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Sonnets of William Shakespeare


In faith I do not love thee with mine eyes,

For they in thee a thousand errors note;

But 'tis my heart that loves what they despise,

Who in despite of view is pleased to dote.

Nor are my ears with thy tongue's tune delighted;

Nor tender feeling, to base touches prone,

Nor taste nor smell, desire to be invited

To any sensual feast with thee alone:

But my five wits, nor my five senses can

Dissuade one foolish heart from serving thee.

Who leaves unsway'd the likeness of a man,

Thy proud heart's slave and vassal wretch to be:

Only my plague thus far I count my gain,

That she that makes me sin, awards me pain.



Love is my sin, and thy dear virtue hate,

Hate of my sin, grounded on sinful loving:

O, but with mine compare thou thine own state,

And thou shalt find it merits not reproving;

Or, if it do, not from those lips of thine,

That have profan'd their scarlet ornaments,

And seal'd false bonds of love as oft as mine;

Robb'd others' beds' revenues of their rents.

Be it lawful I love thee, as thou lov'st those

Whom thine eyes woo as mine importune thee;

Root pity in thy heart, that, when it grows,

Thy pity may deserve to pity be.

If thou dost seek to have what thou dost hide,

By self-example mayst thou be denied!



Lo, as a careful housewife runs to catch

One of her feather'd creatures broke away,

Sets down her babe, and makes all swift despatch

In pursuit of the thing she would have stay;

Whilst her neglected child holds her in chace,

Cries to catch her whose busy care is bent

To follow that which flies before her face,

Not prizing her poor infant's discontent;

So runn'st thou after that which flies from thee,

Whilst I thy babe chase thee afar behind;

But if thou catch thy hope, turn back to me,

And play the mother's part, kiss me, be kind:

So will I pray that thou mayst have thy Will

If thou turn back, and my loud crying still.



Two loves I have of comfort and despair,

Which like two spirits do suggest me still;

The better angel is a man right fair,

The worser spirit a woman, colour'd ill.

To win me soon to hell, my female evil

Tempteth my better angel from my side,

And would corrupt my saint to be a devil,

Wooing his purity with her foul pride.

And whether that my angel be turn'd fiend,

Suspect I may, yet not directly tell;

But, being both from me, both to each friend,

I guess one angel in another's hell.

Yet this shall I ne'er know, but live in doubt,

Till my bad angel fire my good one out.



Those lips that Love's own hand did make

Breath'd forth the sound that said, 'I hate,'

To me that languished for her sake:

But when she saw my woeful state,

Straight in her heart did mercy come,

Chiding that tongue, that ever sweet

Was used in giving gentle doom;

And taught it thus anew to greet:

'I hate' she alter'd with an end,

That follow'd it as gentle day

Doth follow night, who like a fiend

From heaven to hell is flown away.

'I hate' from hate away she threw,

And sav'd by life, saying—'not you.'



Poor soul, the centre of my sinful earth,

Fool'd by these rebel powers that thee array,

Why dost thou pine within, and suffer dearth,

Painting thy outward walls so costly gay?

Why so large cost, having so short a lease,

Dost thou upon thy fading mansion spend?

Shall worms, inheritors of this excess,

Eat up thy charge? Is this thy body's end?

Then, soul, live thou upon thy servant's loss,

And let that pine to aggravate thy store;

Buy terms divine in selling hours of dross;

Within be fed, without be rich no more:

So shalt thou feed on death, that feeds on men,

And, Death once dead, there's no more dying then.



My love is as a fever longing still

For that which longer nurseth the disease;

Feeding on that which doth preserve the ill,

The uncertain sickly appetite to please.

My reason, the physician to my love,

Angry that his prescriptions are not kept,

Hath left me, and I desperate now approve

Desire is death, which physic did accept.

Past cure I am, now reason is past care,

And frantic mad with evermore unrest;

My thoughts and my discourse as mad men's are,

At random from the truth vainly express'd;

For I have sworn thee fair, and thought thee bright,

Who art as black as hell, as dark as night.


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