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

Venus and Adonis (Modern)


Whose beams upon his hairless face are fixed,
As if from thence they borrowed all their shine.
Were never four such lamps together mixed,
490Had not his clouded with his brows repine;
But hers, which through the crystal tears gave light,
Shone like the moon in water seen by night.
"O, where am I?" quoth she, "in earth or heaven,
Or in the ocean drenched, or in the fire?
495What hour is this, or morn, or weary even?
Do I delight to die, or life desire?
But now I lived, and life was death's annoy;
But now I died, and death was lively joy.
"O thou didst kill me; kill me once again.
500Thy eyes' shrewd tutor, that hard heart of thine,
Hath taught them scornful tricks and such disdain
That they have murdered this poor heart of mine;
And these mine eyes, true leaders to their queen,
But for thy piteous lips no more had seen.
505"Long may they kiss each other for this cure.
O, never let their crimson liveries wear,
And as they last, their verdure still endure
To drive infection from the dangerous year,
That the star-gazers, having writ on death,
510May say the plague is banished by thy breath.
"Pure lips, sweet seals in my soft lips imprinted,
What bargains may I make still to be sealing?
To sell myself I can be well contented,
So thou wilt buy and pay and use good dealing,
515Which purchase if thou make, for fear of slips,
Set thy seal manual on my wax-red lips.