Venus and Adonis - William Shakespeare - ebook
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Venus and Adonis is a poem by William Shakespeare, written in 1592-93, with a plot based on passages from Ovid's Metamorphoses. It is a complex, kaleidoscopic work, using constantly shifting tone and perspective to present contrasting views of the nature of love.

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Venus and Adonis

William Shakespeare

Published: 1593Categorie(s): Fiction, Poetry
About Shakespeare:

William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564 – died 23 April 1616) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language, and are performed more often than those of any other playwright. Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon. At the age of 18 he married Anne Hathaway, who bore him three children: Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith. Between 1585 and 1592 he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part owner of the playing company the Lord Chamberlain's Men, later known as the King's Men. He appears to have retired to Stratford around 1613, where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare's private life survive, and there has been considerable speculation about such matters as his sexuality, religious beliefs, and whether the works attributed to him were written by others. Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1590 and 1613. His early plays were mainly comedies and histories, genres he raised to the peak of sophistication and artistry by the end of the sixteenth century. Next he wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608, including Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, considered some of the finest examples in the English language. In his last phase, he wrote tragicomedies, also known as romances, and collaborated with other playwrights. Many of his plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy during his lifetime, and in 1623 two of his former theatrical colleagues published the First Folio, a collected edition of his dramatic works that included all but two of the plays now recognised as Shakespeare's. Shakespeare was a respected poet and playwright in his own day, but his reputation did not rise to its present heights until the nineteenth century. The Romantics, in particular, acclaimed Shakespeare's genius, and the Victorians hero-worshipped Shakespeare with a reverence that George Bernard Shaw called "bardolatry". In the twentieth century, his work was repeatedly adopted and rediscovered by new movements in scholarship and performance. His plays remain highly popular today and are consistently performed and reinterpreted in diverse cultural and political contexts throughout the world. 

Part 1 Introduction

'Vilia miretur vulgus; mihi flavus Apollo  Pocula Castalia plena ministret aqua.'  To the Right Honourable Henry Wriothesley,  Earl of Southampton, and Baron of Tichfield.  RIGHT HONORABLE,

I KNOW not how I shall offend in dedicating my

unpolished lines to your lordship, nor how the world will

censure me for choosing so strong a prop to support so weak a

burden only, if your honour seem but pleased, I account

myself highly praised, and vow to take advantage of all idle

hours, till I have honoured you with some graver labour. But if

the first heir of my invention prove deformed, I shall be

sorry it had so noble a god-father, and never after ear so

barren a land, for fear it yield me still so bad a harvest.

I leave it to your honourable survey, and your honour to your

heart's content; which I wish may always answer your own wish

and the world's hopeful expectation.

 

Your honour's in all duty,

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE.

Part 2 VENUS AND ADONIS

  EVEN as the sun with purple-colour'd face

Had ta'en his last leave of the weeping morn,

Rose-cheek'd Adonis hied him to the chase;

Hunting he loved, but love he laugh'd to scorn;

Sick-thoughted Venus makes amain unto him,

And like a bold-faced suitor 'gins to woo him.

 

'Thrice-fairer than myself,' thus she began,

'The field's chief flower, sweet above compare,

Stain to all nymphs, more lovely than a man,

More white and red than doves or roses are;

Nature that made thee, with herself at strife,

Saith that the world hath ending with thy life.

 

'Vouchsafe, thou wonder, to alight thy steed,

And rein his proud head to the saddle-bow;

If thou wilt deign this favour, for thy meed

A thousand honey secrets shalt thou know:

Here come and sit, where never serpent hisses,

And being set, I'll smother thee with kisses;

 

'And yet not cloy thy lips with loathed satiety,

But rather famish them amid their plenty,

Making them red and pale with fresh variety,

Ten kisses short as one, one long as twenty:

A summer's day will seem an hour but short,

Being wasted in such time-beguiling sport.'

 

With this she seizeth on his sweating palm,

The precedent of pith and livelihood,

And trembling in her passion, calls it balm,

Earth's sovereign salve to do a goddess good:

Being so enraged, desire doth lend her force

Courageously to pluck him from his horse.

 

Over one arm the lusty courser's rein,

Under her other was the tender boy,

Who blush'd and pouted in a dull disdain,

With leaden appetite, unapt to toy;

She red and hot as coals of glowing fire,

He red for shame, but frosty in desire.

 

The studded bridle on a ragged bough

Nimbly she fastens:—O, how quick is love!—

The steed is stalled up, and even now

To tie the rider she begins to prove:

Backward she push'd him, as she would be thrust,

And govern'd him in strength, though not in lust.

 

So soon was she along as he was down,

Each leaning on their elbows and their hips:

Now doth she stroke his cheek, now doth he frown,

And 'gins to chide, but soon she stops his lips;

And kissing speaks, with lustful language broken,

'If thou wilt chide, thy lips shall never open.'

 

He burns with bashful shame: she with her tears

Doth quench the maiden burning of his cheeks;

Then with her windy sighs and golden hairs

To fan and blow them dry again she seeks:

He saith she is immodest, blames her 'miss;

What follows more she murders with a kiss.

 

Even as an empty eagle, sharp by fast,

Tires with her beak on feathers, flesh and bone,

Shaking her wings, devouring all in haste,

Till either gorge be stuff'd or prey be gone;

Even so she kissed his brow, his cheek, his chin,

And where she ends she doth anew begin.

 

Forced to content, but never to obey,

Panting he lies and breatheth in her face;