'Therefore, despite of fruitless chastity,
Love-lacking vestals and self-loving nuns,           752
That on the earth would breed a scarcity
And barren dearth of daughters and of sons,
  Be prodigal: the lamp that burns by night
  Dries up his oil to lend the world his light.      756
'What is thy body but a swallowing grave,
Seeming to bury that posterity
Which by the rights of time thou needs must have,
If thou destroy them not in dark obscurity?          760
  If so, the world will hold thee in disdain,
  Sith in thy pride so fair a hope is slain.

'So in thyself thyself art made away;
A mischief worse than civil home-bred strife,        764
Or theirs whose desperate hands themselves do slay,
Or butcher-sire that reeves his son of life.
  Foul-cankering rust the hidden treasure frets,
  But gold that's put to use more gold begets.'      768
'Nay then,' quoth Adon, 'you will fall again
Into your idle over-handled theme;
The kiss I gave you is bestow'd in vain,
And all in vain you strive against the stream;       772
  For by this black-fac'd night, desire's foul nurse,
  Your treatise makes me like you worse and worse.
'If love have lent you twenty thousand tongues,
And every tongue more moving than your own,          776
Bewitching like the wanton mermaid's songs,
Yet from mine ear the tempting tune is blown;
  For know, my heart stands armed in mine ear,
  And will not let a false sound enter there;        780
'Lest the deceiving harmony should run
Into the quiet closure of my breast;
And then my little heart were quite undone,
In his bedchamber to be barr'd of rest.              784
  No, lady, no; my heart longs not to groan,
  But soundly sleeps, while now it sleeps alone.
'What have you urg'd that I cannot reprove?
The path is smooth that leadeth on to danger;        790
I hate not love, but your device in love
That lends embracements unto every stranger.
  You do it for increase: O strange excuse!
  When reason is the bawd to lust's abuse.           792
'Call it not, love, for Love to heaven is fled,
Since sweating Lust on earth usurp'd his name;
Under whose simple semblance he hath fed
Upon fresh beauty, blotting it with blame;           796
  Which the hot tyrant stains and soon bereaves,
  As caterpillars do the tender leaves.
'Love comforteth like sunshine after rain,
But Lust's effect is tempest after sun;              800
Love's gentle spring doth always fresh remain,
Lust's winter comes ere summer half be done.
  Love surfeits not, Lust like a glutton dies;
  Love is all truth, Lust full of forged lies.       804
'More I could tell, but more I dare not say;
The text is old, the orator too green.
Therefore, in sadness, now I will away;
My face is full of shame, my heart of teen:          808
  Mine ears, that to your wanton talk attended
  Do burn themselves for having so offended.'
With this he breaketh from the sweet embrace         811
Of those fair arms which bound him to her breast,
And homeward through the dark laund runs apace;
Leaves Love upon her back deeply distress'd.
  Look, how a bright star shooteth from the sky
  So glides he in the night from Venus' eye;         816
Which after him she darts, as one on shore
Gazing upon a late-embarked friend,
Till the wild waves will have him seen no more,
Whose ridges with the meeting clouds contend:        820
  So did the merciless and pitchy night
  Fold in the object that did feed her sight.
Whereat amaz'd, as one that unaware
Hath dropp'd a precious jewel in the flood,          824
Or 'stonish'd as night-wanderers often are,
Their light blown out in some mistrustful wood;
  Even so confounded in the dark she lay,
  Having lost the fair discovery of her way.         828
And now she beats her heart, whereat it groans,
That all the neighbour caves, as seeming troubled,
Make verbal repetition of her moans;
Passion on passion deeply is redoubled:              832
  'Ay me!' she cries, and twenty times, 'Woe, woe!'
  And twenty echoes twenty times cry so.

Venus and Adonis Page 11

William Shakespeare

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William Shakespeare
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