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Sonnets of William Shakespeare


In the old age black was not counted fair,

Or if it were, it bore not beauty's name;

But now is black beauty's successive heir,

And beauty slander'd with a bastard shame:

For since each hand hath put on nature's power,

Fairing the foul with art's false borrow'd face,

Sweet beauty hath no face, no holy hour,

But is profan'd, if not lives in disgrace.

Therefore my mistress' eyes are raven black,

Her eyes so suited; and they mourners seem

At such, who, not born fair, no beauty lack,

Slandering creation with a false esteem:

Yet so they mourn, becoming of their woe,

That every tongue says, beauty should look so.



How oft, when thou, my music, music play'st,

Upon the blessed wood whose motion sounds

With thy sweet fingers, when thou gently sway'st

The wiry concord that mine ear confounds,

Do I envy those jacks, that nimble leap

To kiss the tender inward of your hand,

Whilst my poor lips, which should that harvest reap,

At the wood's boldness by thee blushing stand!

To be so tickled, they would change their state

And situation with those dancing chips,

O'er whom thy fingers walk with gentle gait,

Making dead wood more bless'd than living lips,

Since saucy jacks so happy are in this,

Give them thy fingers, me thy lips to kiss.



The expense of spirit in a waste of shame

Is lust in action; and till action, lust

Is perjur'd, murderous, bloody, full of blame,

Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust;

Enjoy'd no sooner, but despised straight;

Past reason hunted; and no sooner had,

Past reason hated, as a swallow'd bait,

On purpose laid to make the taker mad.

Mad in pursuit, and in possession so;

Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;

A bliss in proof,—and prov'd, a very woe;

Before, a joy propos'd; behind, a dream:

All this the world well knows; yet none knows well

To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.



My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;

Coral is far more red than her lips' red;

If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;

If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

I have seen roses damask'd, red and white,

But no such roses see I in her cheeks;

And in some perfumes is there more delight

Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.

I love to hear her speak,—yet well I know

That music hath a far more pleasing sound;

I grant I never saw a goddess go,—

My mistress when she walks , treads on the ground;

And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare

As any she belied with false compare.



Thou art as tyrannous, so as thou art,

As those whose beauties proudly make them cruel;

For well thou know'st to my dear doting heart

Thou art the fairest and most precious jewel,

Yet, in good faith, some say that thee behold,

Thy face hath not the lower to make love groan:

To say they err, I dare not be so bold,

Although I swear it to myself alone,

And, to be sure that it is not false I swear,

A thousand groans, but thinking on thy face,

One on another's neck, do witness bear

Thy black is fairest in my judgment's place.

In nothing art thou black, save in thy deeds,

And thence this slander, as I think, proceeds.



Thine eyes I love, and they, as pitying me,

Knowing thy heart torments me with disdain,

Have put on black, and loving mourners be,

Looking with pretty ruth upon my pain.

And truly not the morning sun of heaven

Better becomes the grey cheeks of the east,

Nor that full star that ushers in the even

Doth half that glory to the sober west,

As those two mourning eyes become thy face:

O, let it then as well beseem thy heart

To mourn for me, since mourning doth thee grace,

And suit thy pity like in every part.

Then will I swear beauty herself is black,

And all they foul that thy complexion lack.



Beshrew that heart that makes my heart to groan

For that deep wound it gives my friend and me:

Is't not enough to torture me alone,

But slave to slavery my sweet'st friend must be?

Me from myself thy cruel eye hath taken,

And my next self thou harder hast engross'd;

Of him, myself, and thee, I am forsaken;

A torment thrice three-fold thus to be cross'd.

Prison my heart in thy steel bosom's ward,

But then my friend's heart let my poor heart bail;

Who e'er keeps me, let my heart be his guard;

Thou canst not then use rigour in my goal:

And yet thou wilt; for I, being pent in thee

Perforce am thine, and all that is in me.


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