Shakespeare’s Sonnets and A Lover’s Complaint (Hadow ed. 1907)

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)  


This is pat of a collection of works by William Shakespeare.


Shakespeare’s Sonnets and A Lover’s Complaint. With an Introduction by W.H. Hadow (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1907).

This is a version based closely on the first edition of 1609 but reformatted so no sonnet is split over two pages. See also the facs. PDF.

See also the Parallel Edition with the poage images from the Hadow edition on the left, and text on the right.



Table of Contents





One of Shakespeare’s most amazing gifts is his power of inspiring with new life and interest a perfectly commonplace topic. Beethoven will sometimes take a theme so bare that you wonder at his wasting a thought on it—the bass it may be of a cadence, or three notes of a diatonic scale—and weave it straightway into a texture of unexpected and incomparable beauty: Shakespeare in like manner will take some familiar fact of human nature and by a fresh turn of idea or a fresh adjustment of relations reveal in it an unforeseen depth of purpose and significance. His most memorable scenes are often those which deal with simplest issues, his most memorable lines those which tell a plain thing in plain words: with the whole palette at his command he lays the foundation of his design upon a scheme of primary colours.

Now there is one topic which is as old as romance itself:—that in which two men bound to one another by ties of friendship or service fall under the attraction of the same woman. It is the theme of Tristan and of Lancelot, it points the temptation-scene in Sir Gawayn, it has formed the plot of a thousand novels and the subject of a thousand lyrics. As it turns in the hand it reflects light from many facets: the competing claims of love and friendship, of desire and honour, the imperious demands of passion, the injunctions of duty and self-control: but with all its variety the conclusion of the whole matter has usually been stated in two or three simple alternatives: that to resist is loyal and to fall is treacherous, that the wronged man, robbed of all that he holds dearest on earth, has, if he choose to exercise it, the right of pardon or vengeance, and that the only plea of guilt, if indeed any plea be availing, is an overmastering irresistible passion of love which sweeps a man from his feet like a torrent, and snaps friendship asunder as its waters snap a bridge across their banks. Nor when guilt is deepest, can even that plea stay the course of retribution. There is no issue for Lancelot but exile or for Tristan but death: only so, we judge, can their sin be expiated.

The Sonnets of Shakespeare unfold from the same theme a situation so strange that we may feel little wonder at the controversies to which it has given rise. The dramatis personae are the usual three—two friends and the woman who comes between them—the strangeness lies in the perspective of the story and in its upshot. Of the two friends one is a poet, as yet humble and obscure, often ‘in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes’, compelled by need of livelihood to join a degraded profession and ‘make himself a motley to the view’. The other, a far younger man, is rich, noble, popular, endowed with great personal beauty and charm, a patron of letters, himself perhaps with some skill of verse-making, on all sides one of the most brilliant figures of a brilliant epoch. At the outset the poet’s life is swayed by two conflicting influences—the ‘angel’ and ‘devil’ of Sonnet cxliv. For his friend he feels a pure passionate affection; such an affection as subsisted between Languet and Sir Philip Sidney; the full expression of his higher and nobler self, devoted, adoring, ‘passing the love of women’. And as this is wholly spiritual, so the senses take their revenge by driving him into the toils of an unworthy mistress, a dark-haired, dark-eyed Cuce skilful and unscrupulous, who holds him enthralled by the gross attraction of desire. Some avocation calls him away from home and during his absence he finds that friend and mistress have conspired to play him false: that the enchantress from whom he cannot escape has given herself to a rival, and that the rival is the man whom he worships.

Such is the bare outline of the situation which Shakespeare presents: it follows to consider how and to what end he develops it. But first a word may be said on the vexed question whether the Sonnets are in any literal sense autobiographical; whether they depict any actual experience of Shakespeare’s life. It is known that during the closing years of the sixteenth century he was on terms of friendship with the young William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, a munificent patron of letters who, in Mr. Wyndham’s phrase, was then ‘one of the brightest particles in the shifting kaleidoscope of Court and Stage’. It is believed that at the same time he was acquainted with the brilliant and unscrupulous Mary Fitton1 who, before 1600, became Herbert’s mistress. If then the Sonnets can be dated between 1597 and 1599 it is quite possible that he dramatized a situation of real life, or at least found in it, like the poet of A light Woman, ‘a subject made to his hand.’ And in this there is no inherent improbability. The last line of Sonnet xciv is identical with one in a scene, attributed to Shakespeare, of Edward III which was printed in 1596, and the balance of likelihood is that the Sonnet quoted from the play. The first known allusion to the Sonnets is the statement of Meres (1598), that they, or some of them, were being circulated among Shakespeare’s ‘private friends’. Two, including one of the most significant, were printed by Jaggard in the Passionate Pilgrim (1599). It is arguable that a few were written earlier as isolated numbers and afterwards fitted to their place in the general scheme: it is possible that some were written after 1600, though the supposed allusion to Queen Elizabeth’s death (lvii) is far too shadowy to stand as evidence.2 We may, therefore, not unreasonably conjecture that the bulk of the sonnets were written when a story suggesting that which they narrate may have actually occurred, and that Shakespeare may have used it with the same imaginative latitude with which he rewrote the history of King Lear or remodelled the caricature of Oldcastle. That the events took place as they are here depicted is not a matter of possible belief. No man, not even Shakespeare, has ever shown the tireless forbearance of the first scene: no man, and least of all Shakespeare, has ever sunk to the degradation of the second. But in human nature are groups of qualities which, though held in check and counterpoise, may for the poet’s purpose be analysed separately. If in real life a man is oscillating between a pure friendship and a sensual passion, each will react on the other: the friendship will suffer in some degree, the passion will be in some degree ennobled. Yet nothing prevents the psychologist from severing them, from considering each apart, and, where they clash on the same event, looking on the conflict from their two different points of view. And this may well be what Shakespeare has done. The occasion, whether this or another, may have borne the same relation to the Sonnets as Count Guido Franceschini’s trial to The Ring and the Book, it may have been but the alloy which held the metal together. If we can suppose that Shakespeare at some time in his life saw friendship and passion on either hand of him, and allowed his imagination to trace each to its furthest conceivable point, we may find a reasonable solution of the question at issue: At any rate it is far more likely than the alternative views which have been suggested—that he was writing a set of academic exercises, that he was satirizing Drayton and Davies, or that he was constructing an elaborate bloodless allegory of the Ideal Selt and the Catholic Church.

It may be said that the tone of the sonnets is entirely personal, and that had it been genuine, apart from any question of actual experience, Shakespeare would never have admitted the world to so close an intimacy. But this contention proves too much. On the spiritual plane all great poetry is autobiographical: and of all poetic forms the lyric (in which the sonnet may be included) is the most self-revealing. We should know Sidney from Astrophel and Stella and Spenser from the Amoretti if we had never heard of the passion which inspired the one and the courtship which is narrated by the other. And on this point two further considerations may be added. First, that in Shakespeare’s case the story is but the ground-plan of his palace, but the opportunity for those golden thoughts on beauty and decay, on life and time, on love and honour, which are his truest autobiography and which alone would suffice to rank the Sonnets in the forefront of English poems. Second, that he wrote them not for the public but for ‘his private friends’. The first edition (1609) was issued, so far as we can tell, without his authorization or knowledge, and there are, indeed, some critics who find in its dedication the saturnine smile of the successful pirate. That he should have circulated in private a key which unlocked his heart is in full accord with the practice of his time: and though Browning protests, ‘If so, the less Shakespear he,’ yet we think of One Word More and the Epilogue to Asolando and wonder whether this advocate of reserve is not another Gracchus complaining about sedition.

The Sonnets are divided into two unequal groups, which, in their relation to the story, so far synchronize that a turning-point of both is upon the same event. It is extremely probable that the longer group (i-cxxvi) outlasts the shorter (cxxvii-clii) by some considerable period of time1: it can hardly be doubted that the catastrophe narrated in xli-xlii of the first is that narrated in cxxxiii-cxxxiv of the second. Each is in a sense complete in itself, for each is the description and analysis of a state of mind; yet they are as interdependent as the movements of a symphony. In one the poet addresses his friend, in the other his mistress: in the two together he tells the history of his fate and reveals in successive aspects the temper with which he meets it. The narrative is broken by digressions, by episodes, by sudden changes of mood: but these, it may be maintained, are psychologically true. The sequence, in short, has its own logic, though it is the logic of a poem, not of a syllogism.

In the first seventeen Sonnets the poet urges his friend to marry. Such advice was natural enough and common enough—Languet writes to Sir Philip Sidney in exactly the same strain—but its appearance here opens the drama on a curious note of irony. The friendship is so secure that even the rivalry of woman’s love is not to be feared. Indeed it may be observed that in the whole seventeen hardly a word is said about the lady. The plea is based entirely on the prospective son who is to inherit his father’s qualities: the prospective bride never comes into the picture at all. It is death, not estrangement of which the poet is afraid: while his friend lives he will sing his descant on the melody of Astrophel:

My true love hath my heart and I have his.

The Sonnets which immediately follow are the happiest of the entire series. Every device of fancy, every sweet and gracious word is heaped upon the altar:

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate.

and again:

Yet do thy worst, old Time: despite thy wrong

My love shall in my verse ever live young.

and again:

Mine eye hath played the painter, and hath steeled

Thy beauty’s form in table of my heart.

The affection is so confident that it can afford to smile at its own enthusiasm:

I will not praise that purpose not to sell.

and in xxv the song rises to the highest pitch of rapture as it hymns friendship and its eternity. The prince’s favourite is but a marigold which spreads its leaves for a season to the sunshine. The ‘painful warrior famoused for fight’ will some day be razed from the book of honour. But love is everlasting:

Thrice happy I who love and am beloved

Where I may not remove nor be removed.

