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Sonnets of William Shakespeare

CVI

When in the chronicle of wasted time

I see descriptions of the fairest wights,

And beauty making beautiful old rhyme,

In praise of ladies dead and lovely knights,

Then in the blazon of sweet beauty's best,

Of hand, of foot, of lip, of eye, of brow,

I see their antique pen would have express'd

Even such a beauty as you master now.

So all their praises are but prophecies

Of this our time, all you prefiguring;

And, for they look'd but with divining eyes,

They had not skill enough your worth to sing:

For we, which now behold these present days,

Have eyes to wonder, but lack tongues to praise.

 

CVII

Not mine own fears, nor the prophetic soul

Of the wide world dreaming on things to come,

Can yet the lease of my true love control,

Suppos'd as forfeit to a confin'd doom.

The mortal moon hath her eclipse endur'd,

And the sad augers mock their own presage;

Incertainties now crown themselves assur'd,

And peace proclaims olives of endless age.

Now with the drops of this most balmy time

My love looks fresh, and Death to me subscribes,

Since spite of him I'll live in this poor rhyme,

While he insults o'er dull and speechless tribes.

And thou in this shalt find thy monument,

When tyrants' crests and tombs of brass are spent.

 

CVIII

What's in the brain that ink may character,

Which hath not figur'd to thee my true spirit?

What's new to speak, what new to register,

That may express my love, or thy dear merit?

Nothing, sweet boy; but yet, like prayers divine,

I must each day say o'er the very same;

Counting no old thing old, thou mine, I thine,

Even as when first I hallow'd thy fair name.

So that eternal love in love's fresh case

Weighs not the dust and injury of age,

Nor gives to necessary wrinkles place,

But makes antiquity of aye his page;

Finding the first conceit of love there bred,

Where time and outward form would show it dead.

 

CIX

O, never say that I was false of heart,

Though absence seem'd my flame to qualify!

As easy might I from myself depart,

As from my soul, where in thy breast doth lie:

That is my home of love: if I have rang'd,

Like him that travels, I return again;

Just to the time, not with the time exchang'd,

So that myself bring water for my stain.

Never believe, though in my nature reign'd

All frailties that besiege all kinds of blood,

That it could so preposterously be stain'd,

To leave for nothing all thy sum of good;

For nothing this wide universe I call,

Save thou, my rose; in it thou art my all.

 

CX

Alas, 'tis true, I have gone here and there,

And made myself a motley to the view,

Gor'd mine own thoughts, sold cheap what is most dear,

Made old offences of affections new.

Most true it is, that I have look'd on truth

Askance and strangely; but, by all above,

These blenches gave my heart another youth,

And worst essays prov'd thee my best of love.

Now all this is done, have what shall have no end:

Mine appetite I never more will grind

On newer proof, to try an older friend,

A God in love, to whom I am confin'd.

Then give me welcome, next my heaven the best,

Even to thy pure and most most loving breast.

 

CXI

O, for my sake do you with Fortune chide,

The guilty goddess of my harmful deeds,

That did not better for my life provide,

Than public means, which public manners breeds.

Thence comes it that my name receives a brand,

And almost thence my nature is subdued

To what it works in, like the dyer's hand:

Pity me then, and wish I were renew'd;

Whilst, like a willing patient, I will drink

Potions of eysell, 'gainst my strong infection;

No bitterness that I will bitter think,

Nor double penance, to correct correction.

Pity me then, dear friend, and I assure ye,

Even that your pity is enough to cure me.

 

CXII

Your love and pity doth my impression fill

Which vulgar scandal stamp'd upon my brow;

For what care I who calls me well or ill,

So you o'ergreen my bad, my good allow?

You are my all-the-world, and I must strive

To know my shames and praises from your tongue;

None else to me, nor I to none alive,

That my steel'd sense or changes, right or wrong.

In so profound abysm I throw all care

Of other's voices, that my adder's sense

To critic and to flatterer stopped are.

Mark how with my neglect I do dispense;

You are so strongly in my purpose bred,

That all the world besides methinks are dead.

 

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