that neuer day may see
The separation twixt this boy and mee.

The gods did heare her pray'r and feele her woe;
And in one body they began to grow.
She felt his youthfull bloud in euery vaine,
And she felt hers warme his cold brest againe;
And euer since was woman's loue so blest,
That it draw bloud from the strongest brest.
Nor man nor mayd now could they be esteemid :
Neither, and either, might they well be deemid,
When the young boy Hermaphroditus sayd,
With the set voice of neither man nor mayd,
Swift Mercury, thou author of my life,
And thou my mother, Vulcan's louely wife,
Let your poore offsprings latest breath be blest,
In but obtayning this his last request.
Grant that who e're, heated by Phoebus beames
Shall come to coole him in these siluer streames,
May neuermore a manly shape retaine,
But halfe a virgine may returnc againe.

His parents hark’ned to his last request, And with that great power they the fountaine blest; And since that time who in that fountaine swimmes, A mayden smoothnesse seyzeth halfe his limmes.


ART. XIV.-The new Fact regarding Shakespeare and his

Wife, contained in the Will of Thomas Whittington.

I wish to offer a few remarks on the new fact regarding Shakespeare and his wife, recently discovered at Worcester, and transmitted not long since by Sir Thomas Phillipps to the Society of Antiquaries.

It is contained in the will of a person of the name of Thomas Whittington, of Shottery, in the county of Warwick, husbandman, in the following words :

[ocr errors]

Item, I give and bequeath unto the poor people of Stratford, forty shillings, that is in the hand of Anne Shaxspere, wife unto Mr. William Shaxspere, and is debt due unto me, being paid to mine Executor by the said William Shaxspere, or his assigns, according to the true meaning of this

my will."

This is the whole that relates to our great poet, and what does it seem to show? It is a question upon which Sir Thomas Phillipps has not touched in his brief communication, and it is a deficiency I shall endeavour briefly to supply.

May we not fairly gather, from the words of Whittington's will, (which bears date 25th March, 1601) that Shakespeare was then in London—that, at all events, he was absent from Stratford or the testator would not have said that the money was “ in the hand of Anne Shakespeare,” but in that of William Shakespeare, her husband : it was due from him as a “debt,” because it had been borrowed by his wife, probably to supply some temporary emergency at a period when she could not conveniently apply to her husband, who was at a distance of more than a hundred miles. The end of March was not long before the company of the Lord Chamberlain's players

« PreviousContinue »