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The Sonnets of William Shakespeare

1 - 20 | 21 - 40 | 41 - 60 | 61 - 80 | 81 - 100 | 101 - 120 | 121 - 140 | 140 - 154

    LXI.

    IS it thy will thy image should keep open
    My heavy eyelids to the weary night?
    Dost thou desire my slumbers should be broken,
    While shadows like to thee do mock my sight?
    Is it thy spirit that thou send'st from thee
    So far from home into my deeds to pry,
    To find out shames and idle hours in me,
    The scope and tenor of thy jealousy?
    O, no! thy love, though much, is not so great:
    It is my love that keeps mine eye awake;
    Mine own true love that doth my rest defeat,
    To play the watchman ever for thy sake:
    For thee watch I whilst thou dost wake elsewhere,
    From me far off, with others all too near.

    LXII.

    SIN of self-love possesseth all mine eye
    And all my soul and all my every part;
    And for this sin there is no remedy,
    It is so grounded inward in my heart.
    Methinks no face so gracious is as mine,
    No shape so true, no truth of such account;
    And for myself mine own worth do define,
    As I all other in all worths surmount.
    But when my glass shows me myself indeed,
    Beated and chopp'd with tann'd antiquity,
    Mine own self-love quite contrary I read;
    Self so self-loving were iniquity.
    'Tis thee, myself, that for myself I praise,
    Painting my age with beauty of thy days.

    LXIII.

    AGAINST my love shall be, as I am now,
    With Time's injurious hand crush'd and o'er-worn;
    When hours have drain'd his blood and fill'd his brow
    With lines and wrinkles; when his youthful morn
    Hath travell'd on to age's steepy night,
    And all those beauties whereof now he's king
    Are vanishing or vanish'd out of sight,
    Stealing away the treasure of his spring;
    For such a time do I now fortify
    Against confounding age's cruel knife,
    That he shall never cut from memory
    My sweet love's beauty, though my lover's life:
    His beauty shall in these black lines be seen,
    And they shall live, and he in them still green.

    LXIV.

    WHEN I have seen by Time's fell hand defaced
    The rich proud cost of outworn buried age;
    When sometime lofty towers I see down-razed
    And brass eternal slave to mortal rage;
    When I have seen the hungry ocean gain
    Advantage on the kingdom of the shore,
    And the firm soil win of the watery main,
    Increasing store with loss and loss with store;
    When I have seen such interchange of state,
    Or state itself confounded to decay;
    Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate,
    That Time will come and take my love away.
    This thought is as a death, which cannot choose
    But weep to have that which it fears to lose.

    LXV.

    SINCE brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea,
    But sad mortality o'er-sways their power,
    How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea,
    Whose action is no stronger than a flower?
    O, how shall summer's honey breath hold out
    Against the wreckful siege of battering days,
    When rocks impregnable are not so stout,
    Nor gates of steel so strong, but Time decays?
    O fearful meditation! where, alack,
    Shall Time's best jewel from Time's chest lie hid?
    Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back?
    Or who his spoil of beauty can forbid?
    O, none, unless this miracle have might,
    That in black ink my love may still shine bright.

    LXVI.

    TIRED with all these, for restful death I cry,
    As, to behold desert a beggar born,
    And needy nothing trimm'd in jollity,
    And purest faith unhappily forsworn,
    And guilded honour shamefully misplaced,
    And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted,
    And right perfection wrongfully disgraced,
    And strength by limping sway disabled,
    And art made tongue-tied by authority,
    And folly doctor-like controlling skill,
    And simple truth miscall'd simplicity,
    And captive good attending captain ill:
    Tired with all these, from these would I be gone,
    Save that, to die, I leave my love alone.

    LXVII.

