I've been trying to think what all this boars and goddesses business reminded me of, and while looking for something else I found this, which tho' of course not at all reflective of our relationships, heh heh, nevertheless carries some resonance of the members-forum and its collateral venues .... In other words, this sounds like it could have been written by Dave Barry about the men and women thing. And perhaps most helpfully, it makes the boar metaphor much more accessible.

Note the >> to signal the appearance of a boar in the text.

If you like this excerpt, the whole poem of Venus and Adonis is at Ludweb.

[.... the exerpt starts by speaking of horses -- Adonis's has 
wandered off after Venus's ...]
     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 malcontent,
     He veils 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:
     As they were mad, unto the wood they hie them,
     Out-stripping crows that strive to over-fly them.

     All swoln with chafing, down Adonis sits,
     Banning his boisterous and unruly beast:
     And now the happy season once more fits,
     That love-sick Love by pleading may be blest;
     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 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 askance he holds her in his eye.

     O, what a sight it was, wistly 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-fall'n 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 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 gaol 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-billing.

     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 thee!'

     'Give me my hand,' saith he, 'why dost thou feel it?'
     'Give me my heart,' saith she, 'and thou shalt have it:
     O, give it me, lest thy hard heart do steel it,
     And being steel'd, soft sighs can never grave it:
     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 cool'd;
     Else, suffer'd, it will set the heart on fire:
     The sea hath bounds, but deep desire hath none;
     Therefore no marvel though thy horse be gone.

     'How like a jade he stood, tied to the tree,
     Servilely master'd with a leathern rein!
     But when he saw his love, his youth's fair fee,
     He held such petty bondage in disdain;
     Throwing the base thong from his bending crest,
     Enfranchising his mouth, his back, his breast.

     'Who sees his true-love in her naked bed,
     Teaching the sheets a whiter hue than white,
     But, when his glutton eye so full hath fed,
     His other agents aim at like delight?
     Who is so faint, that dare not be so bold
     To touch the fire, the weather being cold?

     'Let me excuse thy courser, gentle boy;
     And learn of him, I heartily beseech thee,
     To take advantage on presented joy;
     Though I were dumb, yet his proceedings teach thee;
     O, learn to love; the lesson is but plain,
     And once made perfect, never lost again.'

     I know not love,' quoth he, 'nor will not know it,
>> Unless it be a boar, and then I chase it;
     'Tis much to borrow, and I will not owe it;
     My love to love is love but to disgrace it;
     For I have heard it is a life in death,
     That laughs and weeps, and all but with a breath.

     'Who wears a garment shapeless and unfinish'd?
     Who plucks the bud before one leaf put forth?
     If springing things be any jot diminish'd,
     They wither in their prime, prove nothing worth:
     The colt that's back'd and burden'd being young
     Loseth his pride and never waxeth strong.

     'You hurt my hand with wringing; let us part,
     And leave this idle theme, this bootless chat:
     Remove your siege from my unyielding heart;
     To love's alarms it will not ope the gate:
     Dismiss your vows, your feigned tears, your flattery;
     For where a heart is hard they make no battery.'

     'What! canst thou talk?' quoth she, 'hast thou a tongue?
     O, would thou hadst not, or I had no hearing!
     Thy mermaid's voice hath done me double wrong;
     I had my load before, now press'd with bearing:
     Melodious discord, heavenly tune harshsounding,
     Ear's deep-sweet music, and heart's deep-sore wounding.

     'Had I no eyes but ears, my ears would love
     That inward beauty and invisible;
     Or were I deaf, thy outward parts would move
     Each part in me that were but sensible:
     Though neither eyes nor ears, to hear nor see,
     Yet should I be in love by touching thee.'

     'Say, that the sense of feeling were bereft me,
     And that I could not see, nor hear, nor touch,
     And nothing but the very smell were left me,
     Yet would my love to thee be still as much;
     For from the stillitory of thy face excelling
     Comes breath perfumed that breedeth love by smelling.

