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About this text

  • Title: Shake-speares Sonnets (Quarto 1, 1609)
  • Editors: Hardy M. Cook, Ian Lancashire

  • Copyright Hardy M. Cook and Ian Lancashire. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editors: Hardy M. Cook, Ian Lancashire
    Peer Reviewed

    Shake-speares Sonnets (Quarto 1, 1609)


    Or else of thee this I prognosticate,
    Thy end is Truthes and Beauties doome and date.


    WHen I consider euery thing that growes
    Holds in perfection but a little moment.
    That this huge stage presenteth nought but showes
    Whereon the Stars in secret influence comment.
    215When I perceiue that men as plants increase,
    Cheared and checkt euen by the selfe-same skie:
    Vaunt in their youthfull sap, at height decrease,
    And were their braue state out of memory.
    Then the conceit of this inconstant stay,
    220Sets you most rich in youth before my sight,
    Where wastfull time debateth with decay
    To change your day of youth to sullied night,
    And all in war with Time for loue of you
    As he takes from you, I ingraft you new.


    BVt wherefore do not you a mightier waie
    Make warre vppon this bloudie tirant time?
    And fortifie your selfe in your decay
    With meanes more blessed then my barren rime?
    230Now stand you on the top of happie houres,
    And many maiden gardens yet vnset,
    With vertuous wish would beare your liuing flowers,
    Much liker then your painted counterfeit:
    So should the lines of life that life repaire
    235Which this (Times pensel or my pupill pen )
    Neither in inward worth nor outward faire
    Can make you liue your selfe in eies of men,
    To giue away your selfe, keeps your selfe still,
    And you must liue drawne by your owne sweet skill,


    WHo will beleeue my verse in time to come
    If it were fild with your most high deserts?
    B 4