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

Venus and Adonis (Modern)


"The tender spring upon thy tempting lip
Shows thee unripe, yet mayst thou well be tasted.
Make use of time; let not advantage slip.
130Beauty within itself should not be wasted.
Fair flowers that are not gathered in their prime
Rot and consume themselves in little time.
"Were I hard-favored, foul, or wrinkled old,
Ill-nurtured, crooked, churlish, harsh in voice,
135O'er-worn, despisèd, rheumatic, and cold,
Thick-sighted, barren, lean, and lacking juice,
Then mightst thou pause, for then I were not for thee;
But having no defects, why dost abhor me?
"Thou canst not see one wrinkle in my brow.
140Mine eyes are gray and bright and quick in turning.
My beauty as the spring doth yearly grow.
My flesh is soft and plump, my marrow burning.
My smooth moist hand, were it with thy hand felt,
Would in thy palm dissolve, or seem to melt.
145"Bid me discourse, I will enchant thine ear;
Or like a fairy, trip upon the green;
Or like a nymph, with long disheveled hair,
Dance on the sands, and yet no footing seen.
Love is a spirit all compact of fire,
150Not gross to sink, but light, and will aspire.
"Witness this primrose bank whereon I lie;
These forceless flowers like sturdy trees support me.
Two strengthless doves will draw me through the sky
From morn till night, even where I list to sport me.
155Is love so light, sweet boy, and may it be
That thou should think it heavy unto thee?