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

Shake-speares Sonnets (Quarto 1, 1609)


HOw like a Winter hath my absence beene
From thee,the pleasure of the fleeting yeare?
What freezings haue I felt,what darke daies seene?
What old Decembers barenesse euery where?
1445And yet this time remou'd was sommers time,
The teeming Autumne big with ritch increase,
Bearing the wanton burthen of the prime,
Like widdowed wombes after their Lords decease:
Yet this aboundant issue seem'd to me,
1450But hope of Orphans,and vn-fathered fruite,
For Sommer and his pleasures waite on thee,
And thou away,the very birds are mute.
Or if they sing,tis with so dull a cheere,
That leaues looke pale,dreading the Winters neere.
FRom you haue I beene absent in the spring,
When proud pide Aprill (drest in all his trim)
Hath put a spirit of youth in euery thing:
That heauie Saturne laught and leapt with him.
1460Yet nor the laies of birds,nor the sweet smell
Of different flowers in odor and in hew,
Could make me any summers story tell:
Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew:
Nor did I wonder at the Lillies white,
1465Nor praise the deepe vermillion in the Rose,
They weare but sweet,but figures of delight:
Drawne after you, you patterne of all those.
Yet seem'd it Winter still,and you away,
As with your shaddow I with these did play.
THe forward violet thus did I chide,
Sweet theefe whence didst thou steale thy sweet that smels
If not from my loues breath,the purple pride,
Which on thy soft cheeke for complexion dwells?
1475In my loues veines thou hast too grosely died,
The Lillie I condemned for thy hand,
And buds of marierom had stolne thy haire,
The Roses fearefully on thornes did stand,
Our blushing shame,an other white dispaire:
1480A third nor red,nor white,had stolne of both,
And to his robbry had annext thy breath,
But for his theft in pride of all his growth
A vengfull canker eate him vp to death.
More flowers I noted,yet I none could see,
1485But sweet,or culler it had stolne from thee.