With xxvi comes the first change to a minor key: the first indication that tragedy is impending. The tone hitherto has sometimes been grave and earnest; it now becomes poignant. The poet is absent from the ‘Lord of his love’ and writes from a distance his written embassage. In half a dozen sonnets of magnificent and sustained beauty he describes his sorrow at parting, his days of anxiety, his sleepless nights, the gleam of remembrance which comes to cheer him, the relapse back to the thought of

    My well-contented day

When that churl Death my bones with dust shall cover;

all that weary round well-known to the lonely room and the solitary watcher. Then, in xxxiii, the current is changed by a hint of disgrace and wrong, which grows more articulate in xxxiv:

Nor can thy shame give physic to my grief,

Though thou repent,

and is stated in plain words by the opening lines of xlii:

That thou hast her it is not all my grief,

And yet it may be said I loved her dearly.

Now had the poet’s love for the dark lady been pure and noble, had it been ‘the maiden passion for a maid’ that was here outraged and deceived, we may gather that Shakespeare would still have held the claims of friendship to be paramount and would have counselled forgiveness. In The Two Gentlemen of Verona Valentine grants to Proteus a pardon which we may think too easily earned and even crowns his magnanimity by resigning Silvia to the arms of his treacherous rival:

And that my love may appear plain and free,

All that is mine in Silvia I give thee.

In the Sonnets, and here is the very centre of the situation, we have a different standpoint. All the force of pure and ennobling emotion is bestowed on the friendship, the other tie is but a ‘love of despair’, a bond of sin and shame the momentary sweets of which are bitter in the recollection. And so, when the first sting of the wound is past, the poet finds that his whole concern is for his friend. He will forgive everything, will resign everything:

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

. . . . . . . . .

I do forgive thy robbery, gentle thief,

Although thou steal thee all my poverty:

he forces himself to speak lightly of the wrong

    that liberty commits

When I am sometime absent from thy heart;

his deepest sorrow is not the knowledge that his mistress is unfaithful, but his anxiety lest she may take his friend from him:

That she hath thee is of my wailing chief,

A loss in love that touches me more nearly.1

Indeed throughout the numbers from xxxiii to xlii the same theme is developed: a spontaneous cry of pain at the offence, followed by desperate and loving excuses for the offender.

As the series proceeds, the fear of estrangement grows more acute, more apprehensive. The poet still writes in absence, and, though he strikes divers notes of regret or protestation or fervour, recurs time after time to the subject which is nearest his heart. Constancy is praised in a more wistful tone; the promise of poetic fame is repeated with more emphasis—as though it were the only bribe he had left to offer: and through all there runs, like a connecting thread, the possibility that he may be cast aside as unworthy, that others may come to take his place, that his love may be postponed to passion or superseded by flattery. Thus in xlix:

Against that time, if ever that time come,

When I shall see thee frown on my defects;

in liv:

O how much more doth beauty beauteous seem

By that sweet ornament which truth doth give;

in lvi:

Sweet love, renew thy force; be it not said

Thy edge should blunter be than appetite.

in lvii—the first hint of a wider rivalry:

Nor dare I question with my jealous thought

Where you may be, or your affairs suppose,

But, like a sad slave, stay and think of nought

Save, where you are, how happy you make those.

    So true a fool is love that in your will,

    Though you do anything, he thinks no ill.

in lxi:

O no, thy love though much is not so great:

It is my love that keeps mine eye awake;

Mine own true love that doth my rest defeat,

To play the watchman ever for thy sake:

    For thee watch I while thou dost wake elsewhere

    From me far off, with others all too near.

in lxvii:

Ah, wherefore with infection should he live

And with his presence grace impiety,

That sin by him advantage should receive

And lace itself with his society?

in lxix:

They look into the beauty of thy mind,

And that, in guess, they measure by thy deeds.

Then churls, their thoughts, although their eyes were kind,

To thy fair flower add the rank smell of weeds.

    But why thy odour matcheth not thy show,

    The solve is this, that thou dost common grow.

At this point it would appear that the friend returns a disdainful answer, asserting his liberty, complaining of reproof, and declaring that he is being better praised by new favourites.1 The reply to this begins in Sonnet lxxviii:

So oft have I invoked thee for my Muse

And found such fair assistance in my verse

As every alien pen hath got my use

And under thee their poesy disperse;

and continues, with increasing urgence, until in lxxxvi it breaks into an outburst of unconcealed jealousy. ‘My rival is no better a man than I am. He has supplanted me not by his genius nor by the spirit which he invokes, but solely by your favour. It is your breath that has filled the sail of his verse, it is your preference that has exalted him and driven me to silence:

No, neither he, nor his compeers by night

Giving him aid, my verse astonished.

He, nor that affable familiar ghost

Which nightly gulls him with intelligence,

As victors, of my silence cannot boast;

I was not sick of any fear from thence:

    But when your countenance filled up his line

    Then lacked I matter; that enfeebled mine.

In the next Sonnet the blow has fallen: the estrangement has taken place:

Farewell: thou art too dear for my possessing,

And like enough thou know’st thine estimate.

Yet now, as before, and with even more insistence than before, the first cry of pain is followed by a despairing effort to condone and excuse. The poet brings no accusation against his friend: in passionate protestation he takes all blame upon his own head:

For thy right myself will bear all wrong;

and again, lxxxix:

Say that thou didst forsake me for some fault

And I will comment upon that offence.

. . . . . . . . .

    and in my tongue

Thy sweet beloved name no more shall dwell,

Lest I, too much profane, should do it wrong.

In xc he pleads for hatred rather than coldness, that he may have the worst at once: in the succeeding sonnets he passes from mood to mood of regret, despair, anything but reproach, closing in a love-song which begins like a memory of the lost happiness, and in xcix breaks off abruptly as though the writer’s hand faltered.

The last twenty-six sonnets of this group (c-cxxv)1 take up the thread again after a great silence. The poet has accepted his doom, has gone forth into the outer darkness, and he now pleads for pardon and recall. During his wanderings he has sunk in fortune and in character, he has consorted with ill companions, he has tried to seek forgetfulness in ‘harmful deeds’. But through all changes and vicissitudes his constancy has remained unbroken:

    Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds

Or bends with the remover to remove.

His affection, indeed, has been confirmed and strengthened by suffering:

Those lines that I before have writ do lie,

Even those that said I could not love you dearer:

and again, cxix:

    Ruined love, when it is built anew,

Grows fairer than at first, more strong, far greater.

He is ready to take a humble place if he may only return, if he may only end the intolerable separation: his love is not dependent on beauty or favour or any other accident of circumstance, he rises above the hope of reward or the fear of denial, and in the last number offers his ‘oblation poor but free’ as a willing gift to the shrine that he adores.

The first group of sonnetstraces the course of a man’s better nature as it passes through the extreme alternations of joy and sorrow, of hope and disappointment. The second group, pendant and antithesis of the first, shows how the worser nature answers to a similar assay. In one the soul, buffeted and storm-beaten, driven sometimes from its course, tottering sometimes near to shipwreck, yet holds throughout to the helm of constant loyalty until it finds its haven in the certain peace of self-sacrifice and self-devotion. In the other a sensual passion puts forth, without pilot or compass, into an ocean of turbulent desires: at the outset it is gay with pleasures and gallantry, amid seas it is helplessly drifting before every gust, and at the last it founders.

The sonnets to the ‘dark lady’ form a sequence from cxxvii to clii.1 It is possible that in some instances the order might be bettered; at any rate the transitions are often very abrupt: but the whole scene is such a chaos of conflicting emotions that any exact consecution would be against the truth of human nature. Some are playful, some even bantering, some couched in that tone of courtly compliment which, at the time, any lover might have used toward his mistress: then the mood sways and in the magnificent sonnet on ‘lust in action’ pours forth its flood of repentance and self-reproach. But the chain is too strong to break. In the next number he laughs away his contrition, in the next he is back at his mistress’s door asking for pity; even when he finds that she is unfaithful he cannot leave her:

When my love swears that she is made of truth

I do believe her, though I know she lies.

and again:

O call me not to justify the wrong

That thy unkindness lays upon my heart;

and again, more ominously:

Be wise as thou art cruel, do not press

My tongue-tied patience with too much disdain,

Lest sorrow lend me words, and words express

The manner of my pity-wanting pain.

When feeling comes to this point words are not far off. Once more the moods change with rapid alternation, but in shorter and shorter circuit they return to the sense of sin and dishonour and unworthiness. The whole head is sick and the whole heart faint, fevered with desire, torn between love and loathing, more sensitive to wounds as it has less vitality to heal them, until in Sonnet clii ‘all honest faith is lost’ and passion itself dies away into remorse and hatred.

In all literature there is no more tremendous revelation of human weakness. The cry of Catullus:—

Odi et amo: quare id faciam fortasse requiris:

    Nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior.

is faint in comparison: the story of Lesbia and her poet does not lift the veil with such a remorseless hand. To ask how this hand could be Shakespeare’s is an idle question. All things were in Shakespeare: he was, as Sainte-Beuve said, ‘la nature même’, and to his power of creation we can place no limit. But at the same time it cannot be too strongly insisted that the Sonnets, though lyric, have a dramatic basis: and that Shakespeare’s true self is revealed not in the story which they narrate but in the judgements on life and love which they contain.

