Poems by William Shakespeare

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From off a hill whose concave womb reworded
When my love swears that she is made of truth,
Let the bird of loudest lay,
Where art thou Muse that thou forget’st so long,
O truant Muse what shall be thy amends
My love is strengthen’d, though more weak in seeming;
Alack! what poverty my Muse brings forth,
To me, fair friend, you never can be old,
O! never say that I was false of heart,
O! from what power hast thou this powerful might,
Love is too young to know what conscience is,
In loving thee thou know’st I am forsworn,
Cupid laid by his brand and fell asleep:
The little Love-god lying once asleep,
Let not my love be call’d idolatry,
When in the chronicle of wasted time
Not mine own fears, nor the prophetic soul
What’s in the brain, that ink may character,
Alas! ’tis true, I have gone here and there,
O! for my sake do you with Fortune chide,
Your love and pity doth the impression fill,
Since I left you, mine eye is in my mind;
Or whether doth my mind, being crown’d with you,
What potions have I drunk of Siren tears,
Be wise as thou art cruel; do not press
In faith I do not love thee with mine eyes,
Love is my sin, and thy dear virtue hate,
Lo, as a careful housewife runs to catch
Two loves I have of comfort and despair,
Canst thou, O cruel! say I love thee not,
Those lips that Love’s own hand did make,
Poor soul, the centre of my sinful earth,
My love is as a fever longing still,
O me! what eyes hath Love put in my head,
Those lines that I before have writ do lie,
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Accuse me thus: that I have scanted all,
Like as, to make our appetite more keen,
That you were once unkind befriends me now,
’Tis better to be vile than vile esteem’d,
Thy gift, thy tables, are within my brain
No, Time, thou shalt not boast that I do change:
If my dear love were but the child of state,
The expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Were’t aught to me I bore the canopy,
O thou, my lovely boy, who in thy power
In the old age black was not counted fair,
How oft when thou, my music, music play’st,
My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
Thou art as tyrannous, so as thou art,
Thine eyes I love, and they, as pitying me,
Beshrew that heart that makes my heart to groan
So, now I have confess’d that he is thine,
O! call not me to justify the wrong
Whoever hath her wish, thou hast thy ‘Will,’
If thy soul check thee that I come so near,
Thou blind fool, Love, what dost thou to mine eyes,
When my love swears that she is made of truth,
From fairest creatures we desire increase,
When forty winters shall besiege thy brow,
Look in thy glass and tell the face thou viewest
Unthrifty loveliness, why dost thou spend
Is it for fear to wet a widow’s eye,
How heavy do I journey on the way,
Thus can my love excuse the slow offence
So am I as the rich, whose blessed key,
What is your substance, whereof are you made,
O! how much more doth beauty beauteous seem
If there be nothing new, but that which is
Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
Sweet love, renew thy force; be it not said
Being your slave what should I do but tend,
That god forbid, that made me first your slave,
Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore,
Is it thy will, thy image should keep open
Sin of self-love possesseth all mine eye
Against my love shall be as I am now,
When I have seen by Time’s fell hand defac’d
Those parts of thee that the world’s eye doth view
Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea,
Tired with all these, for restful death I cry,
Ah! wherefore with infection should he live,
Thus is his cheek the map of days outworn,
That thou art blam’d shall not be thy defect,
No longer mourn for me when I am dead
O! lest the world should task you to recite
That time of year thou mayst in me behold
But be contented: when that fell arrest
Whilst I alone did call upon thy aid,
So are you to my thoughts as food to life,
Why is my verse so barren of new pride,
Thy glass will show thee how thy beauties wear,
So oft have I invoked thee for my Muse,
O! how I faint when I of you do write,
Or I shall live your epitaph to make,
I grant thou wert not married to my Muse,
I never saw that you did painting need,
Who is it that says most, which can say more,
Say that thou didst forsake me for some fault,
My tongue-tied Muse in manners holds her still,
Was it the proud full sail of his great verse,
Farewell! thou art too dear for my possessing,
When thou shalt be dispos’d to set me light,
Those hours, that with gentle work did frame
Then let not winter’s ragged hand deface,
Lo! in the orient when the gracious light
Music to hear, why hear’st thou music sadly?
For shame! deny that thou bear’st love to any,
Then hate me when thou wilt; if ever, now;
Some glory in their birth, some in their skill,
But do thy worst to steal thyself away,
So shall I live, supposing thou art true,
They that have power to hurt, and will do none,
The forward violet thus did I chide:
How sweet and lovely dost thou make the shame
Some say thy fault is youth, some wantonness;
How like a winter hath my absence been
From you have I been absent in the spring,
As fast as thou shalt wane, so fast thou grow’st,
When I do count the clock that tells the time,
O! that you were your self; but, love you are
Not from the stars do I my judgement pluck;
Devouring time, blunt thou the lion’s paws,
Take all my loves, my love, yea take them all;
Those pretty wrongs that liberty commits,
That thou hast her it is not all my grief,
When most I wink, then do mine eyes best see,
If the dull substance of my flesh were thought,
Against that time, if ever that time come,
The other two, slight air, and purging fire
Mine eye and heart are at a mortal war,
Betwixt mine eye and heart a league is took,
How careful was I when I took my way,
When I consider every thing that grows
But wherefore do not you a mightier way
Who will believe my verse in time to come,
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
A woman’s face with nature’s own hand painted,
So is it not with me as with that Muse,
My glass shall not persuade me I am old,
As an unperfect actor on the stage,
Mine eye hath play’d the painter and hath stell’d,
When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes
Let those who are in favour with their stars
Lord of my love, to whom in vassalage
Weary with toil, I haste me to my bed,
How can I then return in happy plight,
When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
Thy bosom is endeared with all hearts,
If thou survive my well-contented day,
Full many a glorious morning have I seen
Why didst thou promise such a beauteous day,
O! how thy worth with manners may I sing,
No more be griev’d at that which thou hast done:
Let me confess that we two must be twain,
As a decrepit father takes delight
How can my muse want subject to invent,