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

Venus and Adonis (Modern)


A thousand spleens bear her a thousand ways.
She treads the path that she untreads again.
Her more than haste is mated with delays,
910Like the proceedings of a drunken brain,
Full of respects, yet naught at all respecting,
In hand with all things, naught at all effecting.
Here kenneled in a brake she finds a hound
And asks the weary caitiff for his master.
915And there another licking of his wound
'Gainst venomed sores, the only sovereign plaster;
And here she meets another, sadly scowling,
To whom she speaks, and he replies with howling.
When he hath ceased his ill resounding noise,
920Another flap-mouthed mourner, black and grim,
Against the welkin volleys out his voice.
Another and another answer him,
Clapping their proud tails to the ground below,
Shaking their scratched-ears, bleeding as they go.
925Look how the world's poor people are amazed
At apparitions, signs, and prodigies,
Whereon with fearful eyes, they long have gazed,
Infusing them with dreadful prophecies;
So she at these sad signs draws up her breath
930And, sighing it again, exclaims on death.
"Hard-favored tyrant, ugly, meager, lean,
Hateful divorce of love," thus chides she death.
"Grim-grinning ghost, earth's worm, what dost thou mean
To stifle beauty and to steal his breath,
935Who, when he lived, his breath and beauty set
Gloss on the rose, smell to the violet?