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

Venus and Adonis (Modern)

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.
Now quick desire hath caught the yielding prey,
And glutton-like she feeds, yet never filleth.
Her lips are conquerors, his lips obey,
550Paying what ransom the insulter willeth,
Whose vulture thought doth pitch the price so high
That she will draw his lips' rich treasure dry.
And having felt the sweetness of the spoil,
With blindfold fury she begins to forage.
555Her face doth reek and smoke, her blood doth boil,
And careless lust stirs up a desperate courage,
Planting oblivion, beating reason back,
Forgetting shame's pure blush and honor's wrack.
Hot, faint, and weary, with her hard embracing,
560Like a wild bird being tamed with too much handling,
Or as the fleet-foot roe that's tired with chasing,
Or like the froward infant stilled with dandling,
He now obeys, and now no more resisteth,
While she takes all she can, not all she listeth.
565What wax so frozen but dissolves with temp'ring
And yields at last to every light impression?
Things out of hope are compassed oft with vent'ring,
Chiefly in love, whose leave exceeds commission.
Affection faints not like a pale-faced coward
570But then woos best when most his choice is froward.