The barge she sat in, like a burnish'd Throne
Burnt on the water : the poop was beaten gold,
Purple the sails : and so perfumed that
The winds were love-sick.
With them the oars were silver,
Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made
The water which they beat, to follow faster ;
As amorous of their strokes. For her own person,
It beggar'd all description, she did lie
In her pavilion, cloth of gold, of tissue,
O'er-picturing that Venus, where we see
The fancy out-work Nature. On each side her,
Stood pretty dimpled boys, like smiling Cupids,
With divers colour'd fans whose wind did seem,
To glow the delicate cheeks which they did cool,
And what they undid did.
Her gentlewomen, like the Nereides,
So many mermaids tended her i'th'eyes,
And made their bends adornings. At the helm,
A seeming mermaid steers : the silken tackle,
Swell with the touches of those flower-soft hands,
That yarely frame the office. From the barge
A strange invisible perfume hits the sense
Of the adjacent wharfs.
SHAKESPEARE, The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra (Act Two, Scene Two).