'To see his face the lion walk'd along              1093
Behind some hedge, because he would not fear him;
To recreate himself when he hath sung,
The tiger would be tame and gently hear him;        1096
  If he had spoke, the wolf would leave his prey,
  And never fright the silly lamb that day.
'When he beheld his shadow in the brook,
The fishes spread on it their golden gills;         1100
When he was by, the birds such pleasure took,
That some would sing, some other in their bills
  Would bring him mulberries and ripe-red cherries
  He fed them with his sight, they him with berries.
'But this foul, grim, and urchin-spouted boar,      1105
Whose downward eye still looketh for a grave,
Ne'er saw the beauteous livery that he wore;
Witness the entertainment that he gave:             1108
  If he did see his face, why then I know
  He thought to kiss him, and hath killed him so.
''Tis true, 'tis true; thus was Adonis slain:
He ran upon the boar with his sharp spear,          1112
Who did not whet his teeth at him again,
But by a kiss thought to persuade him there;
  And nuzzling in his flank, the loving swine
  Sheath'd unaware the tusk in his soft groin.      1116
'Had I been tooth'd like him, I must confess,
With kissing him I should have kill'd him first;
But he is dead, and never did he bless
My youth with his; the more am I accurst.'          1120
  With this she falleth in the place she stood,
  And stains her face with his congealed blood.
Sho looks upon his lips, and they are pale;
She takes him by the hand, and that is cold;        1124
She whispers in his ears a heavy tale,
As if they heard the woeful words she told;
She lifts the coffer-lids that close his eyes,
Where, lo! two lamps, burnt out, in darkness lies;
Two glasses where herself herself beheld            1129
A thousand times, and now no more reflect;
Their virtue lost, wherein they late excell'd,
And every beauty robb'd of his effect:              1132
  'Wonder of time,' quoth she, 'this is my spite,
  That, you being dead, the day should yet be light.
'Since thou art dead, lo! here I prophesy,
Sorrow on love hereafter shall attend:              1136
It shall be waited on with jealousy,
Find sweet beginning, but unsavoury end;
  Ne'er settled equally, but high or low;
  That all love's pleasure shall not match his woe.
'It shall be fickle, false, and full of fraud,      1141
Bud and be blastod in a breathing-while;
The bottom poison, and the top o'erstraw'd
With sweets that shall the truest sight beguile:    1144
  The strongest body shall it make most weak,
  Strike the wise dumb and teach the fool to speak.
'It shall be sparing and too full of riot,
Teaching decrepit age to tread the measures;        1148
The staring ruffian shall it keep in quiet,
Pluck down the rich, enrich the poor with treasures;
  It shall be raging mad, and silly mild,
  Make the young old, the old become a child.       1152
'It shall suspect where is no cause of fear;
It shall not fear where it should most mistrust;
It shall be merciful, and too severe,
And most deceiving when it seems most just;         1156
  Perverse it shall be, where it shows most toward,
  Put fear to velour, courage to the coward.
'It shall be cause of war and dire events,
And set dissension 'twixt the son and sire;         1160
Subject and servile to all discontents,
As dry combustious matter is to fire:
  Sith in his prime Death doth my love destroy,
  They that love best their love shall not enjoy.'  1164
By this, the boy that by her side lay kill'd
Was melted like a vapour from her sight,
And in his blood that on the ground lay spill'd,
A purple flower sprung up, chequer'd with white;    1168
  Resembling well his pale cheeks, and the blood
  Which in round drops upon their whiteness stood.
She bows her head, the new-sprung flower to smell,
Comparing it to her Adonis' breath;                 1172
And says within her bosom it shall dwell,
Since he himself is reft from her by death:
  She drops the stalk, and in the breach appears
  Green dropping sap, which she compares to tears.

Venus and Adonis

William Shakespeare

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William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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