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

Shake-speares Sonnets (Quarto 1, 1609)

AS a decrepit father takes delight,
To see his actiue childe do deeds of youth,
So I , made lame by Fortunes dearest spight
Take all my comfort of thy worth and truth.
545For whether beauty,birth,or wealth,or wit,
Or any of these all,or all,or more
Intitled in their parts,do crowned sit,
I make my loue ingrafted to this store:
So then I am not lame,poore, nor dispis'd,
550Whilst that this shadow doth such substance giue,
That I in thy abundance am suffic'd,
And by a part of all thy glory liue:
Looke what is best,that best I wish in thee,
This wish I haue,then ten times happy me.
HOw can my Muse want subiect to inuent
While thou dost breath that poor'st into my verse,
Thine owne sweet argument,to excellent,
For euery vulgar paper to rehearse:
560Oh giue thy selfe the thankes if ought in me,
Worthy perusal stand against thy sight,
For who's so dumbe that cannot write to thee,
When thou thy selfe dost giue inuention light?
Be thou the tenth Muse,ten times more in worth
565Then those old nine which rimers inuocate,
And he that calls on thee,let him bring forth
Eternal numbers to out-liue long date.
If my slight Muse doe please these curious daies,
The paine be mine,but thine shal be the praise.
OH how thy worth with manners may I singe,
When thou art all the better part of me?
What can mine owne praise to mine owne selfe bring;
And what is't but mine owne when I praise thee,
575Euen for this,let vs deuided liue,
And our deare loue loose name of single one,
That by this seperation I may giue:
That due to thee which thou deseru'st alone:
Oh absence what a torment wouldst thou proue,
580Were it not thy soure leisure gaue sweet leaue,
To entertaine the time with thoughts of loue,
VVhich time and thoughts so sweetly dost deceiue.
And that thou teachest how to make one twaine,
By praising him here who doth hence remaine.