    AH! wherefore with infection should he live,
    And with his presence grace impiety,
    That sin by him advantage should achieve
    And lace itself with his society?
    Why should false painting imitate his cheek
    And steal dead seeing of his living hue?
    Why should poor beauty indirectly seek
    Roses of shadow, since his rose is true?
    Why should he live, now Nature bankrupt is,
    Beggar'd of blood to blush through lively veins?
    For she hath no exchequer now but his,
    And, proud of many, lives upon his gains.
    O, him she stores, to show what wealth she had
    In days long since, before these last so bad.

    LXVIII.

    THUS is his cheek the map of days outworn,
    When beauty lived and died as flowers do now,
    Before the bastard signs of fair were born,
    Or durst inhabit on a living brow;
    Before the golden tresses of the dead,
    The right of sepulchres, were shorn away,
    To live a second life on second head;
    Ere beauty's dead fleece made another gay:
    In him those holy antique hours are seen,
    Without all ornament, itself and true,
    Making no summer of another's green,
    Robbing no old to dress his beauty new;
    And him as for a map doth Nature store,
    To show false Art what beauty was of yore.

    LXIX.

    THOSE parts of thee that the world's eye doth view
    Want nothing that the thought of hearts can mend;
    All tongues, the voice of souls, give thee that due,
    Uttering bare truth, even so as foes commend.
    Thy outward thus with outward praise is crown'd;
    But those same tongues that give thee so thine own
    In other accents do this praise confound
    By seeing farther than the eye hath shown.
    They look into the beauty of thy mind,
    And that, in guess, they measure by thy deeds;
    Then, churls, their thoughts, although their eyes were kind,
    To thy fair flower add the rank smell of weeds:
    But why thy odour matcheth not thy show,
    The solve is this, that thou dost common grow.

    LXX.

    THAT thou art blamed shall not be thy defect,
    For slander's mark was ever yet the fair;
    The ornament of beauty is suspect,
    A crow that flies in heaven's sweetest air.
    So thou be good, slander doth but approve
    Thy worth the greater, being woo'd of time;
    For canker vice the sweetest buds doth love,
    And thou present'st a pure unstained prime.
    Thou hast pass'd by the ambush of young days,
    Either not assail'd or victor being charged;
    Yet this thy praise cannot be so thy praise,
    To tie up envy evermore enlarged:
    If some suspect of ill mask'd not thy show,
    Then thou alone kingdoms of hearts shouldst owe.

    LXXI.

    NO longer mourn for me when I am dead
    Then you shall hear the surly sullen bell
    Give warning to the world that I am fled
    From this vile world, with vilest worms to dwell:
    Nay, if you read this line, remember not
    The hand that writ it; for I love you so
    That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot
    If thinking on me then should make you woe.
    O, if, I say, you look upon this verse
    When I perhaps compounded am with clay,
    Do not so much as my poor name rehearse.
    But let your love even with my life decay,
    Lest the wise world should look into your moan
    And mock you with me after I am gone.

    LXXII.

    O, LEST the world should task you to recite
    What merit lived in me, that you should love
    After my death, dear love, forget me quite,
    For you in me can nothing worthy prove;
    Unless you would devise some virtuous lie,
    To do more for me than mine own desert,
    And hang more praise upon deceased I
    Than niggard truth would willingly impart:
    O, lest your true love may seem false in this,
    That you for love speak well of me untrue,
    My name be buried where my body is,
    And live no more to shame nor me nor you.
    For I am shamed by that which I bring forth,
    And so should you, to love things nothing worth.

    LXXIII.

    THAT time of year thou mayst in me behold
    When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
    Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
    Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
    In me thou seest the twilight of such day
    As after sunset fadeth in the west,
    Which by and by black night doth take away,
    Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
    In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire
    That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
    As the death-bed whereon it must expire
    Consumed with that which it was nourish'd by.
    This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong,
    To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

    LXXIV.

