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

Venus and Adonis (Quarto 1, 1592-3)


VVho sees his true-loue in her naked bed,
Teaching the sheets a whiter hew then white,
But when his glutton eye so full hath fed,
400His other agents ayme at like delight?
VVho is so faint that dares not be so bold,
To touch the fier the weather being cold?
Let me excuse thy courser gentle boy,
And learne of him I heartily beseech thee,
405To take aduantage on presented ioy,
Though I were dūbe, yet his proceedings teach thee
O learne to loue, the lesson is but plaine,
And once made perfect, neuer lost againe.
I know not loue (quoth he) nor will not know it,
410Vnlesse it be a Boare, and then I chase it,
Tis much to borrow, and I will not owe it,
My loue to loue, is loue, but to disgrace it,
For I haue heard, it is a life in death,
That laughs and weeps, and all but with a breath.
415VVho weares a garment shapelesse and vnfinisht?
VVho plucks the bud before one leafe put forth?
If springing things be anie iot diminisht,
They wither in their prime, proue nothing worth,
The colt that's backt and burthend being yong,
420Loseth his pride, and neuer waxeth strong.
You hurt my hand with wringing, let vs part,
And leaue this idle theame, this bootlesse chat,
Remoue your siege from my vnyeelding hart,
To loues allarmes it will not ope the gate,
425Dismisse your vows, your fained tears, your flattry,
For where a heart is hard they make no battry.