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

Venus and Adonis (Modern)

"A thousand kisses buys my heart from me,
And pay them at thy leisure, one by one.
What is ten hundred touches unto thee?
520Are they not quickly told and quickly gone?
Say for non-payment that the debt should double,
Is twenty hundred kisses such a trouble?"
"Fair queen," quoth he, "if any love you owe me,
Measure my strangeness with my unripe years.
525Before I know myself, seek not to know me.
No fisher but the ungrown fry forbears.
The mellow plum doth fall; the green sticks fast,
Or, being early plucked, is sour to taste.
"Look, the world's comforter with weary gait
530His day's hot task hath ended in the west;
The owl, night's herald, shrieks, 'tis very late;
The sheep are gone to fold, birds to their nest,
And coal-black clouds, that shadow heaven's light,
Do summon us to part and bid good night.
535"Now, let me say good night, and so say you;
If you will say so, you shall have a kiss."
"Good night," quoth she, and ere he says adieu,
The honey fee of parting tendered is.
Her arms do lend his neck a sweet embrace.
540Incorporate then they seem; face grows to face.
Till breathless he disjoined and backward drew
The heavenly moisture, that sweet coral mouth,
Whose precious taste her thirsty lips well knew,
Whereon they surfeit, yet complain on drought.
545He with her plenty pressed, she faint with dearth,
Their lips together glued, fall to the earth.