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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Some glory in their birth, some in their skill,
    Some in their wealth, some in their body's force,
    Some in their garments, though new-fangled ill,
    Some in their hawks and hounds, some in their horse;
    1355And every humor hath his adjunct pleasure,
    Wherein it finds a joy above the rest.
    But these particulars are not my measure;
    All these I better in one general best.
    Thy love is better than high birth to me,
    1360Richer than wealth, prouder than garments' cost,
    Of more delight than hawks or horses be;
    And having thee, of all men's pride I boast--
    Wretched in this alone, that thou mayst take
    All this away, and me most wretched make.
    But do thy worst to steal thyself away,
    For term of life thou art assurèd mine,
    And life no longer than thy love will stay,
    For it depends upon that love of thine.
    1370Then need I not to fear the worst of wrongs,
    When in the least of them my life hath end;
    I see a better state to me belongs
    Than that which on thy humor doth depend.
    Thou canst not vex me with inconstant mind,
    1375Since that my life on thy revolt doth lie.
    Oh, what a happy title do I find,
    Happy to have thy love, happy to die!
    But what's so blessed-fair that fears no blot?
    Thou mayst be false, and yet I know it not.
    So shall I live, supposing thou art true,
    Like a deceived husband; so love's face
    May still seem love to me, though altered new,
    Thy looks with me, thy heart in other place.
    1385For there can live no hatred in thine eye,
    Therefore in that I cannot know thy change.
    In many's looks, the false heart's history
    Is writ in moods and frowns and wrinkles strange.
    But heaven in thy creation did decree
    1390That in thy face sweet love should ever dwell;
    Whate'er thy thoughts or thy heart's workings be,
    Thy looks should nothing thence but sweetness tell.
    How like Eve's apple doth thy beauty grow,
    If thy sweet virtue answer not thy show.