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The Sonnets of William Shakespeare

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    XXI.

    SO is it not with me as with that Muse
    Stirr'd by a painted beauty to his verse,
    Who heaven itself for ornament doth use
    And every fair with his fair doth rehearse
    Making a couplement of proud compare,
    With sun and moon, with earth and sea's rich gems,
    With April's first-born flowers, and all things rare
    That heaven's air in this huge rondure hems.
    O' let me, true in love, but truly write,
    And then believe me, my love is as fair
    As any mother's child, though not so bright
    As those gold candles fix'd in heaven's air:
    Let them say more than like of hearsay well;
    I will not praise that purpose not to sell.

    XXII.

    MY glass shall not persuade me I am old,
    So long as youth and thou are of one date;
    But when in thee time's furrows I behold,
    Then look I death my days should expiate.
    For all that beauty that doth cover thee
    Is but the seemly raiment of my heart,
    Which in thy breast doth live, as thine in me:
    How can I then be elder than thou art?
    O, therefore, love, be of thyself so wary
    As I, not for myself, but for thee will;
    Bearing thy heart, which I will keep so chary
    As tender nurse her babe from faring ill.
    Presume not on thy heart when mine is slain;
    Thou gavest me thine, not to give back again.

    XXIII.

    AS an unperfect actor on the stage
    Who with his fear is put besides his part,
    Or some fierce thing replete with too much rage,
    Whose strength's abundance weakens his own heart.
    So I, for fear of trust, forget to say
    The perfect ceremony of love's rite,
    And in mine own love's strength seem to decay,
    O'ercharged with burden of mine own love's might.
    O, let my books be then the eloquence
    And dumb presagers of my speaking breast,
    Who plead for love and look for recompense
    More than that tongue that more hath more express'd.
    O, learn to read what silent love hath writ:
    To hear with eyes belongs to love's fine wit.

    XXIV.

    MINE eye hath play'd the painter and hath stell'd
    Thy beauty's form in table of my heart;
    My body is the frame wherein 'tis held,
    And perspective it is the painter's art.
    For through the painter must you see his skill,
    To find where your true image pictured lies;
    Which in my bosom's shop is hanging still,
    That hath his windows glazed with thine eyes.
    Now see what good turns eyes for eyes have done:
    Mine eyes have drawn thy shape, and thine for me
    Are windows to my breast, where-through the sun
    Delights to peep, to gaze therein on thee;
    Yet eyes this cunning want to grace their art;
    They draw but what they see, know not the heart.

    XXV.

    LET those who are in favour with their stars
    Of public honour and proud titles boast,
    Whilst I, whom fortune of such triumph bars,
    Unlook'd for joy in that I honour most.
    Great princes' favourites their fair leaves spread
    But as the marigold at the sun's eye,
    And in themselves their pride lies buried,
    For at a frown they in their glory die.
    The painful warrior famoused for fight,
    After a thousand victories once foil'd,
    Is from the book of honour razed quite,
    And all the rest forgot for which he toil'd:
    Then happy I, that love and am beloved
    Where I may not remove nor be removed.

    XXVI.

    LORD of my love, to whom in vassalage
    Thy merit hath my duty strongly knit,
    To thee I send this written embassage,
    To witness duty, not to show my wit:
    Duty so great, which wit so poor as mine
    May make seem bare, in wanting words to show it,
    But that I hope some good conceit of thine
    In thy soul's thought, all naked, will bestow it;
    Till whatsoever star that guides my moving
    Points on me graciously with fair aspect
    And puts apparel on my tatter'd loving,
    To show me worthy of thy sweet respect:
    Then may I dare to boast how I do love thee;
    Till then not show my head where thou mayst prove me.

    XXVII.

