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

Venus and Adonis (Modern)

"Ay, me," quoth Venus, "young, and so unkind;
What bare excuses mak'st thou to be gone?
I'll sigh celestial breath, whose gentle wind
190Shall cool the heat of this descending sun.
I'll make a shadow for thee of my hairs;
If they burn too, I'll quench them with my tears.
"The sun that shines from heaven shines but warm,
And, lo, I lie between that sun and thee.
195The heat I have from thence doth little harm.
Thine eye darts forth the fire that burneth me;
And were I not immortal, life were done
Between this heavenly and earthly sun.
"Art thou obdurate, flinty, hard as steel?
200Nay, more than flint, for stone at rain relenteth.
Art thou a woman's son and canst not feel
What 'tis to love, how want of love tormenteth?
O, had thy mother borne so hard a mind,
She had not brought forth thee, but died unkind.
205"What am I that thou shouldst contemn me this?
Or what great danger dwells upon my suit?
What were thy lips the worse for one poor kiss?
Speak, fair, but speak fair words, or else be mute.
Give me one kiss; I'll give it thee again;
210And one for interest, if thou wilt have twain.
"Fie, lifeless picture, cold and senseless stone,
Well-painted idol, image dull and dead,
Statue contenting but the eye alone,
Thing like a man, but of no woman bred:
215Thou art no man, though of a man's complexion,
For men will kiss even by their own direction."