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)

    How like a iade he stood tied to the tree,
    Seruilly maisterd with a leatherne raine,
    Bnt when he saw his loue, his youths faire fee,
    He held such pettie bondage in disdaine:
    395 Throwing the base thong from his bending crest,
    Enfranchising his mouth, his backe, his brest.
    Who sees his true-loue in her naked bed,
    Teaching the sheets a whiter hew then white,
    But when his glutton eye so full hath fed,
    400His other agents ayme at like delight?
    Who is so faint that dares not be so bold,
    To touch the fier the weather being cold?
    Let me excuse thy courser gentle boy,
    And learne of him I heartily beseech thee,
    405To take aduantage on presented ioy,
    Though I were dūbe, yet his proceedings teach thee
    O learne to loue, the lesson is but plaine,
    And once made perfect, neuer lost againe.
    I know not loue (quoth he) nor will not know it,
    410Vnlesse it be a Boare, and then I chase it,
    Tis much to borrow, and I will not owe it,
    My loue to loue, is loue, but to disgrace it,
    For I haue heard, it is a life in death,
    That laughs and weeps, and all but with a breath.
    415Who weares a garment shapelesse and vnfinisht?
    Who plucks the bud before one leafe put forth?
    If springing things be anie iot diminisht,
    They wither in their prime, proue nothing worth,
    The colt that's backt and burthend being yong,
    420 Loseth his pride, and neuer waxeth strong.