It may be worth while to add a few words of formal criticism. Wyatt, who introduced the Sonnet into England, adopted with one slight variation the ‘Petrarchian’ form, which was almost universal among the writers of France and Italy; the form which consists of an octave on two rhymes and a sextain on two or three. Surrey, Wyatt’s younger contemporary, chose instead the scheme of three alternate-rhyming quatrains with a final couplet; as described, some thirty years after his time, in George Gascoigne’s treatise The Making of Verse:

‘I can best allow to call those sonnets which are of fourteen lines, every line containing ten syllables. The first twelve do rhyme in staves of four lines by cross-metre, and the last two, rhyming together, do complete the whole.’

This passage of Gascoigne is the more noteworthy since the pattern which it ‘best allows’ had not been preferred by any considerable poet except Surrey, and was not preferred afterwards either by Sidney or by Spenser. However, in the press of sonnet-writing which followed the publication of Astrophel and Stella it came into not infrequent use: there are many examples of it among the collections of Daniel and Drayton and their lesser contemporaries, and amid all these it was raised to its highest honour by the invariable practice of Shakespeare.

The reasons of his choice are not difficult to conjecture. One of them is that from the beginning of his career he was evidently interested in experimenting with the quatrain and the couplet: he uses them separately, he weaves them into every conceivable pattern. In the plays of his first period there are at least two instances of dialogue written in quatrains1: there are throughout many instances in which a single rhymed couplet sums up and concludes a speech or scene of blank verse. We have the pattern of one quatrain with a couplet in Venus and Adonis, of two in Beatrice’s soliloquy,2 of three—the Shakespearian sonnet-form—in Helena’s letter,3 in two choruses of Romeo and Juliet, and in no less than five examples of Love’s Labour’s Lost.4 It has been argued from these analogies that the Sonnets themselves are early in date, and very possibly some of them, e. g. the last two, may belong to this period of metrical experiment. In any case there can be little question of its bearing upon the formal side of Shakespeare’s ultimate selection. And, for another reason, the general character of the Elizabethan Sonnet is akin to that of the Epigram—its nearest analogue is perhaps to be found in the Palatine Anthology—and for purposes of the Epigram the final couplet, which Petrarch studiously avoided, has special use and appropriateness. Sometimes it may degenerate into a mere conceit, as, for example, in lxv; far more often it brings to a pointed climax the thought which has been developed through the preceding staves.

In point of pure structure the Shakespearian scheme is perhaps less beautiful, certainly less organic, than that of Petrarch. It is like the sonata form of Bach beside that of Beethoven: more narrow in scope, more fixed and determinate in measure. But the outline is filled with such living melody that we cannot wish it otherwise. All the strength and sweetness of Elizabethan song are here; pictures of exquisite invention, haunting cadences of musical speech, lines that have passed, like jewels, into the treasury of our language:

Thou art thy mother’s glass and she in thee

Calls back the lovely April of her prime;


Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day;


When to the sessions of sweet silent thought

I summon up remembrance of things past;


Full many a glorious morning have I seen

Flatter the mountain-tops with sovereign eye,

Kissing with golden face the meadows green,

Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy;


Bare ruined choirs where late the sweet birds sang,


To me, fair friend, you never can be old.


    Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds.

It may be true that the Sonnets are unequal: that is the common censure brought against every great poet. It is more to the purpose that they have given us an inexhaustible heritage of beauty, and that each successive reading only deepens our wonder and our admiration.

The edition of 1609 appended to the Sonnets an elegiac poem called A Lover’s Complaint, which is therefore included in the present reprint. It is the lament of a girl who has been betrayed and abandoned, and is told in gentle smooth stanzas of the Rhyme Royal which, in 1594, Shakespeare employed for Lucrece. Its authenticity may be questioned. The picture with which it opens is more in Shakespeare’s manner than in that of any known contemporary: but the verse, especially if we take 1597 as its date, is far inferior to his. A further piece of evidence is afforded by the strangeness of the vocabulary. Shakespeare was rich in the coinage of new words, but this poem is lavish beyond his measure. A few seem to have been accepted by him, like ‘credent’ which afterwards appears in Hamlet; a few like ‘impleach’d’ may have been his, though they are not elsewhere found in his work: but there is little trace of his mintage in such forms as ‘acture,’ ‘enpatron,’ ‘fluxive,’ though that is used by Drayton, and ‘laundering’, though that is borrowed, together with the line in which it occurs, by Drummond of Hawthornden. Indeed one of two conclusions alone would seem to be tenable: either that the poem is attributed to him by a publisher’s error, or that, as so often happened, he shared the design with a collaborator of lesser genius.



 [1 ] She was certainly acquainted with some members of Shakespeare’s company, for Kempe dedicated to her his Morris to Norwiche. See Mr. Wyndham’s Introduction, p. xliv, and Mr. Tyler’s Introduction, ch. viii.

 [2 ] On this question see Professor Dowden’s Introduction, pp. xl-xlv, and Mr. Beeching’s Essay in the ‘Shakespeare Head’ Edition, vol. x, pp 368-71. See on the other side Mr. Sidney Lee’s Life of Shakespear, pp. 85-7.

 [1 ] The whole duration of the story is said in civ to be three years, which would fit the hypothesis 1597-9.

 [1 ] Compare, at this point, Sonnets cxxxiii, cxxxiv, where the fear for his friend is even more poignantly expressed.

 [1 ] Critics who press into detail the view that the Sonnets are autobiographical have asserted these favourites to be Daniel and Chapman, both of whom were patronised by the Earl of Pembroke.

 [1 ] cxxvi is a stanza of six couplets which seems to be intended as an Envoy to the group. It is inferior in value to the rest and may possibly be an interpolation.

 [1 ] Sonnets cliii and cliv, two variant adaptations of a Greek epigram, are evidently occasional pieces which do not belong to this collection.

 [1 ] Love’s Labour’s Lost, iv. iii, beginning ‘That like a rude and savage man of Inde’: Comedy of Errors, iii. ii.

 [2 ] Much Ado about Nothing, iii. i. For a burlesque parallel see the prologue to the Clowns’ Play in Midsummer Night’s Dream.

 [3 ] All’s Well that Ends Well, iii. iv.

 [4 ] The three ‘letters’ and two passages of dialogue in i. i. For further extensions of the pattern, in which the final couplet is preceded by four and five quatrains respectively, see v. ii. of the same play.


The present edition of the Sonnets and A Lover’s Complaint is a reprint of the quarto of 1609. The versions of Sonnets cxxxviii and cxliv, which are found in The Passionate Pilgrim (1599), are given in the notes.

The quarto is not a particularly good specimen of the printing of the period, and no attempt has been made to reproduce the special features of its typography; otherwise this edition follows the text, spelling, and punctuation of the Bodleian copy edited in facsimile by Dr. Sidney Lee (Oxford, 1905); changes have only been made in places where the text is obviously corrupt and the correction virtually certain. All changes not purely typographical are recorded in the notes.







FROM fairest creatures we desire increase,

That thereby beauties Rose might neuer die,

But as the riper should by time decease,

His tender heire might beare his memory:

But thou contracted to thine owne bright eyes,

Feed’st thy lights flame with selfe substantiall fewell,

Making a famine where aboundance lies,

Thy selfe thy foe, to thy sweet selfe too cruell:

Thou that art now the worlds fresh ornament,

And only herauld to the gaudy spring,

Within thine owne bud buriest thy content,

And tender chorle makst wast in niggarding:

    Pitty the world, or else this glutton be,

    To eate the worlds due, by the graue and thee.




WHEN fortie Winters shall beseige thy brow,

And digge deep trenches in thy beauties field,

Thy youthes proud liuery so gaz’d on now,

Wil be a totter’d weed of smal worth held:

Then being askt, where all thy beautie lies,

Where all the treasure of thy lusty daies;

To say within thine owne deepe sunken eyes,

Were an all-eating shame, and thriftlesse praise.

How much more praise deseru’d thy beauties vse,

If thou couldst answere this faire child of mine

Shall sum my count, and make my old excuse:

Proouing his beautie by succession thine.

    This were to be new made when thou art ould,

    And see thy blood warme when thou feel’st it could.




LOOKE in thy glasse and tell the face thou vewest,

Now is the time that face should forme an other,

Whose fresh repaire if now thou not renewest,

Thou doo’st beguile the world, vnblesse some mother.

For where is she so faire whose vn-eard wombe

Disdaines the tillage of thy husbandry?

Or who is he so fond will be the tombe,

Of his selfe loue, to stop posterity?

Thou art thy mothers glasse and she in thee

Calls backe the louely Aprill of her prime,

So thou through windowes of thine age shalt see,

Dispight of wrinkles this thy goulden time.

    But if thou liue remembred not to be,

    Die single and thine Image dies with thee.




VNTHRIFTY louelinesse why dost thou spend,

Vpon thy selfe thy beauties legacy?

Natures bequest giues nothing but doth lend,

And being franck she lends to those are free:

Then beautious nigard why doost thou abuse,

The bountious largesse giuen thee to giue?

Profitles vserer why doost thou vse

So great a summe of summes yet can’st not liue?

For hauing traffike with thy selfe alone,

Thou of thy selfe thy sweet selfe dost deceaue,

Then how when nature calls thee to be gone,

What acceptable Audit can’st thou leaue?

    Thy vnus’d beauty must be tomb’d with thee,

    Which vsed liues th’executor to be.




THOSE howers that with gentle worke did frame,

The louely gaze where euery eye doth dwell

Will play the tirants to the very same,

And that vnfaire which fairely doth excell:

For neuer resting time leads Summer on,

To hidious winter and confounds him there,

Sap checkt with frost and lustie leau’s quite gon,

Beauty ore-snow’d and barenes euerywhere.

Then were not summers distillation left

A liquid prisoner pent in walls of glasse,

Beauties effect with beauty were bereft,

Nor it nor noe remembrance what it was.

    But flowers distil’d though they with winter meete,

    Leese but their show, their substance still liues sweet.




