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Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Hardy M. Cook
Peer Reviewed

Venus and Adonis (Modern)


Forced to content, but never to obey,
Panting he lies and breatheth in her face.
She feedeth on the steam as on a prey
And calls it heavenly moisture, air of grace,
65Wishing her cheeks were gardens full of flowers,
So they were dewed with such distilling showers.
Look how a bird lies tangled in a net,
So fastened in her arms Adonis lies.
Pure shame and awed resistance made him fret,
70Which bred more beauty in his angry eyes.
Rain added to a river that is rank
Perforce will force it overflow the bank.
Still she entreats, and prettily entreats,
For to a pretty ear she tunes her tale.
75Still is he sullen, still he lours and frets,
'Twixt crimson shame and anger ashy pale.
Being red, she loves him best, and being white,
Her best is bettered with a more delight.
Look how he can, she cannot choose but love,
80And by her fair immortal hand she swears
From his soft bosom never to remove
Till he take truce with her contending tears,
Which long have rained, making her cheeks all wet,
And one sweet kiss shall pay this countless debt.
85Upon this promise did he raise his chin,
Like a divedapper peering through a wave,
Who being looked on, ducks as quickly in.
So offers he to give what she did crave,
But when her lips were ready for his pay,
90He winks and turns his lips another way.