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

Venus and Adonis (Quarto 1, 1592-3)

Thrise fairer then my selfe, (thus she began)
The fields chiefe flower, sweet aboue compare,
Staine to all Nimphs, more louely then a man,
10More white, and red, then doues, or roses are:
Nature that made thee with her selfe at strife,
Saith that the world hath ending with thy life.
Vouchsafe thou wonder to alight thy steed,
And raine his proud head to the saddle bow,
15If thou wilt daine this fauor, for thy meed
A thousand honie secrets shalt thou know:
Here come and sit, where neuer serpent hisses,
And being set, Ile smother thee with kisses.
And yet not cloy thy lips with loth'd sacietie,
20But rather famish them amid their plentie,
Making them red, and pale, with fresh varietie:
Ten kisses short as one, one long as twentie:
A sommers day will seeme an houre but short,
Being wasted in such time-beguiling sport.
25VVith this she ceazeth on his sweating palme,
The president of pith, and liuelyhood,
And trembling in her passion, calls it balme,
Earths soueraigne salue, to do a goddesse good,
Being so enrag'd, desire doth lend her force,
30Couragiously to plucke him from his horse.
Ouer one arme the lustie coursers raine,
Vnder her other was the tender boy,
VVho blusht, and powted in a dull disdaine,
VVith leaden appetite, vnapt to toy,
35She red, and hot, as coles of glovving fier,
He red for shame, but frostie in desier.