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VENUS AND ADONIS.

Vilia miretur vulgus, mihi flavus Apollo Poculo Castalia plena ministret aqua. OVID.

B

TO THE

RIGHT HONOURABLE HENRY WRIOTHESLY,

EARL OF SOUTHAMPTON, AND BARON OF TITCHFIELD.

RIGHT HONOURABLE,

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 burthen: 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 godfather, and never after ear1 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.

ear] 1. e. plough.

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 lov'd, but love he laugh'd to scorn:
Sick-thoughted Venus makes amain unto him,
And like a bold-fac'd 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 loath'd satiety, "But rather famish them amid their plenty

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