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

Venus and Adonis (Modern)

"If he be dead, O no, it cannot be,
Seeing his beauty, thou shouldst strike at it.
O yes, it may; thou hast no eyes to see,
940But hatefully at random dost thou hit.
Thy mark is feeble age, but thy false dart
Mistakes that aim and cleaves an infant's heart.
"Hadst thou but bid beware, then he had spoke,
And, hearing him, thy power had lost his power.
945The destinies will curse thee for this stroke.
They bid thee crop a weed; thou pluck'st a flower.
Love's golden arrow at him should have fled,
And not death's ebon dart to strike him dead.
"Dost thou drink tears, that thou provok'st such weeping?
950What may a heavy groan advantage thee?
Why hast thou cast into eternal sleeping
Those eyes that taught all other eyes to see?
Now nature cares not for thy mortal vigor
Since her best work is ruined with thy rigor."
955Here overcome, as one full of despair,
She vailed her eyelids, who like sluices stopped
The crystal tide that from her two cheeks fair
In the sweet channel of her bosom dropped;
But through the flood-gates breaks the silver rain,
960And with his strong course opens them again.
O, how her eyes and tears did lend and borrow.
Her eye seen in the tears, tears in her eye,
Both crystals, where they viewed each other's sorrow,
Sorrow that friendly sighs sought still to dry;
965But like a stormy day, now wind, now rain,
Sighs dry her cheeks, tears make them wet again.