    WEARY with toil, I haste me to my bed,
    The dear repose for limbs with travel tired;
    But then begins a journey in my head,
    To work my mind, when body's work's expired:
    For then my thoughts, from far where I abide,
    Intend a zealous pilgrimage to thee,
    And keep my drooping eyelids open wide,
    Looking on darkness which the blind do see
    Save that my soul's imaginary sight
    Presents thy shadow to my sightless view,
    Which, like a jewel hung in ghastly night,
    Makes black night beauteous and her old face new.
    Lo! thus, by day my limbs, by night my mind,
    For thee and for myself no quiet find.

    XXVIII

    HOW can I then return in happy plight,
    That am debarr'd the benefit of rest?
    When day's oppression is not eased by night,
    But day by night, and night by day, oppress'd?
    And each, though enemies to either's reign,
    Do in consent shake hands to torture me;
    The one by toil, the other to complain
    How far I toil, still farther off from thee.
    I tell the day, to please them thou art bright
    And dost him grace when clouds do blot the heaven:
    So flatter I the swart-complexion'd night,
    When sparkling stars twire not thou gild'st the even.
    But day doth daily draw my sorrows longer
    And night doth nightly make grief's strength seem stronger.

    XXIX.

    WHEN, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
    I all alone beweep my outcast state
    And trouble deal heaven with my bootless cries
    And look upon myself and curse my fate,
    Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
    Featured like him, like him with friends possess'd,
    Desiring this man's art and that man's scope,
    With what I most enjoy contented least;
    Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
    Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
    Like to the lark at break of day arising
    From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;
    For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings
    That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

    XXX.

    WHEN to the sessions of sweet silent thought
    I summon up remembrance of things past,
    I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
    And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste:
    Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow,
    For precious friends hid in death's dateless night,
    And weep afresh love's long since cancell'd woe,
    And moan the expense of many a vanish'd sight:
    Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
    And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er
    The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
    Which I new pay as if not paid before.
    But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
    All losses are restored and sorrows end.

    XXXI.

    THY bosom is endeared with all hearts,
    Which I by lacking have supposed dead,
    And there reigns love and all love's loving parts,
    And all those friends which I thought buried.
    How many a holy and obsequious tear
    Hath dear religious love stol'n from mine eye
    As interest of the dead, which now appear
    But things removed that hidden in thee lie!
    Thou art the grave where buried love doth live,
    Hung with the trophies of my lovers gone,
    Who all their parts of me to thee did give;
    That due of many now is thine alone:
    Their images I loved I view in thee,
    And thou, all they, hast all the all of me.

    XXXII.

    IF thou survive my well-contented day,
    When that churl Death my bones with dust shall cover,
    And shalt by fortune once more re-survey
    These poor rude lines of thy deceased lover,
    Compare them with the bettering of the time,
    And though they be outstripp'd by every pen,
    Reserve them for my love, not for their rhyme,
    Exceeded by the height of happier men.
    O, then vouchsafe me but this loving thought:
    'Had my friend's Muse grown with this growing age,
    A dearer birth than this his love had brought,
    To march in ranks of better equipage:
    But since he died and poets better prove,
    Theirs for their style I'll read, his for his love.'

    XXXIII.

    FULL many a glorious morning have I seen
    Flatter the mountain-tops with sovereign eye,
    Kissing with golden face the meadows green,
    Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy;
    Anon permit the basest clouds to ride
    With ugly rack on his celestial face,
    And from the forlorn world his visage hide,
    Stealing unseen to west with this disgrace:
    Even so my sun one early morn did shine
    With all triumphant splendor on my brow;
    But out, alack! he was but one hour mine;
    The region cloud hath mask'd him from me now.
    Yet him for this my love no whit disdaineth;
    Suns of the world may stain when heaven's sun staineth.

    XXXIV.

