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English Verse

The Venus and Adonis Stanza is patterned after and named for Shakespeare's poem, Venus and Adonis. The form is also known as a Heroic Sestet.

The elements of the Venus and Adonis Stanza are:

  1. stanzaic, written in any number of sixains made up of a quatrain followed by a couplet.
  2. metric, iambic pentatmeter.
  3. rhymed ababcc

    Venus and Adonis by William Shakespeare 1593 (First 9 stanzas)

    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.

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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