Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Author: William Shakespeare
Editors: Hardy M. Cook, Ian Lancashire
Peer Reviewed

Shake-speares Sonnets (Quarto 1, 1609)


SONNETS.

Or else of thee this I prognosticate,
Thy end is Truthes and Beauties doome and date.

210
I5

WHen I consider euery thing that growes
Holds in perfection but a little moment.
That this huge stage presenteth nought but showes
Whereon the Stars in secret influence comment.
215When I perceiue that men as plants increase,
Cheared and checkt euen by the selfe-same skie:
Vaunt in their youthfull sap,at height decrease,
And were their braue state out of memory.
Then the conceit of this inconstant stay,
220Sets you most rich in youth before my sight,
Where wastfull time debateth with decay
To change your day of youth to sullied night,
And all in war with Time for loue of you
As he takes from you,I ingraft you new.

225
I6

BVt wherefore do not you a mightier waie
Make warre vppon this bloudie tirant time?
And fortifie your selfe in your decay
With meanes more blessed then my barren rime?
230Now stand you on the top of happie houres,
And many maiden gardens yet vnset,
With vertuous wish would beare your liuing flowers,
Much liker then your painted counterfeit:
So should the lines of life that life repaire
235Which this (Times pensel or my pupill pen )
Neither in inward worth nor outward faire
Can make you liue your selfe in eies of men,
To giue away your selfe,keeps your selfe still,
And you must liue drawne by your owne sweet skill,

240
I7

VVHo will beleeue my verse in time to come
If it were fild with your most high deserts?
B 4
Though