Internet Shakespeare Editions

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

Venus and Adonis (Quarto 1, 1593)

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.
So in thy selfe, thy selfe art made away,
A mischiefe worse then ciuill home-bred strife,
765Or theirs whose desperat hands them selues do slay,
Or butcher sire, that reaues his sonne of life:
Foule cankring rust, the hidden treasure frets,
But gold that's put to vse more gold begets.
Nay then (quoth Adon) you will fall againe,
770Into your idle ouer-handled theame,
The kisse I gaue you is bestow'd in vaine,
And all in vaine you striue against the streame,
For by this black-fac't night, desires foule nourse,
Your treatise makes me like you, worse & worse.
775If loue haue lent you twentie thousand tongues,
And euerie tongue more mouing then your owne,
Bewitching like the wanton Marmaids songs,
Yet from mine eare the tempting tune is blowne,
For know my heart stands armed in mine eare,
780 And will not let a false sound enter there.