     'But, O, what banquet wert thou to the taste,
     Being nurse and feeder of the other four!
     Would they not wish the feast might ever last,
     And bid Suspicion double-lock the door,
     Lest Jealousy, that sour unwelcome guest,
     Should, by his stealing in, disturb the feast?'

     Once more the ruby-colour'd portal open'd,
     Which to his speech did honey passage yield;
     Like a red morn, that ever yet betoken'd
     Wreck to the seaman, tempest to the field,
     Sorrow to shepherds, woe unto the birds,
     Gusts and foul flaws to herdmen and to herds.

     This ill presage advisedly she marketh:
     Even as the wind is hush'd before it raineth,
     Or as the wolf doth grin before he barketh,
     Or as the berry breaks before it staineth,
     Or like the deadly bullet of a gun,
     His meaning struck her ere his words begun.

     And at his look she flatly falleth down,
     For looks kill love and love by looks reviveth;
     A smile recures the wounding of a frown;
     But blessed bankrupt, that by love so thriveth!
     The silly boy, believing she is dead,
     Claps her pale cheek, till clapping makes it red;

     And all amazed brake off his late intent,
     For sharply he did think to reprehend her,
     Which cunning love did wittily prevent:
     Fair fall the wit that can so well defend her!
     For on the grass she lies as she were slain,
     Till his breath breatheth life in her again.

     He wrings her nose, he strikes her on the cheeks,
     He bends her fingers, holds her pulses hard,
     He chafes her lips; a thousand ways he seeks
     To mend the hurt that his unkindness marr'd:
     He kisses her; and she, by her good will,
     Will never rise, so he will kiss her still.

     The night of sorrow now is turn'd to day:
     Her two blue windows faintly she up-heaveth,
     Like the fair sun, when in his fresh array
     He cheers the morn and all the earth relieveth;
     And as the bright sun glorifies the sky,
     So is her face illumined with her eye;

     Whose beams upon his hairless face are fix'd,
     As if from thence they borrow'd all their shine.
     Were never four such lamps together mix'd,
     Had not his clouded with his brow's repine;
     But hers, which through the crystal tears gave light,
     Shone like the moon in water seen by night.

     'O, where am I?' quoth she, 'in earth or heaven,
     Or in the ocean drench'd, or in the fire?
     What hour is this? or morn or weary even?
     Do I delight to die, or life desire?
     But now I lived, and life was death's annoy;
     But now I died, and death was lively joy.

     'O, thou didst kill me: kill me once again:
     Thy eyes' shrewd tutor, that hard heart of thine,
     Hath taught them scornful tricks and such disdain
     That they have murder'd this poor heart of mine;
     And these mine eyes, true leaders to their queen,
     But for thy piteous lips no more had seen.

     'Long may they kiss each other, for this cure!
     O, never let their crimson liveries wear!
     And as they last, their verdure still endure,
     To drive infection from the dangerous year!
     That the star-gazers, having writ on death,
     May say, the plague is banish'd by thy breath.

     'Pure lips, sweet seals in my soft lips imprinted,
     What bargains may I make, still to be sealing?
     To sell myself I can be well contented,
     So thou wilt buy and pay and use good dealing;
     Which purchase if thou make, for fear of slips
     Set thy seal-manual on my wax-red lips.

     'A thousand kisses buys my heart from me;
     And pay them at thy leisure, one by one.
     What is ten hundred touches unto thee?
     Are they not quickly told and quickly gone?
     Say, for non-payment that the debt should double,
     Is twenty hundred kisses such a trouble?

     'Fair queen,' quoth he, 'if any love you owe me,
     Measure my strangeness with my unripe years:
     Before I know myself, seek not to know me;
     No fisher but the ungrown fry forbears:
     The mellow plum doth fall, the green sticks fast,
     Or being early pluck'd is sour to taste.

