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Sonnets of William Shakespeare


Since I left you, mine eye is in my mind;

And that which governs me to go about

Doth part his function, and is partly blind,

Seems seeing, but effectually is out;

For it no form delivers to the heart

Of bird, of flower, or shape, which it doth latch;

Of his quick objects hath the mind no part,

Nor his own vision holds what it doth catch;

For if it see the rud'st or gentlest sight,

The most sweet favour, or defomed'st creature,

The mountain or the sea, the day or night,

The crow, or dove, it shapes them to your feature.

Incapable of more, replete with you,

My most true mind thus maketh mine untrue.



Or whether doth my mind being crown'd with you,

Drink up the monarch's plague, this flattery,

Or whether should I say mine aye saith true,

And that your love taught it this alchymy,

To make of monsters and things indigest

Such cherubins as your sweet self resemble,

Creating every bad a perfect best,

As fast as objects to his beam assemble?

O, 'tis the first, 'tis flattery in my seeing,

And my great mind most kingly drinks it up:

Mine eye well knows what with his gust is 'greeing,

And to his palate doth prepare the cup:

If it be poison'd, 'tis the lesser sin

That mine eye loves it, and doth first begin.



Those lines that I before have writ, do lie;

Even those that said I could not love you dearer;

Yet then my judgment knew no reasons why

My most full flame should afterwards burn clearer.

But reckoning time, whose million'd accidents

Creep in 'twixt vows, and change decrees of kings,

Tan sacred beauty, blunt the sharp'st intents,

Divert strong minds to the course of altering things;

Alas! why, fearing of Time's tyranny,

Might I not then say, 'Now I love you best,'

When I was certain o'er incertainty,

Crowning the present, doubting of the rest?

Love is a babe; then might I not say so,

To give full growth to that which still doth grow?



Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments. Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove:

O no: it is an ever-fixed mark,

That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wandering bark,

Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.

Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle's compass come;

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error, and upon me prov'd,

I never writ, nor no man ever lov'd.



Accuse me thus; that I have scanted all

Wherein I should your great deserts repay;

Forgot upon your dearest love to call,

Whereto all bonds do tie me day by day;

That I have frequent been with unknown minds,

And given to time your own dear-purchas'd right;

That I have hoisted sail to all the winds

Which should transport me farthest from your sight.

Book both my wilfulness and errors down,

And on just proof surmise accumulate,

Bring me within the level of your frown,

But shoot not at me in your waken'd hate:

Since my appeal says, I did strive to prove

The constancy and virtue of your love.



Like as, to make our appetites more keen,

With eager compounds we our palate urge;

As, to prevent our maladies unseen,

We sicken to shun sickness, when we purge;

Even so, being full of your ne'er-cloying sweetness,

To bitter sauces did I frame my feeding,

And, sick of welfare, found a kind of meetness

To be diseas'd, ere that there was true needing.

Thus policy in love, to anticipate

The ills that were not, grew to faults assured,

And brought to medicine a healthful state,

Which, rank of goodness, would by ill be cured.

But thence I learn, and find the lesson true,

Drugs poison him that so fell sick of you.



What potions have I drunk of Siren tears,

Distill'd them from limbecs foul as hell within,

Applying fears to hopes, and hopes to fears,

Still losing when I saw myself to win!

What wretched errors hath my heart committed,

Whilst it hath thought itself so blessed never!

How have mine eyes out of their spheres been fitted,

In the distraction of this madding fever!

O benefit of ill! now I find true

That better is by evil still made better;

And ruin'd love, when it is built anew,

Grows fairer than at first, more strong, far greater,

So I return rebuk'd to my content,

And gain by ill thrice more than I have spent.


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