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

Venus and Adonis (Modern)

"What canst thou talk?" quoth she. "Hast thou a tongue?
O, would thou hadst not, or I had no hearing.
Thy mermaid's voice hath done me double wrong.
430I had my load before, now pressed with bearing,
Melodious discord, heavenly tune harsh sounding,
Ears' deep sweet music, and heart's deep sore wounding.
"Had I no eyes but ears, my ears would love
That inward beauty and invisible;
435Or were I deaf, thy outward parts would move
Each part in me that were but sensible.
Though neither eyes nor ears, to hear nor see,
Yet should I be in love by touching thee.
"Say that the sense of feeling were bereft me,
440And that I could not see, nor hear, nor touch,
And nothing but the very smell were left me,
Yet would my love to thee be still as much;
For from the stillitory of thy face excelling
Comes breath perfumed that breedeth love by smelling.
445"But, O, what banquet wert thou to the taste,
Being nurse and feeder of the other four.
Would they not wish the feast might ever last
And bid suspicion double lock the door
Lest jealousy, that sour unwelcome guest,
450Should by his stealing in disturb the feast?"
Once more the ruby-colored portal opened,
Which to his speech did honey passage yield,
Like a red morn that ever yet betokened
Wrack to the sea-man, tempest to the field,
455Sorrow to shepherds, woe unto the birds,
Gusts and foul flaws to herdmen and to herds.