Internet Shakespeare Editions

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

Venus and Adonis (Modern)

Once more the ruby-colored portal opened,
Which to his speech did honey passage yield,
Like a red morn that ever yet betokened
Wrack to the sea-man, tempest to the field,
455 Sorrow to shepherds, woe unto the birds,
Gusts and foul flaws to herdmen and to herds.
This ill presage advisedly she marketh.
Even as the wind is hushed before it raineth,
Or as the wolf doth grin before he barketh,
460Or as the berry breaks before it staineth,
Or like the deadly bullet of a gun,
His meaning struck her ere his words begun.
And at his look she flatly falleth down,
For looks kill love, and love by looks reviveth.
465A smile recures the wounding of a frown,
But blessèd bankrupt that by love so thriveth.
The silly boy, believing she is dead,
Claps her pale cheek till clapping makes it red.
And, all amazed, brake off his late intent,
470For sharply he did think to reprehend her,
Which cunning love did wittily prevent.
Fair fall the wit that can so well defend her;
For on the grass she lies as she were slain,
Till his breath breatheth life in her again.
475He wrings her nose, he strikes her on the cheeks,
He bends her fingers, holds her pulses hard;
He chafes her lips; a thousand ways he seeks
To mend the hurt that his unkindness marred.
He kisses her, and she, by her good will,
480 Will never rise, so he will kiss her still.