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

Venus and Adonis (Quarto 1, 1592-3)

The tender spring vpon thy tempting lip,
Shewes thee vnripe; yet maist thou well be tasted,
Make vse of time, let not aduantage slip,
130Beautie within it selfe should not bewasted,
Faire flowers that are not gathred in their prime,
Rot, and consume them selues in litle time.
VVere I hard-fauourd, foule, or wrinckled old,
Il-nurtur'd, crooked, churlish, harsh invoice,
135Ore-worne, despised, reumatique, and cold,
Thick-sighted, barren, leane, and lacking iuyce;
Thē mightst thou pause, forthē I were not for thee,
But hauing no defects, why doest abhor me?
Thou canst not see one wrinckle in my brow,
140Mine eyes are grey, and bright, & quicke in turning:
My beautie as the spring doth yearelie grow,
My flesh is soft, and plumpe, my marrow burning,
My smooth moist hand, were it with thy hand felt,
VVould in thy palme dissolue, or seeme to melt.
145Bid me discourse, I will inchaunt thine eare,
Or like a Fairie, trip vpon the greene,
Or like a Nimph, with long disheueled heare,
Daunce on the sands, and yet no footing seene.
Loue is a spirit all compact of fire,
150Not grosse to sinke, but light, and will aspire.
VVitnesse this Primrose banke whereon I lie,
These forcelesse flowers like sturdy trees support me:
Two strēgthles doues will draw me through the skie,
From morne till night, euen where I list to sport me.
155Is loue so light sweet boy, and may it be,
That thou should thinke it heauie vnto thee?