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

Venus and Adonis (Quarto 1, 1592-3)


Sometime he trots, as if he told the steps,
VVith gentle maiestie, and modest pride,
Anon he reres vpright, curuets, and leaps,
280As who should say, lo thus my strength is tride.
And this I do, to captiuate the eye,
Of the faire breeder that is standing by.
VVhat recketh he his riders angrie sturre,
His flattering holla, or his stand, I say,
285VVhat cares he now, for curbe, or pricking spurre,
For rich caparisons, or trappings gay:
He sees his loue, and nothing else he sees,
For nothing else with his proud sight agrees.
Looke when a Painter would surpasse the life,
290In limming out a well proportioned steed,
His Art with Natures workmanship at strife,
As if the dead the liuing should exceed:
So did this Horse excell a common one,
In shape, in courage, colour, pace and bone.
295Round hooft, short ioynted, fetlocks shag, and long,
Broad breast, full eye, small head, and nostrill wide,
High crest, short eares, straight legs, & passing strōg,
Thin mane, thicke taile, broad buttock, tender hide:
Looke what a Horse should haue, he did not lack,
300Saue a proud rider on so proud a back.
Sometime he scuds farre off, aud there hestares,
Anon he starts, at sturring of a feather:
To bid the wind a base he now prepares,
And where he runne, or flie, they know not whether:
305For through his mane, & taile, the high wind sings,
Fanning the haires, who waue like feathred wings.