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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)

    VVHy is my verse so barren of new pride?
    So far from variation or quicke change?
    Why with the time do I not glance aside
    To new found methods, and to compounds strange?
    1130Why write I still all one, euer the same,
    And keepe inuention in a noted weed,
    That euery word doth almost fel my name,
    Shewing their birth, and where they did proceed proceed
    O know sweet loue I alwaies write of you,
    1135And you and loue are still my argument:
    So all my best is dressing old words new,
    Spending againe what is already spent:
    For as the Sun is daily new and old,
    So is my loue still telling what is told,
    THy glasse will shew thee how thy beauties were,
    Thy dyall how thy pretious mynuits waste,
    The vacant leaues thy mindes imprint will beare,
    And of this booke, this learning maist thou taste.
    1145The wrinckles which thy glasse will truly show,
    Of mouthed graues will giue thee memorie,
    Thou by thy dyals shady stealth maist know,
    Times theeuish progresse to eternitie.
    Looke what thy memorie cannot containe,
    1150Commit to these waste blacks, and thou shalt finde
    Those children nurst, deliuerd from thy braine,
    To take a new acquaintance of thy minde.
    These offices, so oft as thou wilt looke,
    Shall profit thee, and much inrich thy booke.
    SO oft haue I inuok'd thee for my Muse,
    And found such faire assistance in my verse,
    As euery Alien pen hath got my vse,
    And vnder thee their poesie disperse.
    1160Thine eyes, that taught the dumbe on high to sing,
    And heauie ignorance aloft to flie,
    Haue added fethers to the learneds wing,
    And giuen grace a double Maiestie.
    Yet be most proud of that which I compile,
    1165Whose influence is thine, and borne of thee,
    In others workes thou doost but mend the stile,
    And Arts with thy sweete graces graced be.
    But thou art all my art, and doost aduance
    As high as learning, my rude ignorance.