What do you like about the ISE? What could we do better? Please tell us in this 10-minute survey!

Start Survey

Internet Shakespeare Editions

Become a FriendSign in

About this text

  • Title: The Sonnets (Modern)
  • Editor: Michael Best

  • Copyright Internet Shakespeare Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-proift purposes; for all other uses contact the Coordinating Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Michael Best
    Not Peer Reviewed

    The Sonnets (Modern)

    Is it thy will thy image should keep open
    My heavy eyelids to the weary night?
    Dost thou desire my slumbers should be broken,
    While shadows like to thee do mock my sight?
    905Is it thy spirit that thou send'st from thee
    So far from home into my deeds to pry,
    To find out shames and idle hours in me,
    The scope and tenor of thy jealousy?
    Oh, no, thy love, though much, is not so great;
    910It is my love that keeps mine eye awake,
    Mine own true love that doth my rest defeat,
    To play the watchman ever for thy sake.
    For thee watch I, whilst thou dost wake elsewhere,
    From me far off, with others all too near.
    Sin of self-love possesseth all mine eye,
    And all my soul, and all my every part;
    And for this sin there is no remedy,
    It is so grounded inward in my heart.
    920Methinks no face so gracious is as mine,
    No shape so true, no truth of such account,
    And for myself mine own worth do define,
    As I all other in all worths surmount.
    But when my glass shows me myself indeed,
    925Beated and chapped with tanned antiquity,
    Mine own self-love quite contrary I read;
    Self, so self-loving, were iniquity.
    'Tis thee--my self--that for myself I praise,
    Painting my age with beauty of thy days.
    Against my love shall be as I am now,
    With Time's injurious hand crushed and o'erworn;
    When hours have drained his blood, and filled his brow
    With lines and wrinkles; when his youthful morn
    935Hath travelled on to age's steepy night,
    And all those beauties whereof now he's king
    Are vanishing, or vanished out of sight,
    Stealing away the treasure of his spring;
    For such a time do I now fortify
    940Against confounding age's cruel knife,
    That he shall never cut from memory
    My sweet love's beauty, though my lover's life.
    His beauty shall in these black lines be seen,
    And they shall live, and he in them still green.