THEN let not winters wragged hand deface,

In thee thy summer ere thou be distil’d:

Make sweet some viall; treasure thou some place,

With beauties treasure ere it be selfe kil’d:

That vse is not forbidden vsery,

Which happies those that pay the willing lone;

That’s for thy selfe to breed an other thee,

Or ten times happier be it ten for one,

Ten times thy selfe were happier then thou art,

If ten of thine ten times refigur’d thee,

Then what could death doe if thou should’st depart,

Leauing thee liuing in posterity?

    Be not selfe-wild for thou art much too faire,

    To be deaths conquest and make wormes thine heire.




LOE in the Orient when the gracious light,

Lifts vp his burning head, each vnder eye

Doth homage to his new appearing sight,

Seruing with lookes his sacred maiesty,

And hauing climb’d the steepe-vp heauenly hill,

Resembling strong youth in his middle age,

Yet mortall lookes adore his beauty still,

Attending on his goulden pilgrimage:

But when from high-most pich with wery car,

Like feeble age he reeleth from the day,

The eyes (fore dutious) now conuerted are

From his low tract and looke an other way:

    So thou, thy selfe out-going in thy noon,

    Vnlok’d on diest vnlesse thou get a sonne.




MVSICK to heare, why hear’st thou musick sadly,

Sweets with sweets warre not, ioy delights in ioy:

Why lou’st thou that which thou receaust not gladly,

Or else receau’st with pleasure thine annoy?

If the true concord of well tuned sounds,

By vnions married, do offend thine eare,

They do but sweetly chide thee, who confounds

In singlenesse the parts that thou should’st beare:

Marke how one string sweet husband to an other,

Strikes each in each by mutuall ordering;

Resembling sier, and child, and happy mother,

Who all in one, one pleasing note do sing:

    Whose speechlesse song being many, seeming one,

    Sings this to thee thou single wilt proue none.




IS it for feare to wet a widdowes eye,

That thou consum’st thy selfe in single life?

Ah; if thou issulesse shalt hap to die,

The world will waile thee like a makelesse wife,

The world wilbe thy widdow and still weepe,

That thou no forme of thee hast left behind,

When euery priuat widdow well may keepe,

By childrens eyes, her husbands shape in minde:

Looke what an vnthrift in the world doth spend

Shifts but his place, for still the world inioyes it,

But beauties waste hath in the world an end,

And kept vnvsde the vser so destroyes it:

    No loue toward others in that bosome sits

    That on himselfe such murdrous shame commits.




FOR shame deny that thou bear’st loue to any

Who for thy selfe art so vnprouident,

Graunt if thou wilt, thou art belou’d of many,

But that thou none lou’st is most euident:

For thou art so possest with murdrous hate,

That gainst thy selfe thou stickst not to conspire,

Seeking that beautious roofe to ruinate

Which to repaire should be thy chiefe desire:

O change thy thought, that I may change my minde,

Shall hate be fairer log’d then gentle loue?

Be as thy presence is gracious and kind,

Or to thy selfe at least kind harted proue,

    Make thee an other selfe for loue of me,

    That beauty still may liue in thine or thee.




AS fast as thou shalt wane so fast thou grow’st,

In one of thine, from that which thou departest,

And that fresh bloud which yongly thou bestow’st,

Thou maist call thine, when thou from youth conuertest,

Herein liues wisdome, beauty, and increase,

Without this follie, age, and could decay,

If all were minded so, the times should cease,

And threescoore yeare would make the world away:

Let those whom nature hath not made for store,

Harsh, featurelesse, and rude, barrenly perrish;

Looke whom she best indow’d, she gaue the more;

Which bountious guift thou shouldst in bounty cherrish.

    She caru’d thee for her seale, and ment therby,

    Thou shouldst print more, not let that coppy die.




WHEN I doe count the clock that tels the time,

And see the braue day sunck in hidious night,

When I behold the violet past prime,

And sable curls all siluer’d ore with white:

When lofty trees I see barren of leaues,

Which erst from heat did canopie the herd

And Sommers greene all girded vp in sheaues

Borne on the beare with white and bristly beard:

Then of thy beauty do I question make

That thou among the wastes of time must goe,

Since sweets and beauties do them-selues forsake,

And die as fast as they see others grow,

    And nothing gainst Times sieth can make defence

    Saue breed to braue him, when he takes thee hence.




O THAT you were your selfe, but loue you are

No longer yours, then you your selfe here liue,

Against this cumming end you should prepare,

And your sweet semblance to some other giue.

So should that beauty which you hold in lease

Find no determination, then you were

Your selfe again after your selfes decease,

When your sweet issue your sweet forme should beare.

Who lets so faire a house fall to decay,

Which husbandry in honour might vphold,

Against the stormy gusts of winters day

And barren rage of deaths eternall cold?

    O none but vnthrifts, deare my loue you know,

    You had a Father, let your Son say so.




NOT from the stars do I my iudgement plucke,

And yet me thinkes I haue Astronomy,

But not to tell of good, or euil lucke,

Of plagues, of dearths, or seasons quallity;

Nor can I fortune to breefe mynuits tell,

Pointing to each his thunder, raine and winde,

Or say with Princes if it shal go wel

By oft predict that I in heauen finde.

But from thine eies my knowledge I deriue,

And constant stars in them I read such art

As truth and beautie shal together thriue

If from thy selfe, to store thou wouldst conuert:

    Or else of thee this I prognosticate,

    Thy end is Truthes and Beauties doome and date.




WHEN I consider euery thing that growes

Holds in perfection but a little moment:

That this huge stage presenteth nought but showes

Whereon the Stars in secret influence comment.

When I perceiue that men as plants increase,

Cheared and checkt euen by the selfe-same skie:

Vaunt in their youthfull sap, at height decrease,

And were their braue state out of memory.

Then the conceit of this inconstant stay,

Sets you most rich in youth before my sight,

Where wastfull time debateth with decay

To change your day of youth to sullied night,

    And all in war with Time for loue of you

    As he takes from you, I ingraft you new.




BVT wherefore do not you a mightier waie

Make warre vppon this bloudie tirant time?

And fortifie your selfe in your decay

With meanes more blessed then my barren rime?

Now stand you on the top of happie houres,

And many maiden gardens yet vnset,

With vertuous wish would beare your liuing flowers,

Much liker then your painted counterfeit:

So should the lines of life that life repaire

Which this (Times pensel or my pupill pen)

Neither in inward worth nor outward faire

Can make you liue your selfe in eies of men,

    To giue away your selfe, keeps your selfe still,

    And you must liue drawne by your owne sweet skill.




WHO will beleeue my verse in time to come

If it were fild with your most high deserts?

Though yet heauen knowes it is but as a tombe

Which hides your life, and shewes not halfe your parts:

If I could write the beauty of your eyes,

And in fresh numbers number all your graces,

The age to come would say this Poet lies,

Such heauenly touches nere toucht earthly faces.

So should my papers (yellowed with their age)

Be scorn’d, like old men of lesse truth then tongue,

And your true rights be termd a Poets rage,

And stretched miter of an Antique song.

    But were some childe of yours aliue that time,

    You should liue twise, in it and in my rime.




SHALL I compare thee to a Summers day?

Thou art more louely and more temperate:

Rough windes do shake the darling buds of Maie,

And Sommers lease hath all too short a date:

Sometime too hot the eye of heauen shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimm’d,

And euery faire from faire some-time declines,

By chance, or natures changing course vntrim’d:

But thy eternall Sommer shall not fade,

Nor loose possession of that faire thou ow’st,

Nor shall death brag thou wandr’st in his shade,

When in eternall lines to time thou grow’st,

    So long as men can breath or eyes can see,

    So long liues this, and this giues life to thee.




DEVOVRING time blunt thou the Lyons pawes,

And make the earth deuoure her owne sweet brood,

Plucke the keene teeth from the fierce Tygers yawes,

And burne the long liu’d Phænix in her blood,

Make glad and sorry seasons as thou fleet’st,

And do what ere thou wilt swift-footed time

To the wide world and all her fading sweets:

But I forbid thee one most hainous crime,

O carue not with thy howers my loues faire brow,

Nor draw noe lines there with thine antique pen,

Him in thy course vntainted doe allow,

For beauties patterne to succeding men.

    Yet doe thy worst ould Time, dispight thy wrong,

    My loue shall in my verse euer liue young.




A WOMANS face with natures owne hand painted,

Haste thou the Master Mistris of my passion,

A womans gentle hart but not acquainted

With shifting change as is false womens fashion,

An eye more bright then theirs, lesse false in rowling,

Gilding the obiect where-vpon it gazeth:

A man in hew all Hews in his controwling,

Which steales mens eyes and womens soules amaseth.

And for a woman wert thou first created,

Till nature as she wrought thee fell a dotinge,

And by addition me of thee defeated,

By adding one thing to my purpose nothing.

    But since she prickt thee out for womens pleasure,

    Mine be thy loue and thy loues vse their treasure.




SO it is not with me as with that Muse,

Stird by a painted beauty to his verse,

Who heauen it selfe for ornament doth vse,

And euery faire with his faire doth reherse,

Making a coopelment of proud compare

With Sunne and Moone, with earth and seas rich gems,

With Aprills first borne flowers and all things rare,

That heauens ayre in this huge rondure hems.

O let me true in loue but truly write,

And then beleeue me, my loue is as faire,

As any mothers childe, though not so bright

As those gould candells fixt in heauens ayer:

    Let them say more that like of heare-say well,

    I will not prayse that purpose not to sell.




MY glasse shall not perswade me I am ould,

So long as youth and thou are of one date,

But when in thee times forrwes I behould,

Then look I death my daies should expiate.

