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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Love is my sin, and thy dear virtue hate,
    Hate of my sin, grounded on sinful loving;
    Oh, but with mine compare thou thine own state,
    2120And thou shalt find it merits not reproving;
    Or if it do, not from those lips of thine,
    That have profaned their scarlet ornaments,
    And sealed false bonds of love as oft as mine,
    Robbed others' beds' revenues of their rents.
    2125Be it lawful I love thee as thou lov'st those
    Whom thine eyes woo, as mine importune thee,
    Root pity in thy heart, that when it grows,
    Thy pity may deserve to pitied be.
    If thou dost seek to have what thou dost hide,
    2130 By self-example mayst thou be denied.
    Lo, as a careful housewife runs to catch
    One of her feathered creatures broke away,
    Sets down her babe, and makes all swift dispatch
    2135In pursuit of the thing she would have stay;
    Whilst her neglected child holds her in chase,
    Cries to catch her whose busy care is bent
    To follow that which flies before her face,
    Not prizing her poor infant's discontent:
    2140So run'st thou after that which flies from thee,
    Whilst I, thy babe, chase thee afar behind.
    But if thou catch thy hope, turn back to me,
    And play the mother's part, kiss me, be kind.
    So will I pray that thou mayst have thy Will,
    2145 If thou turn back and my loud crying still.
    Two loves I have, of comfort and despair,
    Which, like two spirits, do suggest me still:
    The better angel is a man right fair,
    2150The worser spirit a woman colored ill.
    To win me soon to hell my female evil
    Tempteth my better angel from my side,
    And would corrupt my saint to be a devil,
    Wooing his purity with her foul pride.
    2155And whether that my angel be turned fiend
    Suspect I may, yet not directly tell;
    But being both from me, both to each friend,
    I guess one angel in another's hell.
    Yet this shall I ne'er know, but live in doubt,
    2160Till my bad angel fire my good one out.