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Sonnets of William Shakespeare

VIII

Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?

Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights with joy,

Why lov'st thou which thou reciev'st not gladly?

Or else reciev'st with pleasure thine annoy?

If the true concord of well-tuned sounds

By unions married, do offend thine ear,

They do but sweetly chide thee, who confounds

In singleness the parts that thou shouldst bear.

Mark how one string, sweet husband to another,

Strikes each in each by mutual ordering;

Resembling sire and child and happy mother,

Who, all in one, one pleasing note do sing:

Whose speechless song, being many, seeming one,

Sings this to thee, 'thou single wilt prove none.'

 

IX

Is it for fear to wet a widow's eye

That thou consum'st thyself in single life?

Ah! If thou issueless shalt hap to die,

The world will wail thee, like a makeless wife:

The world will be thy widow, and still weep

That thou no form of thee hast left behind,

When every private widow well may keep,

By children's eyes, her husband's shape in mind.

Look, what an unthrift in the world doth spend

Shifts but his place, for still the world enjoys it:

But beauty's waste hath in the world an end,

And kept unus'd, the user so destroys it.

No love toward others in that bosom sits,

That on himself such murderous shame commits.

 

X

For shame! deny that thou bear'st love to any,

Who for thyself art so unprovident.

Grant if thou wilt thou art belov'd of many,

But that thou none lov'st is most evident;

For thou art so possess'd with murderous hate,

That 'gainst thyself thou stick'st not to conspire,

Seeking that beauteous roof to ruinate,

Which to repair should be thy chief desire.

O change thy thought, that I may change my mind!

Shall hate be fairer lodg'ed than gentle love?

Be, as thy presence is, gracious and kind,

Or to thyself, at least, kind-hearted prove;

Make thee another self, for love of me,

That beauty still may live in thine or thee.

 

XI

As fast as thou shalt wane, so fast thou grow'st

In one of thine, from that which thou departest.

And that fresh blood which youngly thou bestow'st,

Thou mayst call thine, when thou from youth convertest.

Herein lives wisdom, beauty, and increase:

Without this folly, age, and cold decay.

If all were minded so the times should cease,

And threescore years would make the world away.

Let those whom Nature hath not made for store,

Harsh, featureless, and rude, barrenly perish:

Look whom she best endow'd, she gave the more;

Which bounteous gift thou shouldst in in bounty cherish;

She carv'd thee for her seal, and meant thereby

Thou shouldst print more, nor let that copy die.

 

XII

When I do count the clock that tells the time,

And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;

When I behold the violet past prime,

And sable curls, all silver'd o'er with white;

When lofty trees I see barren of leaves,

Which erst from heat did canopy the herd,

And summer's green all girded up in sheaves,

Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard;

Then of thy beauty do I of question make,

That thou among the wastes of time must go,

Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake,

And die as fast as they see others grow;

And nothing 'gainst Time's scythe can make defence

Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence.

 

XIII

O that you were yourself: but, love, you are

No longer yours than you yourself here live:

Against this coming end you should prepare,

And your sweet semblance to some other give.

So should that beauty which you hold in lease

Find no determination: then you were

Yourself again, after yourself's decrease,

When your sweet issue your sweet form should bear.

Who lets so fair a house fall to decay,

Which husbandry in honor might uphold

Against the stormy gusts of winter's day,

And barren rage of death's eternal cold?

O! none but unthrifts:óDear my love, you know

You had a father; let your son say so.

 

XIV

Not from the stars do I my judgement pluck;

And yet methinks I have astronomy,

But not to tell of good or evil luck,

Of plagues, of dearth, of season's quality:

Nor can I fortune to brief minutes tell,

Pointing to each his thunder, rain, and wind,

Or say with princes if it shall go well,

By oft predict that I in heaven find:

But from thine eyes my knowledge I derive,

And (constant stars) in them I read such art,

As truth and beauty shall together thrive,

If from thyself to store thou wouldst convert:

Or else of thee this I prognosticate,

Thy end is truth's and beauty's doom and date.

 

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