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About this text

  • Title: Shake-speares Sonnets (Quarto 1, 1609)
  • Editors: Hardy M. Cook, Ian Lancashire

  • Copyright Hardy M. Cook and Ian Lancashire. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editors: Hardy M. Cook, Ian Lancashire
    Peer Reviewed

    Shake-speares Sonnets (Quarto 1, 1609)


    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.


    MY toung-tide Muse in manners holds her still,
    While comments of your praise richly compil'd,
    Reserue their Character with goulden quill,
    And precious phrase by all the Muses fil'd.
    1265I thinke good thoughts, whilst other write good wordes,
    And like vnlettered clarke still crie Amen,
    To euery Himne that able spirit affords,
    In polisht forme of well refined pen.
    Hearing you praisd, I say 'tis so, 'tis true,
    1270And to the most of praise adde some-thing more,
    But that is in my thought, whose loue to you
    (Though words come hind-most)holds his ranke before,
    Then others, for the breath of words respect,
    Me for my dombe thoughts, speaking in effect.


    VVAs it the proud full saile of his great verse,
    Bound for the prize of (all to precious) you,
    That did my ripe thoughts in my braine inhearce,
    Making their tombe the wombe wherein they grew?
    1280Was it his spirit, by spirits taught to write,
    Aboue a mortall pitch, that struck me dead ?
    No, neither he, nor his compiers by night
    Giuing him ayde, my verse astonished.
    He nor that affable familiar ghost
    1285Which nightly gulls him with intelligence,
    As victors of my silence cannot boast,
    I was