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

Venus and Adonis (Quarto 1, 1592-3)

VVhat haue you vrg'd, that I can not reproue?
The path is smooth that leadeth on to danger,
I hate not loue, but your deuise in loue,
790That lends imbracements vnto euery stranger,
You do it for increase, ô straunge excuse!
VVhen reason is the bawd to lusts abuse.
Call it not loue, for loue to heauen is fled,
Since sweating lust on earth vsurpt his name,
795Vnder whose simple semblance he hath fed,
Vpon fresh beautie, blotting it with blame;
VVhich the hot tyrant staines, & soone bereaues:
As Caterpillers do the tender leaues.
Loue comforteth like sun-shine after raine,
800But lusts effect is tempest after sunne,
Loues gentle spring doth alwayes fresh remaine,
Lusts winter comes, ere sommer halfe be donne:
Loue surfets not, lust like a glutton dies:
Loue is all truth, lust full of forged lies.
805More I could tell, but more I dare not say,
The text is old, the Orator too greene,
Therefore in sadnesse, now I will away,
My face is full of shame, my heart of teene,
Mine eares that to your wanton talke attended,
810Do burne them selues, for hauing so offended.
VVith this he breaketh from the sweet embrace,
Of those faire armes which bound him to her brest,
And homeward through the dark lawnd runs apace,
Leaues loue vpon her backe, deeply distrest,
815Looke how a bright star shooteth from the skye;
So glides he in the night from Venus eye.