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[Shakspeare's Sonnets were entered on the books of the Stationers' Company, May 20th, 1609, by Thomas Thorpe, who prefixed the following dedication :- To the only begetter of these ensuing Sonnets, Mr. W. H., all happiness, and that eternity promised by our ever-living poet, wisheth the well-wishing adventurer in setting forth, T. T.' In the course of the same year these Sonnets were printed in quarto: they were, however, written long before this period. since they are mentioned as a work of great popularity by Meres, in his Wit's Treasury, which was published in 1598. Malone remarks, that the general style of these poems, and the numerous passages in them which remind us of our author's plays, leave not the smallest doubt of their authenticity.']


FROM fairest creatures we desire increase,
That thereby beauty's rose might never die,
But as the riper should by time decease,
His tender heir might bear his memory:
But thou, contracted to thine own bright eyes,
Feed'st thy light's flame with self-substantial fuel,
Making a famine where abundance lies,

Thyself thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel,

Thou that art now the world's fresh ornament,
And only herald to the gaudy spring,

Within thine own bud buriest thy content,
And, tender churl, makest waste in niggarding.
Pity the world, or else this glutton be,

To eat the world's due, by the grave and thee.


When forty winters shall besiege thy brow,
And dig deep trenches in thy beauty's field,
Thy youth's proud livery, so gazed on now,
Will be a tatter'd weed, of small worth held :
Then, being ask'd where all thy beauty lies,
Where all the treasure of thy lusty days;
To say, within thine own deep-sunken eyes,
Were an all-eating shame, and thriftless praise.
How much more praise deserved thy beauty's use,
If thou couldst answer, This fair child of mine
Shall sum my count, and make my old excuse,-
Proving his beauty by succession thine.

This were to be new-made when thou art old, And see thy blood warm when thou feel'st it cold.


Look in thy glass, and tell the face thou viewest.
Now is the time that face should form another r;
Whose fresh repair if now thou not renewest,
Thou dost beguile the world, unbless some mother :

For where is she so fair, whose unear'd womb
Disdains the tillage of thy husbandry?

Or who is he so fond, will be the tomb
Of his self-love, to stop posterity?

Thou art thy mother's glass, and she in tnee
Calls back the lovely April of her prime:
So thou through windows of thine age shalt see,
Despite of wrinkles, this thy golden time.
But if thou live, remember'd not to be,
Die single, and thine image dies with thee.


Unthrifty loveliness, why dost thou spend
Upon thyself thy beauty's legacy?
Nature's bequest gives nothing, but doth lend;
And being frank, she lends to those are free.
Then, beauteous niggard, why dost thou abuse
The bounteous largess given thee to give?
Profitless usurer, why dost thou use
So great a sum of sums, yet canst not live?
For having traffic with thyself alone,
Thou of thyself thy sweet self dost deceive :
Then how, when Nature calls thee to be gone,
What acceptable audit canst thou leave?

Thy unused beauty must be tomb'd with thee,
Which, used, lives thy executor to be.

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Those hours, that with gentle work did frame
The lovely gaze where every eye doth dweii,
Will play the tyrants to the very same,
And that unfair, which fairly doth excel;
For never-resting time leads summer on

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To hideous winter, and confounds him there;
Sap check'd with frost, and lusty leaves quite gone,
Beauty o'ersnow'd, and bareness every where:
Then, were not summer's distillation left,
A liquid prisoner pent in walls of glass,
Beauty's effect with beauty were bereft,
Nor it, nor no remembrance what it was:

But flowers distill'd, though they with winter meet,

Leese 2 but their show; their substance still lives



Then let not winter's ragged hand deface

In thee thy summer, ere thou be distill'd:
Make sweet some phial; treasure thou some place
With beauty's treasure, ere it be self-kill'd.
That use is not forbidden usury,

Which happies those that pay the willing loan;

1 i. e. and render that which was once beautiful no longer

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That's for thyself to breed another thee,
Or ten times happier, be it ten for one;
Ten times thyself were happier than thou art,
If ten of thine ten times refigured thee:

Then, what could Death do, if thou shouldst depart,

Leaving thee living in posterity?

Be not self-will'd; for thou art much too fair To be Death's conquest, and make worms thine heir.


Lo, in the orient when the gracious light
Lifts up his burning head, each under eye
Doth homage to his new-appearing sight,
Serving with looks his sacred majesty ;
And, having climb'd the steep-up heavenly hill,
Resembling strong youth in his middle age,
Yet mortal looks adore his beauty still,
Attending on his golden pilgrimage :

But when from highmost pitch, with weary car,
Like feeble age, he reeleth from the day,
The eyes, 'fore duteous, now converted are
From his low tract, and look another way:
So thou, thyself outgoing in thy noon,
Unlook'd on diest, unless thou get a son.

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