    BUT be contented: when that fell arrest
    Without all bail shall carry me away,
    My life hath in this line some interest,
    Which for memorial still with thee shall stay.
    When thou reviewest this, thou dost review
    The very part was consecrate to thee:
    The earth can have but earth, which is his due;
    My spirit is thine, the better part of me:
    So then thou hast but lost the dregs of life,
    The prey of worms, my body being dead,
    The coward conquest of a wretch's knife,
    Too base of thee to be remembered.
    The worth of that is that which it contains,
    And that is this, and this with thee remains.

    LXXV.

    SO are you to my thoughts as food to life,
    Or as sweet-season'd showers are to the ground;
    And for the peace of you I hold such strife
    As 'twixt a miser and his wealth is found;
    Now proud as an enjoyer and anon
    Doubting the filching age will steal his treasure,
    Now counting best to be with you alone,
    Then better'd that the world may see my pleasure;
    Sometime all full with feasting on your sight
    And by and by clean starved for a look;
    Possessing or pursuing no delight,
    Save what is had or must from you be took.
    Thus do I pine and surfeit day by day,
    Or gluttoning on all, or all away.

    LXXVI.

    WHY is my verse so barren of new pride,
    So far from variation or quick change?
    Why with the time do I not glance aside
    To new-found methods and to compounds strange?
    Why write I still all one, ever the same,
    And keep invention in a noted weed,
    That every word doth almost tell my name,
    Showing their birth and where they did proceed?
    O, know, sweet love, I always write of you,
    And you and love are still my argument;
    So all my best is dressing old words new,
    Spending again what is already spent:
    For as the sun is daily new and old,
    So is my love still telling what is told.

    LXXVII.

    THY glass will show thee how thy beauties wear,
    Thy dial how thy precious minutes waste;
    The vacant leaves thy mind's imprint will bear,
    And of this book this learning mayst thou taste.
    The wrinkles which thy glass will truly show
    Of mouthed graves will give thee memory;
    Thou by thy dial's shady stealth mayst know
    Time's thievish progress to eternity.
    Look, what thy memory can not contain
    Commit to these waste blanks, and thou shalt find
    Those children nursed, deliver'd from thy brain,
    To take a new acquaintance of thy mind.
    These offices, so oft as thou wilt look,
    Shall profit thee and much enrich thy book.

    LXXVIII.

    SO oft have I invoked thee for my Muse
    And found such fair assistance in my verse
    As every alien pen hath got my use
    And under thee their poesy disperse.
    Thine eyes that taught the dumb on high to sing
    And heavy ignorance aloft to fly
    Have added feathers to the learned's wing
    And given grace a double majesty.
    Yet be most proud of that which I compile,
    Whose influence is thine and born of thee:
    In others' works thou dost but mend the style,
    And arts with thy sweet graces graced be;
    But thou art all my art and dost advance
    As high as learning my rude ignorance.

    LXXIX.

    WHILST I alone did call upon thy aid,
    My verse alone had all thy gentle grace,
    But now my gracious numbers are decay'd
    And my sick Muse doth give another place.
    I grant, sweet love, thy lovely argument
    Deserves the travail of a worthier pen,
    Yet what of thee thy poet doth invent
    He robs thee of and pays it thee again.
    He lends thee virtue and he stole that word
    From thy behavior; beauty doth he give
    And found it in thy cheek; he can afford
    No praise to thee but what in thee doth live.
    Then thank him not for that which he doth say,
    Since what he owes thee thou thyself dost pay.

    LXXX.

    O, HOW I faint when I of you do write,
    Knowing a better spirit doth use your name,
    And in the praise thereof spends all his might,
    To make me tongue-tied, speaking of your fame!
    But since your worth, wide as the ocean is,
    The humble as the proudest sail doth bear,
    My saucy bark inferior far to his
    On your broad main doth wilfully appear.
    Your shallowest help will hold me up afloat,
    Whilst he upon your soundless deep doth ride;
    Or being wreck'd, I am a worthless boat,
    He of tall building and of goodly pride:
    Then if he thrive and I be cast away,
    The worst was this; my love was my decay.


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