Internet Shakespeare Editions

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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    For shame deny that thou bear'st love to any,
    Who for thyself art so unprovident.
    Grant, if thou wilt, thou art beloved of many,
    But that thou none lov'st is most evident:
    140For thou art so possessed with murd'rous hate,
    That 'gainst thyself thou stick'st not to conspire,
    Seeking that beauteous roof to ruinate
    Which to repair should be thy chief desire:
    Oh, change thy thought, that I may change my mind;
    145Shall hate be fairer lodged than gentle love?
    Be as thy presence is, gracious and kind,
    Or to thyself at least kind-hearted prove;
    Make thee another self for love of me,
    That beauty still may live in thine or thee.
    As fast as thou shalt wane, so fast thou grow'st
    In one of thine, from that which thou departest;
    And that fresh blood which youngly thou bestow'st
    Thou mayst call thine, when thou from youth convertest.
    155Herein lives wisdom, beauty, and increase;
    Without this, folly, age, and cold decay.
    If all were minded so, the times should cease,
    And threescore year would make the world away:
    Let those whom nature hath not made for store,
    160Harsh, featureless, and rude, barrenly perish;
    Look whom she best endowed, she gave the more;
    Which bounteous gift thou shouldst in bounty cherish:
    She carved thee for her seal, and meant thereby
    Thou shouldst print more, not let that copy die.
    When I do count the clock that tells the time,
    And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;
    When I behold the violet past prime,
    And sable curls all silvered o'er with white:
    170When lofty trees I see barren of leaves,
    Which erst from heat did canopy the herd,
    And summer's green all girded up in sheaves
    Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard:
    Then of thy beauty do I question make,
    175That thou among the wastes of time must go,
    Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake,
    And die as fast as they see others grow,
    And nothing 'gainst Time's scythe can make defense,
    Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence.