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Sonnets of William Shakespeare


Let me confess that we two must be twain,

Although our individual loves are one:

So shall these blots that do with me remain,

Without thy help, by me be borne alone.

In our two loves there is but one respect,

Though in our lives a separable spite,

Which though it alter not love's sole effect,

Yet doth it steal sweet hours from love's delight.

I may not evermore acknowledge thee,

Lest my bewailed guilt should do thee shame;

Nor thou with public kindness honour me,

Unless thou take that honour from thy name:

But do not so; I love thee in such sort,

As, thou being mine, mine is thy good report.



As a decrepit father takes delight

To see his active child do deeds of youth,

So I, made lame by fortune's dearest spite,

Take all my comfort of thy worth and truth;

For whether beauty, birth, or wealth, or wit,

Or any of these all, or all, or more,

Entitled in thy parts do crowned sit,

I make my love engrafted to this store:

So then I am not lame, poor, nor despis'd,

Whilst that this shadow dost such substance give,

That I in thy abundance am suffic'd,

And by a part of all thy glory live.

Look what is best, that best I wish in thee;

This wish I have; then ten times happy me!



How can my muse want subject to invent,

While thou dost breathe, that pour'st into my verse

Thine own sweet argument, too excellent

For every vulgar paper to rehearse?

O, give thyself the thanks, if aught in me

Worthy perusal stand against thy sight;

For who's so dumb that cannot write to thee,

When thou thyself dost give invention light?

Be thou the tenth muse, ten times more in worth

Than those old nine which rhymers invocate;

And he that calls on thee, let him bring forth

Eternal numbers to outlive long date.

If my slight muse do please these curious days,

The pain be mine, but thine shall be the praise.



O, how thy worth with manners may I sing,

When thou art all the better part of me?

What can mine own praise to mine own self bring?

And what is't but mine own, when I praise thee?

Even for this let us divided live,

And our dear love lose name of single one,

That by this separation I may give

That due to thee, which thou deserv'st alone.

O absence, what a torment wouldst thou prove,

Were it not thy sour leisure gave sweet leave

To entertain the time with thoughts of love,

(Which time and thoughts so sweetly doth deceive,)

And that thou teachest how to make one twain,

By praising him here, who doth hence remain!



Take all my loves, my love, yea, take them all;

What hast thou then more than thou hadst before?

No love, my love, that thou mayst true love call;

All mine was thine, before thou hadst this more.

Then if for my love thou my love receivest,

I cannot blame thee for my love thou usest;

But yet be blam'd, if thou thyself deceivest

By wilful taste of what thyself refusest.

I do forgive thy robbery, gentle thief,

Although thou steal thee all my poverty;

And yet, love knows, it is a greater grief

To bear love's wrong, than hate's known injury.

Lascivious grace, in whom all ill well shows,

Kill me with spites; yet we must not be foes.




Those petty wrongs that liberty commits

When I am sometime absent from thy heart,

Thy beauty and thy years full well befits,

For still temptation follows where thou art.

Gentle thou art, and therefore to be won,

Beauteous thou art, therefore to be assail'd;

And when a woman wooes, what woman's son

Will sourly leave her till she have prevail'd?

Ah me! but yet thou mightst my seat forbear,

And chide thy beauty and thy straying youth,

Who lead thee in their riot even there

Where thou art forc'd to break a twofold truth;

Hers, by thy beauty tempting her to thee,

Thine, by thy beauty being false to me.



That thou hast her, it is not all my grief,

And yet it may be said I lov'd her dearly;

That she hath thee, is of my wailing chief,

A loss in love that touches me more nearly.

Loving offenders, thus I will excuse ye:

Thou dost love her, because thou knew'st I love her;

And for my sake even so doth she abuse me,

Suffering my friend for my sake to approve her.

If I lose thee, my loss is my love's gain,

And, losing her, my friend hath found that loss;

Both find each other, and I lose both twain,

And both for my sake lay on me this cross:

But here's the joy; my friend and I are one;

Sweet flattery! then she loves but me alone.


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