(Venus and Adonis - Jusepe de Ribera, 1637)

Venus and Adonis – Jusepe de Ribera, 1637

It’s the last day of January, so I wanted to squeeze in one more Shakespeare read before I move onto Venice in February hosted by Snow Feathers and Dolce Bellezza.

I slogged my way through “Venus and Adonis.” Maybe I should have read it aloud, maybe than I would have been more entranced by it’s beauty, but as it is I just wanted to yell at Venus to move on.

Venus, the goddess of love, sees Adonis and is smitten. He is apparently above all other men, even though he’s actually little more than a boy. She drags him from his horse and wants to smother him with kisses and carreses, even though he’s not interested. His horse runs off and he’s upset.

…………..“For shame,” he cries, “let go, and let me go;
…………..My day’s delight is past, my horse is gone,
…………..And ’tis your fault I am bereft him so:
…………..I pray you hence, and leave me here alone;
…………..For all my mind, my thought, my busy care,
…………..Is how to get my palfrey from the mare.”

Eventually he gives in, and really who could blame him, she is Venus after all. But then when darkness starts to set in, he leaves and she finally lets him go, begging to meet with him again tomorrow. He tells her that he can’t since he is going to hunt boar the next morning.

Venus hears the sounds of the hunt the next day, but is devastated when she finds Adonis dead, gored by a boar.

…………..“Alas, poor world, what treasure hast thou lost!
…………..What face remains alive that’s worth the viewing?
…………..Whose tongue is music now? what canst thou boast
…………..Of things long since, or any thing ensuing?
…………..The flowers are sweet, their colours fresh and trim;
…………..But true-sweet beauty lived and died with him.”

She makes a flower grow from his blood and then leaves in her chariot.

It’s a long poem, at least for me to read, at 1194 lines, and the language is flowery and to be honest I just didn’t care. Venus was making a fool out of herself.  I’m sure the poem is “a complex, kaleidoscopic work, using constantly shifting tone and perspective to present contrasting views of the nature of love,” but it was lost on me.There was no humor in it, no sly winks that I’ve gotten used to seeing from Shakespeare. Or maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for it.

I read this on-line.

Category: Classics- Poetry

Read On-line

First published in 1593

I want to thank Allie at A Literary Odyssey for hosting Shakespeare Reading Month. I really enjoyed most of what I read and feel like I’ve accomplished something in the process.

This is a list of all my Shakespeare posts this month.

Plays

Poems

Misc.