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

Venus and Adonis (Modern)


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?
"I have been wooed, as I entreat thee now,
Even by the stern and direful god of war,
Whose sinewy neck in battle ne'er did bow,
100Who conquers where he comes in every jar.
Yet hath he been my captive and my slave,
And begged for that which thou unasked shalt have.
"Over my altars hath he hung his lance,
His battered shield, his uncontrollèd crest,
105And for my sake hath learned to sport and dance,
To toy, to wanton, dally, smile, and jest,
Scorning his churlish drum and ensign red,
Making my arms his field, his tent my bed.
"Thus he that overruled, I overswayed,
110Leading him prisoner in a red rose chain.
Strong-tempered steel his stronger strength obeyed,
Yet was he servile to my coy disdain.
O, be not proud, nor brag not of thy might,
For mastering her that foiled the god of fight.
115"Touch but my lips with those fair lips of thine;
Though mine be not so fair, yet are they red.
The kiss shall be thine own as well as mine.
What seest thou in the ground? Hold up thy head.
Look in mine eyeballs; there thy beauty lies.
120Then why not lips on lips, since eyes in eyes?