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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Against that time, if ever that time come,
    When I shall see thee frown on my defects;
    Whenas thy love hath cast his utmost sum,
    Called to that audit by advised respects;
    725Against that time when thou shalt strangely pass,
    And scarcely greet me with that sun, thine eye,
    When love, converted from the thing it was,
    Shall reasons find of settled gravity;
    Against that time do I ensconce me here,
    730Within the knowledge of mine own desert,
    And this my hand against myself uprear,
    To guard the lawful reasons on thy part.
    To leave poor me, thou hast the strength of laws,
    Since why to love, I can allege no cause.
    How heavy do I journey on the way
    When what I seek, my weary travel's end,
    Doth teach that ease and that repose to say,
    "Thus far the miles are measured from thy friend."
    740The beast that bears me, tired with my woe,
    Plods dully on to bear that weight in me,
    As if by some instinct the wretch did know
    His rider loved not speed being made from thee.
    The bloody spur cannot provoke him on
    745That sometimes anger thrusts into his hide,
    Which heavily he answers with a groan,
    More sharp to me than spurring to his side,
    For that same groan doth put this in my mind:
    My grief lies onward and my joy behind.
    Thus can my love excuse the slow offence
    Of my dull bearer, when from thee I speed:
    From where thou art, why should I haste me thence?
    Till I return, of posting is no need.
    755Oh, what excuse will my poor beast then find,
    When swift extremity can seem but slow?
    Then should I spur, though mounted on the wind;
    In winged speed no motion shall I know;
    Then can no horse with my desire keep pace;
    760Therefore desire, of perfect'st love being made,
    Shall weigh no dull flesh in his fiery race,
    But love, for love, thus shall excuse my jade:
    Since from thee going he went wilful-slow,
    Towards thee I'll run, and give him leave to go.