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

Venus and Adonis (Quarto 1, 1592-3)


Now of this darke night I perceiue the reason,
Cinthia for shame, obscures her siluer shine,
Till forging nature be condemn'd of treason,
730For stealing moulds from heauen, that were diuine,
VVherin she fram'd thee, in hie heauens despight,
To shame the sunne by day, and her by night.
And therefore hath she brib'd the destinies,
To crosse the curious workmanship of nature,
735To mingle beautie with infirmities,
And pure perfection with impure defeature,
Making it subiect to the tyrannie,
Of mad mischances, and much miserie.
As burning feauers, agues pale, and faint,
740Life-poysoning pestilence, and frendzies wood,
The marrow-eating sicknesse whose attaint,
Disorder breeds by heating of the blood,
Surfets, impostumes, griefe, and damnd dispaire,
Sweare natures death, for framing thee so faire.
745And not the least of all these maladies,
But in one minutes fight brings beautie vnder,
Both fauor, sauour, hew, and qualities,
VVhereat the th'impartiall gazer late did wonder,
Are on the sudden wasted, thawed, and donne,
750As mountain snow melts with the midday sonne.
Therefore despight of fruitlesse chastitie,
Loue-lacking vestals, and selfe-louing Nuns,
That on the earth would breed a scarcitie,
And barraine dearth of daughters, and of suns;
755Be prodigall, the lampe that burnes by night,
Dries vp his oyle, to lend the world his light.