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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Those lips that Love's own hand did make
    Breathed forth the sound that said "I hate,"
    To me, that languished for her sake;
    2165But when she saw my woeful state,
    Straight in her heart did mercy come,
    Chiding that tongue that, ever sweet,
    Was used in giving gentle doom,
    And taught it thus anew to greet:
    2170"I hate" she altered with an end
    That followed it as gentle day
    Doth follow night who, like a fiend,
    From heaven to hell is flown away.
    "I hate" from "hate" away she threw,
    2175 And saved my life, saying "not you."
    Poor soul, the centre of my sinful earth,
    Thrall to these rebel powers that thee array,
    Why dost thou pine within and suffer dearth,
    2180Painting thy outward walls so costly gay?
    Why so large cost, having so short a lease,
    Dost thou upon thy fading mansion spend?
    Shall worms, inheritors of this excess,
    Eat up thy charge? Is this thy body's end?
    2185Then soul, live thou upon thy servant's loss,
    And let that pine to aggravate thy store;
    Buy terms divine in selling hours of dross,
    Within be fed, without be rich no more.
    So shalt thou feed on death, that feeds on men,
    2190 And death once dead, there's no more dying then.
    My love is as a fever, longing still
    For that which longer nurseth the disease,
    Feeding on that which doth preserve the ill,
    2195Th'uncertain sickly appetite to please:
    My reason, the physician to my love,
    Angry that his prescriptions are not kept,
    Hath left me, and I desperate now approve
    Desire is death, which physic did except.
    2200Past cure I am, now reason is past care,
    And frantic-mad with evermore unrest,
    My thoughts and my discourse as madmen's are,
    At random from the truth vainly expressed.
    For I have sworn thee fair, and thought thee bright,
    2205 Who art as black as hell, as dark as night.