For all that beauty that doth couer thee,

Is but the seemely rayment of my heart,

Which in thy brest doth liue, as thine in me,

How can I then be elder then thou art?

O therefore loue be of thy selfe so wary,

As I not for my selfe, but for thee will,

Bearing thy heart which I will keepe so chary

As tender nurse her babe from faring ill,

    Presume not on thy heart when mine is slaine,

    Thou gau’st me thine not to giue backe againe.




AS an vnperfect actor on the stage,

Who with his feare is put besides his part,

Or some fierce thing repleat with too much rage,

Whose strengths abondance weakens his owne heart;

So I for feare of trust, forget to say,

The perfect ceremony of loues right,

And in mine owne loues strength seeme to decay,

Ore-charg’d with burthen of mine owne loues might:

O let my books be then the eloquence,

And domb presagers of my speaking brest,

Who pleade for loue, and look for recompence,

More then that tonge that more hath more exprest.

    O learne to read what silent loue hath writ,

    To heare with eies belongs to loues fine wit.




MINE eye hath play’d the painter and hath steeld,

Thy beauties forme in table of my heart,

My body is the frame wherein ’tis held,

And perspectiue it is best Painters art.

For through the Painter must you see his skill,

To finde where your true Image pictur’d lies,

Which in my bosomes shop is hanging stil,

That hath his windowes glazed with thine eyes:

Now see what good-turnes eyes for eies haue done,

Mine eyes haue drawne thy shape, and thine for me

Are windowes to my brest, where-through the Sun

Delights to peepe, to gaze therein on thee.

    Yet eyes this cunning want to grace their art,

    They draw but what they see, know not the hart.




LET those who are in fauor with their stars,

Of publike honour and proud titles bost,

Whilst I whome fortune of such tryumph bars

Vnlookt for ioy in that I honour most;

Great Princes fauorites their faire leaues spread,

But as the Marygold at the suns eye,

And in them-selues their pride lies buried,

For at a frowne they in their glory die.

The painefull warrier famosed for worth,

After a thousand victories once foild,

Is from the booke of honour rased quite,

And all the rest forgot for which he toild:

    Then happy I that loue and am beloued

    Where I may not remoue, nor be remoued.




LORD of my loue, to whome in vassalage

Thy merrit hath my dutie strongly knit;

To thee I send this written ambassage

To witnesse duty, not to shew my wit.

Duty so great, which wit so poore as mine

May make seeme bare, in wanting words to shew it;

But that I hope some good conceipt of thine

In thy soules thought (all naked) will bestow it:

Til whatsoeuer star that guides my mouing,

Points on me gratiously with faire aspect,

And puts apparrell on my tottered louing,

To show me worthy of thy sweet respect,

    Then may I dare to boast how I doe loue thee,

    Til then, not show my head where thou maist proue me.




WEARY with toyle, I hast me to my bed,

The deare repose for lims with trauaill tired,

But then begins a iourny in my head

To worke my mind, when boddies work’s expired.

For then my thoughts (from far where I abide)

Intend a zelous pilgrimage to thee,

And keepe my drooping eye-lids open wide,

Looking on darknes which the blind doe see.

Saue that my soules imaginary sight

Presents thy shaddoe to my sightles view,

Which like a iewell (hunge in gastly night)

Makes blacke night beautious, and her old face new.

    Loe thus by day my lims, by night my mind,

    For thee, and for my selfe, noe quiet finde.




HOW can I then returne in happy plight

That am debard the benifit of rest?

When daies oppression is not eazd by night,

But day by night and night by day oprest.

And each (though enimes to ethers raigne)

Doe in consent shake hands to torture me,

The one by toyle, the other to complaine

How far I toyle, still farther off from thee.

I tell the Day to please him thou art bright,

And do’st him grace when clouds doe blot the heauen:

So flatter I the swart complexiond night,

When sparkling stars twire not thou guild’st the eauen.

    But day doth daily draw my sorrowes longer,

    And night doth nightly make greefes length seeme stronger.




WHEN in disgrace with Fortune and mens eyes,

I all alone beweepe my out-cast state,

And trouble deafe heauen with my bootlesse cries,

And looke vpon my selfe and curse my fate,

Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,

Featur’d like him, like him with friends possest,

Desiring this mans art, and that mans skope,

With what I most inioy contented least,

Yet in these thoughts my selfe almost despising,

Haplye I thinke on thee, and then my state,

(Like to the Larke at breake of daye arising)

From sullen earth sings himns at Heauens gate,

    For thy sweet loue remembred such welth brings,

    That then I skorne to change my state with Kings.




WHEN to the Sessions of sweet silent thought,

I sommon vp remembrance of things past,

I sigh the lacke of many a thing I sought,

And with old woes new waile my deare times waste:

Then can I drowne an eye (vn-vs’d to flow)

For precious friends hid in deaths dateles night,

And weepe a fresh loues long since canceld woe,

And mone th’ expence of many a vannisht sight.

Then can I greeue at greeuances fore-gon,

And heauily from woe to woe tell ore

The sad account of fore-bemoned mone,

Which I new pay as if not payd before.

    But if the while I thinke on thee (deare friend)

    All losses are restord, and sorrowes end.




THY bosome is indeared with all hearts,

Which I by lacking haue supposed dead,

And there raignes Loue and all Loues louing parts,

And all those friends which I thought buried.

How many a holy and obsequious teare

Hath deare religious loue stolne from mine eye,

As interest of the dead, which now appeare,

But things remou’d that hidden in there lie.

Thou art the graue where buried loue doth liue,

Hung with the tropheis of my louers gon,

Who all their parts of me to thee did giue,

That due of many, now is thine alone.

    Their images I lou’d, I view in thee,

    And thou (all they) hast all the all of me.




IF thou suruiue my well contented daie

When that churle death my bones with dust shall couer:

And shalt by fortune once more re-suruay

These poore rude lines of thy deceased Louer:

Compare them with the bett’ring of the time,

And though they be out-stript by euery pen,

Reserue them for my loue, not for their rime,

Exceeded by the hight of happier men.

Oh then voutsafe me but this louing thought,

Had my friends Muse growne with this growing age,

A dearer birth then this his loue had brought

To march in ranckes of better equipage:

    But since he died and Poets better proue,

    Theirs for their stile ile read, his for his loue.




FVLL many a glorious morning haue I seene,

Flatter the mountaine tops with soueraine eie,

Kissing with golden face the meddowes greene,

Guilding pale streames with heauenly alcumy:

Anon permit the basest cloudes to ride,

With ougly rack on his celestiall face,

And from the for-lorne world his visage hide

Stealing vnseene to west with this disgrace:

Euen so my Sunne one early morne did shine,

With all triumphant splendor on my brow,

But out alack, he was but one houre mine,

The region cloude hath mask’d him from me now.

    Yet him for this, my loue no whit disdaineth,

    Suns of the world may staine, when heauens sun staineth.




WHY didst thou promise such a beautious day,

And make me trauaile forth without my cloake,

To let bace cloudes ore-take me in my way,

Hiding thy brau’ry in their rotten smoke.

Tis not enough that through the cloude thou breake,

To dry the raine on my storme-beaten face,

For no man well of such a salue can speake,

That heales the wound, and cures not the disgrace:

Nor can thy shame giue phisicke to my griefe,

Though thou repent, yet I haue still the losse,

Th’ offenders sorrow lends but weake reliefe

To him that beares the strong offenses crosse.

    Ah but those teares are pearle which thy loue sheeds,

    And they are ritch, and ransome all ill deeds.




NO more bee greeu’d at that which thou hast done,

Roses haue thornes, and siluer fountaines mud,

Cloudes and eclipses staine both Moone and Sunne,

And loathsome canker liues in sweetest bud.

All men make faults, and euen I in this,

Authorizing thy trespas with compare,

My selfe corrupting saluing thy amisse,

Excusing their sins more then their sins are:

For to thy sensuall fault I bring in sence,

Thy aduerse party is thy Aduocate,

And gainst my selfe a lawfull plea commence:

Such ciuill war is in my loue and hate,

    That I an accessary needs must be,

    To that sweet theefe which sourely robs from me.




LET me confesse that we two must be twaine,

Although our vndeuided loues are one:

So shall those blots that do with me remaine,

Without thy helpe, by me be borne alone.

In our two loues there is but one respect,

Though in our liues a seperable spight,

Which though it alter not loues sole effect,

Yet doth it steale sweet houres from loues delight.

I may not euer-more acknowledge thee,

Least my bewailed guilt should do thee shame,

Nor thou with publike kindnesse honour me,

Vnlesse thou take that honour from thy name:

    But doe not so, I loue thee in such sort,

    As thou being mine, mine is thy good report.




AS a decrepit father takes delight,

To see his actiue childe do deeds of youth,

So I, made lame by Fortunes dearest spight

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

Intitled in their parts, do crowned sit,

I make my loue ingrafted to this store:

So then I am not lame, poore, nor dispis’d,

Whilst that this shadow doth such substance giue,

That I in thy abundance am suffic’d,

And by a part of all thy glory liue:

    Looke what is best, that best I wish in thee,

    This wish I haue, then ten times happy me.




HOW can my Muse want subiect to inuent

While thou dost breath that poor’st into my verse,

Thine owne sweet argument, to excellent,

For euery vulgar paper to rehearse:

Oh giue thy selfe the thankes if ought in me,

Worthy perusal stand against thy sight,

For who’s so dumbe that cannot write to thee,

When thou thy selfe dost giue inuention light?

Be thou the tenth Muse, ten times more in worth

Then those old nine which rimers inuocate,

And he that calls on thee, let him bring forth

Eternal numbers to out-liue long date.

