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

Venus and Adonis (Quarto 1, 1592-3)

VVhat should I do, seeing thee so indeed?
That tremble at th'imagination,
The thought of it doth make my faint heart bleed,
670And feare doth teach it diuination;
I prophecie thy death, my liuing sorrow,
If thou incounter with the boare to morrow.
But if thou needs wilt hunt, be rul'd by me,
Vncouple at the timerous flying hare,
675Or at the foxe which liues by subtiltie,
Or at the Roe which no incounter dare:
Pursue these fearfull creatures o're the downes,
And on thy wel breathd horse keep with thy hoūds
And when thou hast on foote the purblind hare,
680Marke the poore wretch to ouer-shut his troubles,
How he outruns the wind, and with what care,
He crankes and crosses with a thousand doubles,
The many musits through the which he goes,
Are like a laberinth to amaze his foes.
685Sometime he runnes among a flocke of sheepe,
To make the cunning hounds mistake their smell,
And sometime where earth-deluing Conies keepe,
To stop the loud pursuers in their yell:
And sometime sorteth with a heard of deare,
690Danger deuiseth shifts, wit waites on feare.
For there his smell with others being mingled,
The hot sent-snuffing hounds are driuen to doubt,
Ceasing their clamorous cry, till they haue singled
VVith much ado the cold fault cleanly out,
695Then do they spend their mouth's, eccho replies,
As if an other chase were in the skies.