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

Venus and Adonis (Modern)

"Thrice fairer than myself," thus she began,
"The field's chief flower, sweet above compare,
Stain to all nymphs, more lovely than a man,
10More white and red than doves or roses are.
Nature that made thee with herself at strife
Saith that the world hath ending with thy life.
"Vouchsafe, thou wonder, to alight thy steed
And rein his proud head to the saddlebow.
15If thou wilt deign this favor, for thy meed
A thousand honey secrets shalt thou know.
Here come and sit, where never serpent hisses,
And being set, I'll smother thee with kisses.
"And yet not cloy thy lips with loathed satiety,
20But rather famish them amid their plenty,
Making them red and pale with fresh variety;
Ten kisses short as one, one long as twenty.
A summer's day will seem an hour but short,
Being wasted in such time-beguiling sport."
25With this she seizeth on his sweating palm,
The precedent of pith and livelihood,
And trembling in her passion, calls it balm,
Earth's sovereign salve, to do a goddess good.
Being so enraged, desire doth lend her force
30Courageously to pluck him from his horse.
Over one arm the lusty courser's rein,
Under her other was the tender boy,
Who blushed and pouted in a dull disdain,
With leaden appetite, unapt to toy;
35She red and hot as coals of glowing fire,
He red for shame, but frosty in desire.