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About this text

  • Title: Venus and Adonis (Modern)
  • Editor: Hardy M. Cook
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-411-0

    Copyright Internet Shakespeare Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-proift purposes; for all other uses contact the Coordinating Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Hardy M. Cook
    Peer Reviewed

    Venus and Adonis (Modern)

    "But if thou fall, O, then imagine this,
    The earth, in love with thee, thy footing trips,
    And all is but to rob thee of a kiss.
    Rich preys make true men thieves; so do thy lips
    725 Make modest Dian cloudy and forlorn,
    Lest she should steal a kiss and die forsworn.
    "Now of this dark night I perceive the reason.
    Cynthia, for shame, obscures her silver shine
    Till forging nature be condemned of treason
    730For stealing molds from heaven that were divine,
    Wherein she framed thee, in high heaven's despite,
    To shame the sun by day and her by night.
    "And therefore hath she bribed the destinies
    To cross the curious workmanship of nature,
    735To mingle beauty with infirmities
    And pure perfection with impure defeature,
    Making it subject to the tyranny
    Of mad mischances and much misery;
    "As burning fevers, agues pale and faint,
    740Life-poisoning pestilence, and frenzies wood,
    The marrow-eating sickness whose attaint
    Disorder breeds by heating of the blood;
    Surfeits, impostumes, grief, and damned despair
    Swear nature's death for framing thee so fair.
    745"And not the least of all these maladies
    But in one minute's fight brings beauty under.
    Both favor, savor, hue, and qualities,
    Whereat th' impartial gazer late did wonder,
    Are on the sudden wasted, thawed, and done,
    750 As mountain snow melts with the midday sun.