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  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    94564
    When I have seen by Time's fell hand defaced
    The rich proud cost of outworn buried age;
    When sometime lofty towers I see down-razed,
    And brass eternal slave to mortal rage;
    950When I have seen the hungry ocean gain
    Advantage on the kingdom of the shore,
    And the firm soil win of the wat'ry main,
    Increasing store with loss, and loss with store;
    When I have seen such interchange of state,
    955Or state itself confounded to decay,
    Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate
    That Time will come and take my love away.
    This thought is as a death, which cannot choose
    But weep to have that which it fears to lose.
    96065
    Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea,
    But sad mortality o'ersways their power,
    How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea,
    Whose action is no stronger than a flower?
    965Oh, how shall summer's honey breath hold out
    Against the wrackful siege of batt'ring days
    When rocks impregnable are not so stout,
    Nor gates of steel so strong, but time decays?
    Oh, fearful meditation! Where, alack,
    970Shall Time's best jewel from Time's chest lie hid?
    Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back,
    Or who his spoil of beauty can forbid?
    O, none, unless this miracle have might,
    That in black ink my love may still shine bright.
    97566
    Tired with all these for restful death I cry:
    As to behold desert a beggar born,
    And needy nothing trimmed in jollity,
    And purest faith unhappily forsworn,
    980And gilded honor shamefully misplaced,
    And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted,
    And right perfection wrongfully disgraced,
    And strength by limping sway disabled,
    And art made tongue-tied by authority,
    985And folly, doctor-like, controlling skill,
    And simple truth miscalled simplicity,
    And captive good attending captain ill:
    Tired with all these, from these would I be gone,
    Save that to die I leave my love alone.