Internet Shakespeare Editions

Facsimiles of this work

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

Venus and Adonis (Modern)


Full gently now she takes him by the hand,
A lily prisoned in a jail of snow,
Or ivory in an alabaster band;
So white a friend engirds so white a foe.
365This beauteous combat, willful and unwilling,
Showed like two silver doves that sit a-billing.
Once more the engine of her thoughts began.
"O fairest mover on this mortal round,
Would thou wert as I am, and I a man,
370My heart all whole as thine, thy heart my wound.
For one sweet look thy help I would assure thee,
Though nothing but my body's bane would cure thee."
"Give me my hand," saith he. "Why dost thou feel it?"
"Give me my heart," saith she, "and thou shalt have it.
375O, give it me, lest thy hard heart do steel it,
And, being steeled, soft sighs can never grave it.
Then love's deep groans I never shall regard
Because Adonis' heart hath made mine hard."
"For shame," he cries, "let go, and let me go.
380My day's delight is past, my horse is gone,
And 'tis your fault I am bereft him so.
I pray you hence, and leave me here alone;
For all my mind, my thought, my busy care
Is how to get my palfrey from the mare."
385Thus she replies, "Thy palfrey, as he should,
Welcomes the warm approach of sweet desire.
Affection is a coal that must be cooled,
Else suffered it will set the heart on fire.
The sea hath bounds, but deep desire hath none;
390Therefore, no marvel though thy horse be gone.