First Act


Single scene

The curtain opens and discovers Venus and Adonis sitting together upon a couch, embracing one another.

Venus, Adonis

Act Tune.






Venus, when shall I taste soft delights

and on thy bosom lie?

Let's seek the shadiest covert of this grove

and never, never disappoint expecting love.



Adonis, thy delightful youth  

is full of beauty and of truth.

With thee the queen of love employs

the hours design'd for softer joys.


My Venus still has something new

which forces lovers to be true.


Me my lovely youth shall find

always tender, ever kind.

Hunters' music.
(They rise from the couch when they hear the music.)


Hark, hark, the rural music sounds,  

hark, hark the hunters, hark, hark the hounds!

They summon to the chase, haste haste away.


Adonis will not hunt today.

I have already caught the noblest prey.



No, my shepherd, haste away,  

absence kindles new desire,

I would not have my lover tire...

My shepherd, will you know the art

by which I keep a conquer'd heart?

I seldom vex a lover's ears

with business or with jealous fears.

I give him freely all delights

with pleasant days and easy nights.


Yet there is a sort of men

who delight in heavy chains

upon whom ill-usage gains

and they never love till then.


Those are fools of mighty leisure

wise men love the easiest pleasure.

I give you freely all delights

with pleasant days and easy nights.


Adonis will not hunt today.


No, my shepherd, haste away.

Enter Huntsmen to Adonis, and sing this chorus.

<- Huntsmen, Huntsman



Come follow, follow, follow,  

come follow to the noblest game.

Here the spritely youth may purchase fame.


A mighty boar our spear and darts defies,

he foams and rages, see, see, he wounds

the stoutest of our Cretan hounds,

he roars like thunder and he lightens from his eyes.


You who the slothful joys of city hate

and, early up, for rougher pleasures wait,

next the delight which heav'nly beauty yields

nothing, oh nothing is so sweet

as for our huntsmen, that do meet

with able coursers and good hounds to range the fields.


Lachne has fastened first but she is old;

bring hither Ladon, he is strong and bold,

heigh Lachne, heigh Melampus; oh, they bleed,

your spears, your spears, Adonis thou shalt lead.

(Exeunt singing. Entry: a dance by a Huntsman. The curtain closes.)

Huntsmen, Venus, Adonis ->


The end (First Act)

The Prologue First Act Second Act Third Act
Venus, Adonis

Venus! / Adonis!

(Hunters' music.)

Hark, hark, the rural music sounds

Venus, Adonis
<- Huntsmen, Huntsman
Huntsmen, Huntsman, Adonis
Come follow, follow, follow
Huntsmen, Venus, Adonis ->

(A dance by a Huntsman.)

Single scene
The Prologue Second Act Third Act

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