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

Venus and Adonis (Modern)

Variable passions throng her constant woe,
As striving who should best become her grief.
All entertained, each passion labors so
970That every present sorrow seemeth chief,
But none is best; then join they all together,
Like many clouds consulting for foul weather.
By this, far off, she hears some huntsman hallow,
A nurse's song ne'er pleased her babe so well.
975The dire imagination she did follow
This sound of hope doth labor to expel;
For now reviving joy bids her rejoice
And flatters her it is Adonis' voice.
Whereat her tears began to turn their tide,
980Being prisoned in her eye like pearls in glass;
Yet sometimes falls an orient drop beside,
Which her cheek melts, as scorning it should pass,
To wash the foul face of the sluttish ground,
Who is but drunken when she seemeth drowned.
985O hard-believing love, how strange it seems
Not to believe, and yet too credulous.
Thy weal and woe are both of them extremes.
Despair and hope makes thee ridiculous.
The one doth flatter thee in thoughts unlikely;
990In likely thoughts the other kills thee quickly.
Now she unweaves the web that she hath wrought;
Adonis lives, and death is not to blame.
It was not she that called him all to naught.
Now she adds honors to his hateful name;
995She clepes him king of graves and grave for kings,
Imperious supreme of all mortal things.