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

Shake-speares Sonnets (Quarto 1, 1609)


I Grant thou wert not married to my Muse,
And therefore maiest without attaint ore-looke
The dedicated words which writers vse
Of their faire subiect,blessing euery booke.
1220Thou art as faire in knowledge as in hew,
Finding thy worth a limmit past my praise,
And therefore art inforc'd to seeke anew,
Some fresher stampe of the time bettering dayes.
And do so loue,yet when they haue deuisde,
1225What strained touches Rhethorick can lend,
Thou truly faire,wert truly simpathizde,
In true plaine words,by thy true telling friend.
And their grosse painting might be better vs'd,
Where cheekes need blood,in thee it is abus'd.
I Neuer saw that you did painting need,
And therefore to your faire no painting set,
I found( or thought I found) you did exceed,
The barren tender of a Poets debt:
1235And therefore haue I slept in your report,
That you your selfe being extant well might show,
How farre a moderne quill doth come to short,
Speaking of worth,what worth in you doth grow,
This silence for my sinne you did impute,
1240Which shall be most my glory being dombe,
For I impaire not beautie being mute,
When others would giue life,and bring a tombe.
There liues more life in one of your faire eyes,
Then both your Poets can in praise deuise.
WHo is it that sayes most,which can say more,
Then this rich praise,that you alone,are you,
In whose confine immured is the store,
Which should example where your equall grew,
1250Leane penurie within that Pen doth dwell,
That to his subiect lends not some small glory,
But he that writes of you,if he can tell,
That you are you,so dignifies his story.
Let him but coppy what in you is writ,
1255Not making worse what nature made so cleere,
And such a counter-part shall fame his wit,
Making his stile admired euery where.
You to your beautious blessings adde a curse,
Being fond on praise,which makes your praises worse.