     'Look, the world's comforter, with weary gait,
     His day's hot task hath ended in the west;
     The owl, night's herald, shrieks, ''Tis very late;'
     The sheep are gone to fold, birds to their nest,
     And coal-black clouds that shadow heaven's light
     Do summon us to part and bid good night.

     'Now let me say 'Good night,' and so say you;
     If you will say so, you shall have a kiss.'
     'Good night,' quoth she, and, ere he says 'Adieu,'
     The honey fee of parting tender'd is:
     Her arms do lend his neck a sweet embrace;
     Incorporate then they seem; face grows to face.

     Till, breathless, he disjoin'd, and backward drew
     The heavenly moisture, that sweet coral mouth,
     Whose precious taste her thirsty lips well knew,
     Whereon they surfeit, yet complain on drouth:
     He with her plenty press'd, she faint with dearth
     Their lips together glued, fall to the earth.

     Now quick desire hath caught the yielding prey,
     And glutton-like she feeds, yet never filleth;
     Her lips are conquerors, his lips obey,
     Paying what ransom the insulter willeth;
     Whose vulture thought doth pitch the price so high,
     That she will draw his lips' rich treasure dry:

     And having felt the sweetness of the spoil,
     With blindfold fury she begins to forage;
     Her face doth reek and smoke, her blood doth boil,
     And careless lust stirs up a desperate courage,
     Planting oblivion, beating reason back,
     Forgetting shame's pure blush and honour's wrack.

     Hot, faint, and weary, with her hard embracing,
     Like a wild bird being tamed with too much handling,
     Or as the fleet-foot roe that's tired with chasing,
     Or like the froward infant still'd with dandling,
     He now obeys, and now no more resisteth,
     While she takes all she can, not all she listeth.

     What wax so frozen but dissolves with tempering,
     And yields at last to every light impression?
     Things out of hope are compass'd oft with venturing,
     Chiefly in love, whose leave exceeds commission:
     Affection faints not like a pale-faced coward,
     But then woos best when most his choice is froward.

     When he did frown, O, had she then gave over,
     Such nectar from his lips she had not suck'd.
     Foul words and frowns must not repel a lover;
     What though the rose have prickles, yet 'tis pluck'd:
     Were beauty under twenty locks kept fast,
     Yet love breaks through and picks them all at last.

     For pity now she can no more detain him;
     The poor fool prays her that he may depart:
     She is resolved no longer to restrain him;
     Bids him farewell, and look well to her heart,
     The which, by Cupid's bow she doth protest,
     He carries thence incaged in his breast.

     'Sweet boy,' she says, 'this night I'll waste in sorrow,
     For my sick heart commands mine eyes to watch.
     Tell me, Love's master, shall we meet to-morrow?
     Say, shall we? shall we? wilt thou make the match?'
     He tells her, no; to-morrow he intends
>> To hunt the boar with certain of his friends.

>>'The boar!' quoth she; whereat a sudden pale,
     Like lawn being spread upon the blushing rose,
     Usurps her cheek; she trembles at his tale,
     And on his neck her yoking arms she throws:
     She sinketh down, still hanging by his neck,
     He on her belly falls, she on her back.

     Now is she in the very lists of love,
     Her champion mounted for the hot encounter:
     All is imaginary she doth prove,
     He will not manage her, although he mount her;
     That worse than Tantalus' is her annoy,
     To clip Elysium and to lack her joy.

     Even as poor birds, deceived with painted grapes,
     Do surfeit by the eye and pine the maw,
     Even so she languisheth in her mishaps,
     As those poor birds that helpless berries saw.
     The warm effects which she in him finds missing
     She seeks to kindle with continual kissing.

     But all in vain; good queen, it will not be:
     She hath assay'd as much as may be proved;
     Her pleading hath deserved a greater fee;
     She's Love, she loves, and yet she is not loved.
     'Fie, fie,' he says, 'you crush me; let me go;
     You have no reason to withhold me so.'

