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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    So am I as the rich, whose blessèd key
    Can bring him to his sweet up-lockèd treasure,
    The which he will not every hour survey,
    For blunting the fine point of seldom pleasure;
    770Therefore are feasts so solemn and so rare,
    Since, seldom coming, in the long year set,
    Like stones of worth they thinly placèd are,
    Or captain jewels in the carcanet.
    So is the time that keeps you as my chest,
    775Or as the wardrobe which the robe doth hide,
    To make some special instant special blessed
    By new unfolding his imprisoned pride.
    Blessed are you, whose worthiness gives scope,
    Being had, to triumph; being lacked, to hope.
    What is your substance, whereof are you made,
    That millions of strange shadows on you tend?
    Since every one hath every one one shade,
    And you, but one, can every shadow lend;
    785Describe Adonis, and the counterfeit
    Is poorly imitated after you;
    On Helen's cheek all art of beauty set
    And you in Grecian tires are painted new;
    Speak of the spring, and foison of the year:
    790The one doth shadow of your beauty show,
    The other as your bounty doth appear,
    And you in every blessed shape we know.
    In all external grace you have some part,
    But you like none, none you, for constant heart.
    Oh, how much more doth beauty beauteous seem
    By that sweet ornament which truth doth give!
    The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem
    For that sweet odor which doth in it live;
    800The canker blooms have full as deep a dye
    As the perfumèd tincture of the roses,
    Hang on such thorns, and play as wantonly,
    When summer's breath their maskèd buds discloses;
    But, for their virtue only is their show,
    805They live unwooed, and unrespected fade,
    Die to themselves. Sweet roses do not so;
    Of their sweet deaths are sweetest odors made:
    And so of you, beauteous and lovely youth,
    When that shall vade, my verse distils your truth.