    If my slight Muse doe please these curious daies,

    The paine be mine, but thine shal be the praise.




OH how thy worth with manners may I singe,

When thou art all the better part of me?

What can mine owne praise to mine owne selfe bring?

And what is’t but mine owne when I praise thee?

Euen for this, let vs deuided liue,

And our deare loue loose name of single one,

That by this seperation I may giue

That due to thee which thou deseru’st alone:

Oh absence what a torment wouldst thou proue,

Were it not thy soure leisure gaue sweet leaue,

To entertaine the time with thoughts of loue,

Which time and thoughts so sweetly dost deceiue.

    And that thou teachest how to make one twaine,

    By praising him here who doth hence remaine.




TAKE all my loues, my loue, yea take them all,

What hast thou then more then thou hadst before?

No loue, my loue, that thou maist true loue call,

All mine was thine, before thou hadst this more:

Then if for my loue, thou my loue receiuest,

I cannot blame thee, for my loue thou vsest,

But yet be blam’d, if thou this selfe deceauest

By wilfull taste of what thy selfe refusest.

I doe forgiue thy robb’rie gentle theefe

Although thou steale thee all my pouerty:

And yet loue knowes it is a greater griefe

To beare loues wrong, then hates knowne iniury.

    Lasciuious grace, in whom all il wel showes,

    Kill me with spights, yet we must not be foes.




THOSE pretty wrongs that liberty commits,

When I am some-time absent from thy heart.

Thy beautie, and thy yeares full well befits,

For still temptation followes where thou art.

Gentle thou art, and therefore to be wonne,

Beautious thou art, therefore to be assailed.

And when a woman woes, what womans sonne,

Will sourely leaue her till he haue preuailed?

Aye me, but yet thou mighst my seate forbeare,

And chide thy beauty, and thy straying youth,

Who lead thee in their ryot euen there

Where thou art forst to breake a two-fold truth:

    Hers by thy beauty tempting her to thee,

    Thine by thy beautie beeing false to me.




THAT thou hast her it is not all my griefe,

And yet it may be said I lou’d her deerely,

That she hath thee is of my wayling cheefe,

A losse in loue that touches me more neerely.

Louing offendors thus I will excuse yee,

Thou doost loue her, because thou knowst I loue her,

And for my sake euen so doth she abuse me,

Suffring my friend for my sake to aprooue her.

If I loose thee, my losse is my loues gaine,

And loosing her, my friend hath found that losse,

Both finde each other, and I loose both twaine,

And both for my sake lay on me this crosse,

    But here’s the ioy, my friend and I are one,

    Sweete flattery, then she loues but me alone.




WHEN most I winke then doe mine eyes best see,

For all the day they view things vnrespected,

But when I sleepe, in dreames they looke on thee,

And darkely bright, are bright in darke directed.

Then thou whose shaddow shaddowes doth make bright,

How would thy shadowes forme, forme happy show,

To the cleere day with thy much cleerer light,

When to vn-seeing eyes thy shade shines so?

How would (I say) mine eyes be blessed made,

By looking on thee in the liuing day?

When in dead night thy faire imperfect shade,

Through heauy sleepe on sightlesse eyes doth stay?

    All dayes are nights to see till I see thee,

    And nights bright daies when dreams do shew thee me.




IF the dull substance of my flesh were thought,

Iniurious distance should not stop my way,

For then dispight of space I would be brought,

From limits farre remote, where thou doost stay.

No matter then although my foote did stand

Vpon the farthest earth remoou’d from thee,

For nimble thought can iumpe both sea and land,

As soone as thinke the place where he would be.

But ah, thought kills me that I am not thought

To leape large lengths of miles when thou art gone,

But that so much of earth and water wrought,

I must attend times leasure with my mone.

    Receiuing naught by elements so sloe,

    But heauie teares, badges of eithers woe.




THE other two, slight ayre, and purging fire,

Are both with thee, where euer I abide,

The first my thought, the other my desire,

These present absent with swift motion slide.

For when these quicker Elements are gone

In tender Embassie of loue to thee,

My life being made of foure, with two alone,

Sinkes downe to death, opprest with melancholie.

Vntill liues composition be recured,

By those swift messengers return’d from thee,

Who euen but now come back againe assured,

Of thy faire health, recounting it to me.

    This told, I ioy, but then no longer glad,

    I send them back againe and straight grow sad.




MINE eye and heart are at a morrall warre,

How to deuide the conquest of thy sight,

Mine eye, my heart thy pictures sight would barre,

My heart, mine eye the freedome of that right,

My heart doth plead that thou in him doost lye,

(A closet neuer pearst with christall eyes)

But the defendant doth that plea deny,

And sayes in him thy faire appearance lyes.

To side this title is impannelled

A quest of thoughts, all tennants to the heart,

And by their verdict is determined

The cleere eyes moyitie, and the deare hearts part.

    As thus, mine eyes due is thy outward part,

    And my hearts right, thy inward loue of heart.




BETWIXT mine eye and heart a league is tooke,

And each doth good turnes now vnto the other,

When that mine eye is famisht for a looke,

Or heart in loue with sighes himselfe doth smother;

With my loues picture then my eye doth feast,

And to the painted banquet bids my heart:

An other time mine eye is my hearts guest,

And in his thoughts of loue doth share a part.

So either by thy picture or my loue,

Thy selfe away, are present still with me,

For thou nor farther then my thoughts canst moue,

And I am still with them, and they with thee.

    Or if they sleepe, thy picture in my sight

    Awakes my heart, to hearts and eyes delight.




HOW carefull was I when I tooke my way,

Each trifle vnder truest barres to thrust,

That to my vse it might vn-vsed stay

From hands of falsehood, in sure wards of trust?

But thou, to whom my iewels trifles are,

Most worthy comfort, now my greatest griefe,

Thou best of deerest, and mine onely care,

Art left the prey of euery vulgar theefe.

Thee haue I not lockt vp in any chest,

Saue where thou art not though I feele thou art,

Within the gentle closure of my brest,

From whence at pleasure thou maist come and part,

    And euen thence thou wilt be stolne I feare,

    For truth prooues theeuish for a prize so deare.




AGAINST that time (if euer that time come)

When I shall see thee frowne on my defects,

When as thy loue hath cast his vtmost summe,

Cauld to that audite by aduis’d respects,

Against that time when thou shalt strangely passe,

And scarcely greete me with that sunne thine eye,

When loue conuerted from the thing it was

Shall reasons finde of setled grauitie.

Against that time do I insconce me here

Within the knowledge of mine owne desart,

And this my hand, against my selfe vpreare,

To guard the lawfull reasons on thy part.

    To leaue poore me, thou hast the strength of lawes,

    Since why to loue, I can alledge no cause.




HOW heauie doe I iourney on the way,

When what I seeke (my wearie trauels end)

Doth teach that ease and that repose to say

Thus farre the miles are measurde from thy friend.

The beast that beares me, tired with my woe,

Plods duly on, to beare that waight in me,

As if by some instinct the wretch did know

His rider lou’d not speed being made from thee:

The bloody spurre cannot prouoke him on,

That some-times anger thrusts into his hide,

Which heauily he answers with a grone,

More sharpe to me then spurring to his side,

    For that same grone doth put this in my mind,

    My greefe lies onward and my ioy behind.




THVS can my loue excuse the slow offence,

Of my dull bearer, when from thee I speed,

From where thou art, why should I hast me thence,

Till I returne of posting is noe need.

O what excuse will my poore beast then find,

When swift extremity can seeme but slow?

Then should I spurre though mounted on the wind,

In winged speed no motion shall I know,

Then can no horse with my desire keepe pace,

Therefore desire (of perfect loue being made)

Shall naigh noe dull flesh in his fiery race,

But loue, for loue, thus shall excuse my iade,

    Since from thee going, he went wilfull slow,

    Towards thee ile run, and giue him leaue to goe.




SO am I as the rich whose blessed key,

Can bring him to his sweet vp-locked treasure,

The which he will not eu’ry hower suruay,

For blunting the fine point of seldome pleasure.

Therefore are feasts so sollemne and so rare,

Since sildom comming in the long yeare set,

Like stones of worth they thinly placed are,

Or captaine Iewells in the carconet.

So is the time that keepes you as my chest,

Or as the ward-robe which the robe doth hide,

To make some speciall instant speciall blest,

By new vnfoulding his imprison’d pride.

    Blessed are you whose worthinesse giues skope,

    Being had to tryumph, being lackt to hope.




WHAT is your substance, whereof are you made,

That millions of strange shaddowes on you tend?

Since euery one, hath euery one, one shade,

And you but one, can euery shaddow lend:

Describe Adonis and the counterfet,

Is poorely immitated after you,

On Hellens cheeke all art of beautie set,

And you in Grecian tires are painted new:

Speake of the spring, and foyzon of the yeare,

The one doth shaddow of your beautie show,

The other as your bountie doth appeare,

And you in euery blessed shape we know.

    In all externall grace you haue some part,

    But you like none, none you for constant heart.




OH how much more doth beautie beautious seeme,

By that sweet ornament which truth doth giue,

The Rose lookes faire, but fairer we it deeme

For that sweet odor, which doth in it liue:

The Canker bloomes haue full as deepe a die,

As the perfumed tincture of the Roses,

Hang on such thornes, and play as wantonly,

When sommers breath their masked buds discloses:

But, for their virtue only is their show,

They liue vnwoo’d, and vnrespected fade,

Die to themselues. Sweet Roses doe not so,

Of their sweet deathes, are sweetest odors made:

    And so of you, beautious and louely youth,

    When that shall vade, by verse distils your truth.




