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

Venus and Adonis (Modern)


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.
"No, no," quoth she, "sweet death, I did but jest.
Yet pardon me, I felt a kind of fear
When as I met the boar, that bloody beast,
1000Which knows no pity but is still severe.
Then, gentle shadow, truth I must confess,
I railed on thee, fearing my love's decease.
"'Tis not my fault; the boar provoked my tongue.
Be wreaked on him, invisible commander.
1005'Tis he, foul creature, that hath done thee wrong.
I did but act; he's author of thy slander.
Grief hath two tongues, and never woman yet
Could rule them both without ten women's wit."
Thus hoping that Adonis is alive,
1010Her rash suspect she doth extenuate;
And that his beauty may the better thrive,
With death she humbly doth insinuate;
Tells him of trophies, statues, tombs, and stories
His victories, his triumphs, and his glories.
1015"O Jove," quoth she, "how much a fool was I
To be of such a weak and silly mind
To wail his death who lives and must not die
Till mutual overthrow of mortal kind.
For he being dead, with him is beauty slain;
1020And beauty dead, black chaos comes again.