O dear Phoebe,
If ever—as that ever may be near—
30You meet in some fresh cheek the power of fancy,
Then shall you know the wounds invisible
That love’s keen arrows make.
Oh, darling Phoebe, if you ever fall in love with some fresh face, then you’ll know about the invisible wounds that love’s sharp arrows can make.
But till that time
Come not thou near me. And when that time comes,
35Afflict me with thy mocks, pity me not,
As till that time I shall not pity thee.
Well, until that time, don’t come near me. And when that time comes, then you can mock me, but please don’t pity me, because I won’t pity you.
(advancing, as Ganymede) And why, I pray you? Who might be your mother,
That you insult, exult, and all at once,
40Over the wretched? What though you have no beauty—
As, by my faith, I see no more in you
Than without candle may go dark to bed—
Must you be therefore proud and pitiless?
Why, what means this? Why do you look on me?
45I see no more in you than in the ordinary
Of nature’s sale-work.—'Od’s my little life,
I think she means to tangle my eyes, too.
—No, faith, proud mistress, hope not after it.
'Tis not your inky brows, your black silk hair,
50Your bugle eyeballs, nor your cheek of cream
That can entame my spirits to your worship.
—You foolish shepherd, wherefore do you follow her,
Like foggy south puffing with wind and rain?
You are a thousand times a properer man
55Than she a woman. 'Tis such fools as you
That makes the world full of ill-favored children.
'Tis not her glass but you that flatters her,
And out of you she sees herself more proper
Than any of her lineaments can show her.
60—But, mistress, know yourself. Down on your knees
And thank heaven, fasting, for a good man’s love,
For I must tell you friendly in your ear,
Sell when you can; you are not for all markets.
Cry the man mercy, love him, take his offer.
65Foul is most foul, being foul to be a scoffer.
—So take her to thee, shepherd. Fare you well.
(coming forward, speaking as Ganymede) And why, please tell me? Is your mother a goddess that you would insult a wretched man, and exult over the injury you’ve caused him, all at the same time? You’re not beautiful—really, you’re not so pretty that you could go to bed with the lights on—so why must you act so proud and pitiless? Wait a minute, what’s going on? Why are you looking at me like that? I don’t see anything in you but nature’s usual handiwork.—Oh, for God’s sake, I think she also wants me to fall in love with her. No, proud woman, don’t hope for that. Not even your black eyebrows, your silky black hair, your beady black eyeballs, or your yellowish-white complexion can make me worship you. You foolish shepherd: why are you following her, raining tears and puffing hot air like a foggy south wind? You are a thousand times better than she. It’s fools like you who, marrying badly, fill the world with ugly children. It’s not her mirror but you who insists she’s beautiful. The image of herself that she gets from you is better than her actual features.