Internet Shakespeare Editions

Facsimiles of this work

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

Shake-speares Sonnets (Quarto 1, 1609)


WHilst I alone did call vpon thy ayde,
My verse alone had all thy gentle grace,
But now my gracious numbers are decayde,
And my sick Muse doth giue an other place.
1175I grant ( sweet loue )thy louely argument
Deserues the trauaile of a worthier pen,
Yet what of thee thy Poet doth inuent,
He robs thee of,and payes it thee againe,
He lends thee vertue,and he stole that word,
1180From thy behauiour,beautie doth he giue
And found it in thy cheeke: he can affoord
No praise to thee,but what in thee doth liue.
Then thanke him not for that which he doth say,
Since what he owes thee,thou thy selfe doost pay,
O How I faint when I of you do write,
Knowing a better spirit doth vse your name,
And in the praise thereof spends all his might,
To make me toung-tide speaking of your fame.
1190But since your worth(wide as the Ocean is)
The humble as the proudest saile doth beare,
My sawsie barke(inferior farre to his)
On your broad maine doth wilfully appeare.
Your shallowest helpe will hold me vp a floate,
1195Whilst he vpon your soundlesse deepe doth ride,
Or ( being wrackt ) I am a worthlesse bote,
He of tall building,and of goodly pride.
Then If he thriue and I be cast away,
The worst was this,my loue was my decay.
OR I shall liue your Epitaph to make,
Or you suruiue when I in earth am rotten,
From hence your memory death cannot take,
Although in me each part will be forgotten.
1205Your name from hence immortall life shall haue,
Though I ( once gone) to all the world must dye,
The earth can yeeld me but a common graue,
When you intombed in mens eyes shall lye,
Your monument shall be my gentle verse,
1210Which eyes not yet created shall ore-read,
And toungs to be,your beeing shall rehearse,
When all the breathers of this world are dead,
You still shall liue (such vertue hath my Pen)
Where breath most breaths,euen in the mouths of men.