    WHY didst thou promise such a beauteous day,
    And make me travel forth without my cloak,
    To let base clouds o'ertake me in my way,
    Hiding thy bravery in their rotten smoke?
    'Tis not enough that through the cloud thou break,
    To dry the rain on my storm-beaten face,
    For no man well of such a salve can speak
    That heals the wound and cures not the disgrace:
    Nor can thy shame give physic to my grief;
    Though thou repent, yet I have still the loss:
    The offender's sorrow lends but weak relief
    To him that bears the strong offence's cross.
    Ah! but those tears are pearl which thy love sheds,
    And they are rich and ransom all ill deeds.

    XXXV.

    NO more be grieved at that which thou hast done:
    Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud;
    Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun,
    And loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud.
    All men make faults, and even I in this,
    Authorizing thy trespass with compare,
    Myself corrupting, salving thy amiss,
    Excusing thy sins more than thy sins are;
    For to thy sensual fault I bring in sense--
    Thy adverse party is thy advocate--
    And 'gainst myself a lawful plea commence:
    Such civil war is in my love and hate
    That I an accessary needs must be
    To that sweet thief which sourly robs from me.

    XXXVI.

    LET me confess that we two must be twain,
    Although our undivided loves are one:
    So shall those blots that do with me remain
    Without thy help by me be borne alone.
    In our two loves there is but one respect,
    Though in our lives a separable spite,
    Which though it alter not love's sole effect,
    Yet doth it steal sweet hours from love's delight.
    I may not evermore acknowledge thee,
    Lest my bewailed guilt should do thee shame,
    Nor thou with public kindness honour me,
    Unless thou take that honour from thy name:
    But do not so; I love thee in such sort
    As, thou being mine, mine is thy good report.

    XXXVII.

    AS a decrepit father takes delight
    To see his active child do deeds of youth,
    So I, made lame by fortune's dearest spite,
    Take all my comfort of thy worth and truth.
    For whether beauty, birth, or wealth, or wit,
    Or any of these all, or all, or more,
    Entitled in thy parts do crowned sit,
    I make my love engrafted to this store:
    So then I am not lame, poor, nor despised,
    Whilst that this shadow doth such substance give
    That I in thy abundance am sufficed
    And by a part of all thy glory live.
    Look, what is best, that best I wish in thee:
    This wish I have; then ten times happy me!

    XXXVIII.

    HOW can my Muse want subject to invent,
    While thou dost breathe, that pour'st into my verse
    Thine own sweet argument, too excellent
    For every vulgar paper to rehearse?
    O, give thyself the thanks, if aught in me
    Worthy perusal stand against thy sight;
    For who's so dumb that cannot write to thee,
    When thou thyself dost give invention light?
    Be thou the tenth Muse, ten times more in worth
    Than those old nine which rhymers invocate;
    And he that calls on thee, let him bring forth
    Eternal numbers to outlive long date.
    If my slight Muse do please these curious days,
    The pain be mine, but thine shall be the praise.

    XXXIX.

    O, HOW thy worth with manners may I sing,
    When thou art all the better part of me?
    What can mine own praise to mine own self bring?
    And what is 't but mine own when I praise thee?
    Even for this let us divided live,
    And our dear love lose name of single one,
    That by this separation I may give
    That due to thee which thou deservest alone.
    O absence, what a torment wouldst thou prove,
    Were it not thy sour leisure gave sweet leave
    To entertain the time with thoughts of love,
    Which time and thoughts so sweetly doth deceive,
    And that thou teachest how to make one twain,
    By praising him here who doth hence remain!

    XL.

    TAKE all my loves, my love, yea, take them all;
    What hast thou then more than thou hadst before?
    No love, my love, that thou mayst true love call;
    All mine was thine before thou hadst this more.
    Then if for my love thou my love receivest,
    I cannot blame thee for my love thou usest;
    But yet be blamed, if thou thyself deceivest
    By wilful taste of what thyself refusest.
    I do forgive thy robbery, gentle thief,
    Although thou steal thee all my poverty;
    And yet, love knows, it is a greater grief
    To bear love's wrong than hate's known injury.
    Lascivious grace, in whom all ill well shows,
    Kill me with spites; yet we must not be foes.


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