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

Venus and Adonis (Modern)


"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?
"Is thine own heart to thine own face affected?
Can thy right hand seize love upon thy left?
Then woo thyself; be of thyself rejected;
160Steal thine own freedom; and complain on theft.
Narcissus so himself himself forsook,
And died to kiss his shadow in the brook.
"Torches are made to light, jewels to wear,
Dainties to taste, fresh beauty for the use,
165Herbs for their smell, and sappy plants to bear.
Things growing to themselves are growth's abuse,
Seeds spring from seeds, and beauty breedeth beauty.
Thou wast begot; to get it is thy duty.
"Upon the earth's increase why shouldst thou feed,
170Unless the earth with thy increase be fed?
By law of nature thou art bound to breed,
That thine may live when thou thyself art dead;
And so in spite of death thou dost survive,
In that thy likeness still is left alive."
175By this the lovesick queen began to sweat,
For where they lay the shadow had forsook them,
And Titan, tirèd in the midday heat,
With burning eye did hotly overlook them,
Wishing Adonis had his team to guide,
180So he were like him, and by Venus' side.