Venus and Adonis; or, the Triumphs of Love.


16 pages

Venus and Adonis; or, the Triumphs of Love.

| 1713 | London, Great Britain
Genre (as defined by the author)
Mock opera
Adonis, Cupid, Jupiter, Punch, Venus, Pallas, Proserpine, Iris, Pan, Satyrs, Nymphs, Swains
Number of acts

Venus and Adonis; or, The Triumphs of Love (1713) is a mock opera that brings together Punch and gods from classical mythology. It is the only printed play by Irish puppeteer Martin Powell, who met with brief but dazzling success in England at the beginning of the 18th century. He mostly played in Convent Garden in London, but he also staged plays in Bath, Oxford and Bristol. Although Powell sometimes performed plays inspired by English legends or ballads sold by book peddlers, he also wrote original texts – one of which being Venus and Adonis.

Powell’s preface suggests that he worked with Italian machinists. It would also seem that two characters (Jupiter and Proserpina) were played by trained monkeys.

Plot summary

Love conquers all

Venus asks her son Cupid to make Adonis fall in love with her.

Punch is furious and curses the gods, love and poetry. Cupid hears him. He strikes him with an arrow and condemns him to love Proserpina. When she appears, Punch sings his love to her. She dies and Punch is driven to despair.

Venus and Adonis are in love. Venus asks Adonis not to go hunting because it would be too dangerous. Adonis ignores her plea and goes anyway. He is wounded and dies. Venus wants to catch his soul and join him. She is mourning his death with Pallas.

Jupiter visits Proserpina in the Underworld to convince her to love Punch, who has been changed into Mars by Jupiter. The two lovers kiss and go back to the surface. All the characters ascend.

In her epilogue, Iris declares that love has prevailed.

Related works
The Metamorphoses, Ovid (Publius Ovidius, aka Naso)1er siècle après J.-C.
Composition date

First performance

London, Great Britain, 1713 -

Punch's theatre, Covent Garden.

Publications and translations


Martin Powell, Venus and Adonis; or, the Triumphs of Love. London: G. Parker, 1713.

Conservation place

All Souls College Library - Oxford
Literary tones
Comical, Burlesque, Parodistic
Animations techniques
Rod and string marionette
Not specified
Public domain


Theatrical techniques


Written by

Cécile Decaix