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

Venus and Adonis (Quarto 1, 1592-3)

Variable passions throng her constant wo,
As striuing who should best become her griefe,
All entertaind, ech passion labours so,
970That euerie present sorrow seemeth chiefe,
But none is best, then ioyne they all together,
Like many clouds, consulting for foule weather.
By this farre off, she heares some huntsman hallow,
A nourses song nere pleasd her babe so well,
975The dyre imagination she did follow,
This sound of hope doth labour to expell,
For now reuiuing ioy bids her reioyce,
And flatters her, it is Adonis voyce.
VVhereat her teares began to turne their tide,
980Being prisond in her eye: like pearles in glasse,
Yet sometimes fals an orient drop beside,
VVhich her cheeke melts, as scorning it should passe
To wash the foule face of the sluttish ground,
VVho is but dronken when she seemeth drownd.
985O hard beleeuing loue how strange it seemes!
Not to beleeue, and yet too credulous:
Thy weale, and wo, are both of them extreames,
Despaire, and hope, makes thee ridiculous.
The one doth flatter thee in thoughts vnlikely,
990In likely thoughts the other kils thee quickly.
Now she vnweaues the web that she hath wrought,
Adonis liues, and death is not to blame:
It was not she that cald him all to nought;
Now she ads honours to his hatefull name.
995She clepes him king of graues, & graue for kings,
Imperious supreme of all mortall things.