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About this text

  • Title: Venus and Adonis (Quarto 1, 1593)
  • 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 (Quarto 1, 1593)


    As burning feauers, agues pale, and faint,
    740Life-poysoning pestilence, and frendzies wood,
    The marrow-eating sicknesse whose attaint,
    Disorder breeds by heating of the blood,
    Surfets, impostumes, griefe, and damnd dispaire,
    Sweare natures death, for framing thee so faire.

    745And not the least of all these maladies,
    But in one minutes fight brings beautie vnder,
    Both fauor, sauour, hew, and qualities,
    VVhereat the th'impartiall gazer late did wonder,
    Are on the sudden wasted, thawed, and donne,
    750 As mountain snow melts with the midday sonne.

    Therefore despight of fruitlesse chastitie,
    Loue-lacking vestals, and selfe-louing Nuns,
    That on the earth would breed a scarcitie,
    And barraine dearth of daughters, and of suns;
    755 Be prodigall, the lampe that burnes by night,
    Dries vp his oyle, to lend the world his light.

    VVhat is thy bodie but a swallowing graue,
    Seeming to burie that posteritie,
    VVhich by the rights of time thou needs must haue,
    760If thou destroy them not in darke obscuritie?
    If so the world will hold thee indisdaine,
    Sith in thy pride, so faire a hope is slaine.