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

Venus and Adonis (Modern)


When he did frown, O, had she then gave over,
Such nectar from his lips she had not sucked.
Foul words and frowns must not repel a lover.
What though the rose have prickles, yet 'tis plucked.
575Were beauty under twenty locks kept fast,
Yet love breaks through and picks them all at last.
For pity now she can no more detain him.
The poor fool prays her that he may depart.
She is resolved no longer to restrain him,
580Bids him farewell and look well to her heart,
The which, by Cupid's bow she doth protest,
He carries thence encagèd in his breast.
"Sweet boy," she says, "this night I'll waste in sorrow,
For my sick heart commands mine eyes to watch.
585Tell me, love's master, shall we meet tomorrow?
Say, shall we, shall we? Wilt thou make the match?"
He tells her, "No." Tomorrow he intends
To hunt the boar with certain of his friends.
"The boar!" quoth she. Whereat a sudden pale,
590Like lawn being spread upon the blushing rose,
Usurps her cheek; she trembles at his tale,
And on his neck her yoking arms she throws.
She sinketh down, still hanging by his neck.
He on her belly falls; she on her back.
595Now is she in the very lists of love,
Her champion mounted for the hot encounter.
All is imaginary she doth prove.
He will not manage her, although he mount her;
That worse than Tantalus' is her annoy,
600To clip Elysium and to lack her joy.