Internet Shakespeare Editions

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,
Whereat 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.

What is thy bodie but a swallowing graue,
Seeming to burie that posteritie,
Which 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.