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Venus in vain endeavors to inspire her favorite Adonis with a mutual passion, and to dissuade him from a too eager pursuit of the pleasures of the chase. The youth rejects the overtures, and disregards the advice of the goddess, and is mortally wounded by a wild boar: his body is changed into a flower called anemone by his disconsolate mistress, who, after tenderly lamenting his untimely death, is conveyed in the clouds to Paphos.

EVEN as the sun with purple-color❜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.

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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.

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Vouchsafe, thou wonder, to alight thy steed, And rein his proud head to the saddle-bow: If thou wilt deign this favor, 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 seiseth 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!)

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