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

Venus and Adonis (Modern)

"What should I do, seeing thee so indeed,
That tremble at th' imagination?
The thought of it doth make my faint heart bleed,
670And fear doth teach it divination.
I prophesy thy death, my living sorrow,
If thou encounter with the boar tomorrow.
"But if thou needs wilt hunt, be ruled by me;
Uncouple at the timorous flying hare,
675Or 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-breathed horse keep with thy hounds.
"And when thou hast on foot the purblind hare,
680Mark the poor wretch, to overshoot his troubles,
How he outruns the wind and with what care
He cranks and crosses with a thousand doubles.
The many musits through the which he goes
Are like a labyrinth to amaze his foes.
685"Sometime he runs among a flock of sheep
To make the cunning hounds mistake their smell,
And sometime where earth-delving conies keep
To stop the loud pursuers in their yell;
And sometime sorteth with a herd of deer.
690Danger deviseth shifts; wit waits on fear.
"For there his smell with others being mingled,
The hot scent-snuffing hounds are driven to doubt,
Ceasing their clamorous cry till they have singled
With much ado the cold fault cleanly out.
695Then do they spend their mouths; echo replies,
As if another chase were in the skies.