Shakespeare's Sonnets eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 53 pages of information about Shakespeare's Sonnets.

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 silvered 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 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 your self; but, love you are
No longer yours, than you your self 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 decease,
When your sweet issue your sweet form should bear. 
Who lets so fair a house fall to decay,
Which husbandry in honour might uphold,
Against the stormy gusts of winter’s day
And barren rage of death’s eternal cold? 
  O! none but unthrifts.  Dear 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 dearths, or seasons’ 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.’

XV

When I consider every thing that grows
Holds in perfection but a little moment,
That this huge stage presenteth nought but shows
Whereon the stars in secret influence comment;
When I perceive that men as plants increase,
Cheered and checked even by the self-same sky,
Vaunt in their youthful sap, at height decrease,
And wear their brave state out of memory;
Then the conceit of this inconstant stay
Sets you most rich in youth before my sight,
Where wasteful Time debateth with decay
To change your day of youth to sullied night,
  And all in war with Time for love of you,
  As he takes from you, I engraft you new.

XVI

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Shakespeare's Sonnets from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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