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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)


    How with this rage shall beautie hold a plea,
    Whose action is no stronger then a flower?

    965O how shall summers hunny breath hold out,
    Against the wrackfull siedge of battring dayes,
    When rocks impregnable are not so stoute ,
    Nor gates of steele so strong but time decayes?
    O fearefull meditation, where alack,
    970Shall times best Iewell from times chest lie hid?
    Or what strong hand can hold his swift foote back,
    Or who his spoile or beautie can forbid?
    O none, vnlesse this miracle haue might,
    That in black inck my loue may still shine bright.


    TYr'd with all these for restfull death I cry,
    As to behold desert a begger borne,
    And needie Nothing trimd in iollitie,
    And purest faith vnhappily forsworne,
    980And gilded honor shamefully misplast,
    And maiden vertue rudely strumpeted,
    And right perfection wrongfully disgrac'd,
    And strength by limping sway disabled ,
    And arte made tung-tide by authoritie,
    985And Folly (Doctor-like) controuling skill,
    And simple-Truth miscalde Simplicitie,
    And captiue-good attending Captaine ill.
    Tyr'd with all these, from these would I be gone,
    Saue that to dye, I leaue my loue alone.


    AH wherefore with infection should he liue,
    And with his presence grace impietie,
    That sinne by him aduantage should atchiue,
    And lace it selfe with his societie ?
    995Why should false painting immitate his cheeke,
    And steale dead seeing of his liuing hew?

    Why should poore beautie indirectly seeke,
    Roses of shaddow, since his Rose is true?