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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Oh that you were yourself! But, love, you are
    No longer yours than you yourself here live.
    Against this coming end you should prepare,
    And your sweet semblance to some other give.
    185So should that beauty which you hold in lease
    Find no determination; then you were
    Yourself again after yourself's decease,
    When your sweet issue your sweet form should bear.
    Who lets so fair a house fall to decay,
    190Which husbandry in honor might uphold
    Against the stormy gusts of winter's day
    And barren rage of death's eternal cold?
    Oh, none but unthrifts, dear my love you know:
    You had a father; let your son say so.
    Not from the stars do I my judgment pluck,
    And yet methinks I have astronomy;
    But not to tell of good or evil luck,
    Of plagues, of dearths, or seasons' quality;
    200Nor can I fortune to brief minutes tell,
    'Pointing to each his thunder, rain and wind,
    Or say with princes if it shall go well
    By oft predict that I in heaven find.
    But from thine eyes my knowledge I derive,
    205And, constant stars, in them I read such art
    As truth and beauty shall together thrive
    If from thyself, to store thou wouldst convert:
    Or else of thee this I prognosticate,
    Thy end is truth's and beauty's doom and date.
    When I consider everything that grows
    Holds in perfection but a little moment;
    That this huge stage presenteth naught but shows
    Whereon the stars in secret influence comment;
    215When I perceive that men as plants increase,
    Cheered and checked even by the self-same sky,
    Vaunt in their youthful sap, at height decrease,
    And wear their brave state out of memory;
    Then the conceit of this inconstant stay
    220Sets you, most rich in youth, before my sight,
    Where wasteful time debateth with decay
    To change your day of youth to sullied night;
    And all in war with Time for love of you,
    As he takes from you, I engraft you new.