Internet Shakespeare Editions

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

Venus and Adonis (Modern)

He looks upon his love and neighs unto her;
She answers him as if she knew his mind.
Being proud, as females are, to see him woo her,
310She puts on outward strangeness, seems unkind,
Spurns at his love, and scorns the heat he feels,
Beating his kind embracements with her heels.
Then, like a melancholy malcontent,
He vails his tail that, like a falling plume,
315Cool shadow to his melting buttock lent.
He stamps and bites the poor flies in his fume.
His love perceiving how he was enraged,
Grew kinder, and his fury was assuaged.
His testy master goeth about to take him,
320When, lo, the unbacked breeder, full of fear,
Jealous of catching, swiftly doth forsake him;
With her the horse, and left Adonis there.
As they were mad, unto the wood they hie them,
Outstripping crows that strive to overfly them.
325All swollen with chafing, down Adonis sits,
Banning his boist'rous and unruly beast;
And now the happy season once more fits
That lovesick love by pleading may be blest;
For lovers say the heart hath treble wrong
330When it is barred the aidance of the tongue.
An oven that is stopped, or river stayed,
Burneth more hotly, swelleth with more rage.
So of concealèd sorrow may be said
Free vent of words love's fire doth assuage;
335But when the heart's attorney once is mute,
The client breaks, as desperate in his suit.