NOT marble, nor the guilded monuments,

Of Princes shall out-liue this powrefull rime,

But you shall shine more bright in these contents

Then vnswept stone, besmeer’d with sluttish time.

When wastefull warre shall Statues ouer-turne,

And broiles roote out the worke of masonry,

Nor Mars his sword, nor warres quick fire shall burne

The liuing record of your memory.

Gainst death, and all-obliuious enmity

Shall you pace forth, your praise shall stil finde roome,

Euen in the eyes of all posterity

That weare this world out to the ending doome.

    So til the iudgement that your selfe arise,

    You liue in this, and dwell in louers eies.




SWEET loue renew thy force, be it not said

Thy edge should blunter be then apetite,

Which but too daie by feeding is alaied,

To morrow sharpned in his former might.

So loue be thou, although too daie thou fill

Thy hungrie eies, euen till they winck with fulnesse,

Too morrow see againe, and doe not kill

The spirit of Loue, with a perpetual dulnesse:

Let this sad Intrim like the Ocean be

Which parts the shore, where two contracted new,

Come daily to the banckes, that when they see

Returne of loue, more blest may be the view.

    As cal it Winter, which being ful of care,

    Makes Sommers welcome, thrice more wish’d, more rare.




BEING your slaue what should I doe but tend,

Vpon the houres, and times of your desire?

I haue no precious time at al to spend;

Nor seruices to doe til you require.

Nor dare I chide the world without end houre,

Whilst I (my soueraine) watch the clock for you,

Nor thinke the bitternesse of absence sowre,

When you haue bid your seruant once adieue.

Nor dare I question with my iealious thought,

Where you may be, or your affaires suppose,

But like a sad slaue stay and thinke of nought

Saue, where you are, how happy you make those.

    So true a foole is loue, that in your Will,

    (Though you doe any thing) he thinkes no ill.




THAT God forbid, that made me first your slaue,

I should in thought controule your times of pleasure,

Or at your hand th’ account of houres to craue,

Being your vassail bound to staie your leisure.

Oh let me suffer (being at your beck)

Th’ imprison’d absence of your libertie,

And patience tame to sufferance bide each check,

Without accusing you of iniury.

Be where you list, your charter is so strong,

That you your selfe may priuiledge your time

To what you will, to you it doth belong,

Your selfe to pardon of selfe-doing crime.

    I am to waite, though waiting so be hell,

    Not blame your pleasure be it ill or well.




IF their bee nothing new, but that which is,

Hath beene before, how are our braines beguild,

Which laboring for inuention beare amisse

The second burthen of a former child?

Oh that record could with a back-ward looke,

Euen of fiue hundreth courses of the Sunne,

Show me your image in some antique booke,

Since minde at first in carrecter was done.

That I might see what the old world could say,

To this composed wonder of your frame,

Whether we are mended, or where better they,

Or whether reuolution be the same.

    Oh sure I am the wits of former daies,

    To subiects worse haue giuen admiring praise.




LIKE as the waues make towards the pibled shore,

So do our minuites hasten to their end,

Each changing place with that which goes before,

In sequent toile all forwards do contend.

Natiuity once in the maine of light,

Crawles to maturity, wherewith being crown’d,

Crooked eclipses gainst his glory fight,

And time that gaue, doth now his gift confound.

Time doth transfix the florish set on youth,

And delues the paralels in beauties brow,

Feedes on the rarities of natures truth,

And nothing stands but for his sieth to mow.

    And yet to times in hope, my verse shall stand

    Praising thy worth, dispight his cruell hand.




IS it thy wil, thy Image should keepe open

My heauy eielids to the weary night?

Dost thou desire my slumbers should be broken,

While shadowes like to thee do mocke my sight?

Is it thy spirit that thou send’st from thee

So farre from home into my deeds to prye,

To find out shames and idle houres in me,

The skope and tenure of thy Ielousie?

O no, thy loue though much, is not so great,

It is my loue that keepes mine eie awake,

Mine owne true loue that doth my rest defeat,

To plaie the watch-man euer for thy sake.

    For thee watch I, whilst thou dost wake elsewhere,

    From me farre of, with others all to neere.




SINNE of selfe-loue possesseth al mine eie,

And all my soule, and al my euery part;

And for this sinne there is no remedie,

It is so grounded inward in my heart.

Me thinkes no face so gratious is as mine,

No shape so true, no truth of such account,

And for my selfe mine owne worth do define,

As I all other in all worths surmount.

But when my glasse shewes me my selfe indeed

Beated and chopt with tand antiquitie,

Mine owne selfe loue quite contrary I read,

Selfe, so selfe louing, were iniquity.

    ’Tis thee (my selfe) that for my selfe I praise,

    Painting my age with beauty of thy daies.




AGAINST my loue shall be as I am now

With times iniurious hand chrusht and ore-worne,

When houres haue dreind his blood and fild his brow

With lines and wrincles, when his youthfull morne

Hath trauaild on to Ages steepie night,

And all those beauties whereof now he’s King

Are vanishing, or vanisht out of sight,

Stealing away the treasure of his Spring.

For such a time do I now fortifie

Against confounding Ages cruell knife,

That he shall neuer cut from memory

My sweet loues beauty, though my louers life.

    His beautie shall in these blacke lines be seene,

    And they shall liue, and he in them still greene.




WHEN I haue seene by times fell hand defaced

The rich proud cost of outworne buried age,

When sometime loftie towers I see downe rased,

And brasse eternall slaue to mortall rage.

When I haue seene the hungry Ocean gaine

Aduantage on the Kingdome of the shoare,

And the firme soile win of the watry maine,

Increasing store with losse, and losse with store.

When I haue seene such interchange of state,

Or state it selfe confounded, to decay,

Ruine hath taught me thus to ruminate

That Time will come and take my loue away.

    This thought is as a death which cannot choose

    But weepe to haue, that which it feares to loose.




SINCE brasse, nor stone, nor earth nor boundlesse sea,

But sad mortallity ore-swaies their power,

How with this rage shall beautie hold a plea,

Whose action is no stronger then a flower?

O how shall summers hunny breath hold out,

Against the wrackfull siedge of battring dayes,

When rocks impregnable are not so stoute,

Nor gates of steele so strong but time decayes?

O fearefull meditation, where alack,

Shall times best Iewell from times chest lie hid?

Or what strong hand can hold his swift foote back,

Or who his spoile of beautie can forbid?

    O none, vnlesse this miracle haue might,

    That in black inck my loue may still shine bright.




TYR’D with all these for restfull death I cry,

As to behold desert a begger borne,

And needie Nothing trimd in iollitie,

And purest faith vnhappily forsworne,

And gilded honor shamefully misplast,

And maiden vertue rudely strumpeted,

And right perfection wrongfully disgrac’d,

And strength by limping sway disabled,

And arte made tung-tide by authoritie,

And Folly (Doctor-like) controuling skill,

And simple Truth miscalde Simplicitie,

And captiue good attending Captaine ill.

    Tyr’d with all these, from these would I be gone,

    Saue that to dye, I leaue my loue alone.




AH wherefore with infection should he liue,

And with his presence grace impietie,

That sinne by him aduntage should atchiue,

And lace it selfe with his societie?

Why should false painting immitate his cheeke,

And steale dead seeing of his liuing hew?

Why should poore beautie indirectly seeke,

Roses of shaddow, since his Rose is true?

Why should he liue, now nature banckrout is,

Beggerd of blood to blush through liuely vaines,

For she hath no exchecker now but his,

And proud of many, liues vpon his gaines?

    O him she stores, to show what welth she had,

    In daies long since, before these last so bad.




THVS is his cheeke the map of daies out-worne,

When beauty liu’d and dy’ed as flowers do now,

Before these bastard signes of faire were borne,

Or durst inhabit on a liuing brow:

Before the goulden tresses of the dead,

The right of sepulchers, were shorne away,

To liue a second life on second head;

Ere beauties dead fleece made another gay:

In him those holy antique howers are seene,

Without all ornament, it selfe and true,

Making no summer of an others greene,

Robbing no ould to dresse his beauty new,

    And him as for a map doth Nature store,

    To shew faulse Art what beauty was of yore.




THOSE parts of thee that the worlds eye doth view,

Want nothing that the thought of hearts can mend:

All toungs (the voice of soules) giue thee that due,

Vttring bare truth, euen so as foes commend.

Thy outward thus with outward praise is crownd,

But those same toungs that giue thee so thine owne,

In other accents doe this praise confound

By seeing farther then the eye hath showne.

They looke into the beauty of thy mind,

And that in guesse they measure by thy deeds,

Then churls their thoughts (although their eies were kind)

To thy faire flower ad the rancke smell of weeds.

    But why thy odor matcheth not thy show,

    The soyle is this, that thou doest common grow.




THAT thou are blam’d shall not be thy defect,

For slanders marke was euer yet the faire,

The ornament of beauty is suspect,

A Crow that flies in heauens sweetest ayre.

So thou be good, slander doth but approue,

Thy worth the greater beeing woo’d of time,

For Canker vice the sweetest buds doth loue,

And thou present’st a pure vnstayined prime.

Thou hast past by the ambush of young daies,

Either not assayld, or victor beeing charg’d,

Yet this thy praise cannot be soe thy praise,

To tye vp enuy, euermore inlarged.

    If some suspect of ill maskt not thy show,

    Then thou alone kingdomes of hearts shouldst owe.




NOE longer mourne for me when I am dead,

Then you shall heare the surly sullen bell

Giue warning to the world that I am fled

From this vile world with vildest wormes to dwell:

Nay if you read this line, remember not,

The hand that writ it, for I loue you so,

That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot,

If thinking on me then should make you woe.

