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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)


    1540Were it not sinfull then striuing to mend,
    To marre the subiect that before was well,
    For to no other passe my verses tend,
    Then of your graces and your gifts to tell.
    And more, much more then in my verse can sit,
    1545Your owne glasse showes you, when you looke in it.


    TO me faire friend you neuer can be old,
    For as you were when first your eye I eyde,
    Such seemes your beautie still:Three Winters colde,
    1550Haue from the forrests shooke three summers pride,
    Three beautious springs to yellow Autumne turn'd,
    In processe of the seasons haue I seene,
    Three Aprill perfumes in three hot Iunes burn'd,
    Since first I saw you fresh which yet are greene.
    1555Ah yet doth beauty like a Dyall hand,
    Steale from his figure, and no pace perceiu'd,
    So your sweete hew, which me thinkes still doth stand
    Hath motion, and mine eye may be deceaued.
    For feare of which, heare this thou age vnbred,
    1560Ere you were borne was beauties summer dead.


    LEt not my loue be cal'd Idolatrie,
    Nor my beloued as an Idoll show,
    Since all alike my songs and praises be
    1565To one, of one, still such, and euer so.
    Kinde is my loue to day, to morrow kinde,
    Still constant in a wondrous excellence,
    Therefore my verse to constancie confin'de,
    One thing expressing, leaues out difference.
    1570Faire, kinde, and true, is all my argument,
    Faire, kinde and true, varrying to other words,
    And in this change is my inuention spent,
    Three theams in one, which wondrous scope affords.
    Faire, kinde, and true, haue often liu'd alone.
    1575Which three till now, neuer kept seate in one.