Internet Shakespeare Editions

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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
    Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
    If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
    1940If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head;
    I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
    But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
    And in some perfumes is there more delight
    Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
    1945I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
    That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
    I grant I never saw a goddess go--
    My mistress when she walks treads on the ground.
    And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
    1950 As any she belied with false compare.
    Thou art as tyrannous, so as thou art,
    As those whose beauties proudly make them cruel;
    For well thou know'st to my dear doting heart
    1955Thou art the fairest and most precious jewel.
    Yet in good faith some say, that thee behold,
    Thy face hath not the power to make love groan;
    To say they err, I dare not be so bold,
    Although I swear it to myself alone.
    1960And to be sure that is not false, I swear
    A thousand groans but thinking on thy face;
    One on another's neck do witness bear
    Thy black is fairest in my judgment's place.
    In nothing art thou black save in thy deeds,
    1965 And thence this slander, as I think, proceeds.
    Thine eyes I love, and they, as pitying me,
    Knowing thy heart torment me with disdain,
    Have put on black, and loving mourners be,
    1970Looking with pretty ruth upon my pain.
    And truly, not the morning sun of heaven
    Better becomes the grey cheeks of the East,
    Nor that full star that ushers in the even
    Doth half that glory to the sober West
    1975As those two mourning eyes become thy face:
    Oh, let it then as well beseem thy heart
    To mourn for me, since mourning doth thee grace,
    And suit thy pity like in every part.
    Then will I swear beauty herself is black,
    1980 And all they foul that thy complexion lack.