Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: Venus and Adonis (Quarto 1, 1593)
  • 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 (Quarto 1, 1593)

    It shall be fickle, false, and full of fraud,
    Bud, and be blasted, in a breathing while,
    The bottome poyson, and the top ore-strawd
    With sweets, that shall the truest sight beguile,
    1145 The strongest bodie shall it make most weake,
    Strike the wise dūbe, & teach the foole to speake.
    It shall be sparing, and too full of ryot,
    Teaching decrepit age to tread the measures,
    The staring ruffian shall it keepe in quiet,
    1150Pluck down the rich, in rich the poore with treasures,
    It shall be raging mad, and sillie milde,
    Make the yoong old, the old become a childe.
    It shall suspect where is no cause of feare,
    It shall not feare where it should most mistrust,
    1155It shall be mercifull, and too seueare,
    And most deceiuing, when it seemes most iust,
    Peruerse it shall be, where it showes most toward,
    Put feare to valour, courage to the coward.
    It shall be cause of warre, and dire euents,
    1160And set dissention twixt the sonne, and sire,
    Subiect, and seruill to all discontents:
    As drie combustious matter is to fire,
    Sith in his prime, death doth my loue destroy,
    They that loue best, their loues shall not enioy.
    1165By this the boy that by her side laie kild,
    Was melted like a vapour from her sight,
    And in his blood that on the ground laie spild,
    A purple floure sproong vp, checkred with white,
    Resembling well his pale cheekes, and the blood,
    1170 Which in round drops, vpō their whitenesse stood.