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

Venus and Adonis (Quarto 1, 1592-3)

It shall be sparing, and too full of ryot,
Teaching decrepit age to tread the measures,
The staring ruffian shall it keepe in quiet,
1150Pluck down the rich, in rich the poore with treasures,
It shall be raging mad, and sillie milde,
Make the yoong old, the old become a childe.
It shall suspect where is no cause of feare,
It shall not feare where it should most mistrust,
1155It shall be mercifull, and too seueare,
And most deceiuing, when it seemes most iust,
Peruerse it shall be, where it showes most toward,
Put feare to valour, courage to the coward.
It shall be cause of warre, and dire euents,
1160And set dissention twixt the sonne, and sire,
Subiect, and seruill to all discontents:
As drie combustious matter is to fire,
Sith in his prime, death doth my loue destroy,
They that loue best, their loues shall not enioy.
1165By this the boy that by her side laie kild,
VVas melted like a vapour from her sight,
And in his blood that on the ground laie spild,
A purple floure sproong vp, checkred with white,
Resembling well his pale cheekes, and the blood,
1170VVhich in round drops, vpō their whitenesse stood.
She bowes her head, the new-sprong floure to smel,
Comparing it to her Adonis breath,
And saies within her bosome it shall dwell,
Since he himselfe is reft from her by death;
1175She crop's the stalke, and in the breach appeares,
Green-dropping sap, which she cōpares to teares.