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

Venus and Adonis (Modern)


"It shall be sparing and too full of riot,
Teaching decrepit age to tread the measures.
The staring ruffian shall it keep in quiet,
1150Pluck down the rich, enrich the poor with treasures.
It shall be raging mad and silly mild,
Make the young old, the old become a child.
"It shall suspect where is no cause of fear;
It shall not fear where it should most mistrust;
1155It shall be merciful and too severe,
And most deceiving, when it seems most just.
Perverse it shall be where it shows most toward,
Put fear to valor, courage to the coward.
"It shall be cause of war and dire events,
1160And set dissention twixt the son and sire,
Subject and servile to all discontents,
As dry combustious matter is to fire.
Sith in his prime death doth my love destroy,
They that love best their loves shall not enjoy."
1165By this, the boy that by her side lay killed
Was melted like a vapor from her sight,
And in his blood that on the ground lay spilled
A purple flower sprung up, checkered with white,
Resembling well his pale cheeks and the blood
1170Which in round drops upon their whiteness stood.
She bows her head, the new-sprung flower to smell,
Comparing it to her Adonis' breath,
And says within her bosom it shall dwell,
Since he himself is reft from her by death.
1175She crops the stalk, and in the breach appears
Green-dropping sap, which she compares to tears.