Internet Shakespeare Editions

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

Venus and Adonis (Modern)


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.
Never did passenger in summer's heat
More thirst for drink than she for this good turn.
Her help she sees, but help she cannot get.
She bathes in water, yet her fire must burn.
95"O, pity," gan she cry, "flint-hearted boy,
'Tis but a kiss I beg; why art thou coy?