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VENUS AND ADONIS.
SHAKESPEARE's Venus arid Adonis, under that title, was first printed by the poet's friend and townsman, Richard Field, in 1593, sm. 4to. (the exact size of the present impression), three years before any of Shakespeare's Plays came from the press : it was reprinted in 1594, 1595, 1596, 1599, and 1600--the last, as well as subsequent impressions in 1602, 1617, 1620, etc., in sm. 8vo. The title-page always bore the following motto :--
Vilia miretur vulgus : mihi flavus Apollo
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
EARL OF SOUTHAMPTON, AND BARON OF TICHFIELD.
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,
EVEN as the sun with purple-colour'd face
Sick-thoughted Venus makes amain unto him,
Thrice fairer than myself, (thus she began,)
Nature that made thee, with herself at strife,
Vouchsafe, thou wonder, to alight thy steed,
Here come and sit, where never serpent hisses,
And yet not cloy thy lips with loath'd satiety,
A summer's day will seem an hour but short,