Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editors: Hardy M. Cook, Ian Lancashire
Peer Reviewed

Shake-speares Sonnets (Quarto 1, 1609)

TIS better to be vile then vile esteemed,
When not to be, receiues reproach of being,
And the iust pleasure lost, which is so deemed,
1805Not by our feeling, but by others seeing.
For why should others false adulterat eyes
Giue salutation to my sportiue blood?
Or on my frailties why are frailer spies;
Which in their wils count bad what I think good?
1810Noe, I am that I am, and they that leuell
At my abuses, reckon vp their owne,
I may be straight though they them-selues be beuel
By their rancke thoughtes, my deedes must not be shown
Vnlesse this generall euill they maintaine,
1815All men are bad and in their badnesse raigne.
TThy guift, , thy tables, are within my braine
Full characterd with lasting memory,
Which shall aboue that idle rancke remaine
1820Beyond all date euen to eternity.
Or at the least, so long as braine and heart
Haue facultie by nature to subsist,
Til each to raz'd obliuion yeeld his part
Of thee, thy record neuer can be mist:
1825That poore retention could not so much hold,
Nor need I tallies thy deare loue to skore,
Therefore to giue them from me was I bold,
To trust those tables that receaue thee more,
To keepe an adiunckt to remember thee,
1830Were to import forgetfulnesse in mee.
NO! Time, thou shalt not bost that I doe change,
Thy pyramyds buylt vp with newer might
To me are nothing nouell, nothing strange,
1835They are but dressings of a former sight:
Our dates are breefe, and therefor we admire,
What thou dost foyst vpon vs that is ould,
And rather make them borne to our desire,
Then thinke that we before haue heard them tould:
1840Thy registers and thee I both defie,
Not wondring at the present, nor the past,
For thy records, and what we see doth lye,
Made more or les by thy continuall hast:
This I doe vow and this shall euer be,
1845I will be true dispight thy syeth and thee.