Internet Shakespeare Editions

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)

    His ears up-pricked, his braided hanging mane
    Upon his compassed crest now stand on end;
    His nostrils drink the air, and forth again,
    As from a furnace, vapors doth he send.
    275 His eye, which scornfully glisters like fire,
    Shows his hot courage and his high desire.
    Sometime he trots, as if he told the steps,
    With gentle majesty and modest pride.
    Anon he rears upright, curvets, and leaps,
    280As who should say, "Lo, thus my strength is tried,
    And this I do to captivate the eye
    Of the fair breeder that is standing by."
    What recketh he his rider's angry stir,
    His flattering "Holla," or his "Stand, I say"?
    285What cares he now for curb or pricking spur,
    For rich caparisons or trappings gay?
    He sees his love, and nothing else he sees,
    For nothing else with his proud sight agrees.
    Look when a painter would surpass the life
    290In limning out a well-proportioned steed,
    His art with nature's workmanship at strife,
    As if the dead the living should exceed,
    So did this horse excel a common one
    In shape, in courage, color, pace, and bone.
    295Round-hoofed, short-jointed, fetlocks shag and long,
    Broad breast, full eye, small head, and nostril wide,
    High crest, short ears, straight legs, and passing strong,
    Thin mane, thick tail, broad buttock, tender hide:
    Look what a horse should have he did not lack,
    300 Save a proud rider on so proud a back.