     'Thou hadst been gone,' quoth she, 'sweet boy, ere this,
>> But that thou told'st me thou wouldst hunt the boar.
     O, be advised! thou know'st not what it is
     With javelin's point a churlish swine to gore,
     Whose tushes never sheathed he whetteth still,
     Like to a mortal butcher bent to kill.

     'On his bow-back he hath a battle set
     Of bristly pikes, that ever threat his foes;
     His eyes, like glow-worms, shine when he doth fret;
     His snout digs sepulchres where'er he goes;
     Being moved, he strikes whate'er is in his way,
     And whom he strikes his cruel tushes slay.

     'His brawny sides, with hairy bristles arm'd,
     Are better proof than thy spear's point can enter;
     His short thick neck cannot be easily harm'd;
     Being ireful, on the lion he will venture:
     The thorny brambles and embracing bushes,
     As fearful of him, part, through whom he rushes.

     'Alas, he nought esteems that face of thine,
     To which Love's eyes pay tributary gazes;
     Nor thy soft hands, sweet lips and crystal eyne,
     Whose full perfection all the world amazes;
     But having thee at vantage,--wondrous dread!--
     Would root these beauties as he roots the mead.

     'O, let him keep his loathsome cabin still;
     Beauty hath nought to do with such foul fiends:
     Come not within his danger by thy will;
     They that thrive well take counsel of their friends.
>> When thou didst name the boar, not to dissemble,
     I fear'd thy fortune, and my joints did tremble.

     'Didst thou not mark my face? was it not white?
     Saw'st thou not signs of fear lurk in mine eye?
     Grew I not faint? and fell I not downright?
     Within my bosom, whereon thou dost lie,
     My boding heart pants, beats, and takes no rest,
     But, like an earthquake, shakes thee on my breast.

     'For where Love reigns, disturbing Jealousy
     Doth call himself Affection's sentinel;
     Gives false alarms, suggesteth mutiny,
     And in a peaceful hour doth cry 'Kill, kill!'
     Distempering gentle Love in his desire,
     As air and water do abate the fire.

     'This sour informer, this bate-breeding spy,
     This canker that eats up Love's tender spring,
     This carry-tale, dissentious Jealousy,
     That sometime true news, sometime false doth bring,
     Knocks at my heat and whispers in mine ear
     That if I love thee, I thy death should fear:

     'And more than so, presenteth to mine eye
>> The picture of an angry-chafing boar,
     Under whose sharp fangs on his back doth lie
     An image like thyself, all stain'd with gore;
     Whose blood upon the fresh flowers being shed
     Doth make them droop with grief and hang the head.

     'What should I do, seeing thee so indeed,
     That tremble at the imagination?
     The thought of it doth make my faint heart bleed,
     And fear doth teach it divination:
     I prophesy thy death, my living sorrow,
>> If thou encounter with the boar to-morrow.

     'But if thou needs wilt hunt, be ruled by me;
     Uncouple at the timorous flying hare,
     Or at the fox which lives by subtlety,
     Or at the roe which no encounter dare:
     Pursue these fearful creatures o'er the downs,
     And on thy well-breath'd horse keep with thy hounds.

Hmmm. Guess what Adonis does. Will he hunt the boar? Or will he be ruled by Venus and remain safe and cozy with the goddess of Love? What do you think? What would you do?

From Venus and Adonis, by William Shakespeare. Available in full on the web at MIT's Shakespeare Server. The server's home page has the complete works, a search engine for full text searches, a discussion area, Shakespeare resources on the 'net, a FAQ and chronoligical listing of the plays, and a link to Bartlett's familiar Shakespeare uotations. Wild, indeed!

Back to some favorite poems, the Reading Room at the Phoenix Bar & Grille, or my gateway to the Boar Ring.

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