Internet Shakespeare Editions

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.