O if (I say) you looke vpon this verse,

When I (perhaps) compounded am with clay,

Do not so much as my poore name reherse;

But let your loue euen with my life decay.

    Least the wise world should looke into your mone,

    And mocke you with me after I am gon.




O LEAST the world should taske you to recite,

What merit liu’d in me that you should loue,

After my death (deare loue) forget me quite,

For you in me can nothing worthy proue.

Vnlesse you would deuise some vertuous lye,

To doe more for me then mine owne desert,

And hang more praise vpon deceased I,

Then nigard truth would willingly impart:

O least your true loue may seeme falce in this,

That you for loue speake well of me vntrue,

My name be buried where my body is,

And liue no more to shame nor me, nor you.

    For I am shamd by that which I bring forth,

    And so should you, to loue things nothing worth.




THAT time of yeeare thou maist in me behold,

When yellow leaues, or none, or few doe hange

Vpon those boughes which shake against the could,

Bare ruin’d quiers, where late the sweet birds sang.

In me thou seest the twi-light of such day,

As after Sun-set fadeth in the West,

Which by and by blacke night doth take away,

Deaths second selfe that seals vp all in rest.

In me thou seest the glowing of such fire,

That on the ashes of his youth doth lye,

As the death bed, whereon it must expire,

Consum’d with that which it was nurrisht by.

    This thou perceu’st, which makes thy loue more strong,

    To loue that well, which thou must leaue ere long.




BVT be contented: when that fell arest,

Without all bayle shall carry me away,

My life hath in this line some interest,

Which for memoriall still with thee shall stay.

When thou reuewest this, thou doest reuew,

The very part was consecrate to thee,

The earth can haue but earth, which is his due,

My spirit is thine the better part of me,

So then thou hast but lost the dregs of life,

The pray of wormes, my body being dead,

The coward conquest of a wretches knife,

To base of thee to be remembred.

    The worth of that, is that which it containes,

    And that is this, and this with thee remaines.




SO are you to my thoughts as food to life,

Or as sweet season’d shewers are to the ground:

And for the peace of you I hold such strife,

As twixt a miser and his wealth is found.

Now proud as an inioyer, and anon

Doubting the filching age will steale his treasure,

Now counting best to be with you alone,

Then bettered that the world may see my pleasure,

Some-time all ful with feasting on your sight,

And by and by cleane starued for a looke,

Possessing or pursuing no delight

Saue what is had, or must from you be tooke.

    Thus do I pine and surfet day by day,

    Or gluttoning on all, or all away.




WHY is my verse so barren of new pride?

So far from variation or quicke change?

Why with the time do I not glance aside

To new found methods, and to compounds strange?

Why write I still all one, euer the same,

And keepe inuention in a noted weed,

That euery word doth almost tel my name,

Shewing their birth, and where they did proceed?

O know sweet loue I alwaies write of you,

And you and loue are still my argument:

So all my best is dressing old words new,

Spending againe what is already spent:

    For as the Sun is daily new and old,

    So is my loue still telling what is told.




THY glasse will shew thee how thy beauties were,

Thy dyall how thy pretious mynuits waste,

The vacant leaues thy mindes imprint will beare,

And of this booke, this learning maist thou taste.

The wrinckles which thy glasse will truly show,

Of mouthed graues will glue thee memorie,

Thou by thy dyals shady stealth maist know,

Times theeuish progresse to eternitie.

Looke what thy memorie cannot containe,

Commit to these waste blancks, and thou shalt finde

Those children nurst, deliuerd from thy braine,

To take a new acquaintance of thy minde.

    These offices, so oft as thou wilt looke,

    Shall profit thee, and much inrich thy booke.




SO oft haue I inuok’d thee for my Muse,

And found such faire assistance in my verse,

As euery Alien pen hath got my vse,

And vnder thee their poesie disperse.

Thine eyes, that taught the dumbe on high to sing,

And heauie ignorance aloft to flie,

Haue added feathers to the learneds wing,

And giuen grace a double Maiestie.

Yet be most proud of that which I compile,

Whose influence is thine, and borne of thee,

In others workes thou doost but mend the stile,

And Arts with thy sweete graces graced be.

    But thou art all my art, and doost aduance

    As high as learning, my rude ignorance.




WHILST I alone did call vpon thy ayde,

My verse alone had all thy gentle grace,

But now my gracious numbers are decayde,

And my sick Muse doth giue an other place.

I grant (sweet loue) thy louely argument

Deserues the trauaile of a worthier pen,

Yet what of thee thy Poet doth inuent,

He robs thee of, and payes it thee againe,

He lends thee vertue, and he stole that word,

From thy behauiour, beautie doth he giue

And found it in thy cheeke: he can afford

No praise to thee, but what in thee doth liue.

    Then thanke him not for that which he doth say,

    Since what he owes thee, thou thy selfe doost pay.




O HOW I faint when I of you do write,

Knowing a better spirit doth vse your name,

And in the praise thereof spends all his might,

To make me toung-tide speaking of your fame.

But since your worth (wide as the Ocean is)

The humble as the proudest saile doth beare,

My sawsie barke (inferior farre to his)

On your broad maine doth wilfully appeare.

Your shallowest helpe will hold me vp a floate,

Whilst he vpon your soundlesse deepe doth ride,

Or (being wrackt) I am a worthlesse bote,

He of tall building, and of goodly pride.

    Then if he thriue and I be cast away,

    The worst was this, my loue was my decay.




OR I shall liue your Epitaph to make,

Or you suruiue when I in earth am rotten,

From hence your memory death cannot take,

Although in me each part will be forgotten.

Your name from hence immortall life shall haue,

Though I (once gone) to all the world must dye,

The earth can yeeld me but a common graue,

When you intombed in mens eyes shall lye.

Your monument shall be my gentle verse,

Which eyes not yet created shall ore-read,

And toungs to be, your beeing shall rehearse,

When all the breathers of this world are dead,

    You still shall liue (such vertue hath my Pen)

    Where breath most breaths, euen in the mouths of men.




I GRANT thou wert not married to my Muse,

And therefore maiest without attaint ore-looke

The dedicated words which writers vse

Of their faire subiect, blessing euery booke.

Thou art as faire in knowledge as in hew,

Finding thy worth a limmit past my praise,

And therefore art inforc’d to seeke anew,

Some fresher stampe of the time bettering dayes.

And do so loue, yet when they haue deuisde,

What strained touches Rhethorick can lend,

Thou truly faire, wert truly simpathizde,

In true plaine words, by thy true telling friend.

    And their grosse painting might be better vs’d,

    Where cheekes need blood; in thee it is abus’d.




I NEVER saw that you did painting need,

And therefore to your faire no painting set,

I found (or thought I found) you did exceed,

The barren tender of a Poets debt:

And therefore haue I slept in your report,

That you your selfe being extant well might show,

How farre a moderne quill doth come to short,

Speaking of worth, what worth in you doth grow.

This silence for my sinne you did impute,

Which shall be most my glory being dombe,

For I impaire not beautie being mute,

When others would giue life, and bring a tombe.

    There liues more life in one of your faire eyes,

    Then both your Poets can in praise deuise.




WHO is it that sayes most, which can say more,

Then this rich praise, that you alone, are you?

In whose confine immured is the store,

Which should example where your equall grew.

Leane penurie within that Pen doth dwell,

That to his subiect lends not some small glory,

But he that writes of you, if he can tell,

That you are you, so dignifies his story.

Let him but coppy what in you is writ,

Not making worse what nature made so cleere,

And such a counter-part shall fame his wit,

Making his stile admired euery where.

    You to your beautious blessings adde a curse,

    Being fond on praise, which makes your praises worse.




MY toung-tide Muse in manners holds her still,

While comments of your praise richly compil’d,

Reserue their Character with goulden quill,

And precious phrase by all the Muses fil’d.

I thinke good thoughts, whilst other write good wordes,

And like vnlettered clarke still crie Amen,

To euery Himne that able spirit affords,

In polisht forme of well refined pen.

Hearing you praisd, I say ’tis so, ’tis true,

And to the most of praise adde some-thing more,

But that is in my thought, whose loue to you

(Though words come hind-most) holds his ranke before.

    Then others, for the breath of words respect,

    Me for my dombe thoughts, speaking in effect.




WAS it the proud full saile of his great verse,

Bound for the prize of (all to precious) you,

That did my ripe thoughts in my braine inhearce,

Making their tombe the wombe wherein they grew?

Was it his spirit, by spirits taught to write,

Aboue a mortall pitch, that struck me dead?

No, neither he, nor his compiers by night

Giuing him ayde, my verse astonished.

He nor that affable familiar ghost

Which nightly gulls him with intelligence,

As victors of my silence cannot boast,

I was not sick of any feare from thence.

    But when your countinance fild vp his line,

    Then lackt I matter, that infeebled mine.




FAREWELL thou art too deare for my possessing,

And like enough thou knowst thy estimate,

The Charter of thy worth giues thee releasing:

My bonds in thee are all determinate.

For how do I hold thee but by thy granting,

And for that ritches where is my deseruing?

The cause of this faire guift in me is wanting,

And so my pattent back againe is sweruing.

Thy selfe thou gau’st, thy owne worth then not knowing,

Or mee to whom thou gau’st it, else mistaking,

So thy great guift vpon misprision growing,

Comes home againe, on better iudgement making.

    Thus haue I had thee as a dreame doth flatter,

    In sleepe a King, but waking no such matter.




WHEN thou shalt be disposde to set me light,

And place my merrit in the eie of skorne,

Vpon thy side, against my selfe ile fight,

And proue thee virtuous, though thou art forsworne:

With mine owne weakenesse being best acquainted,

Vpon thy part I can set downe a story

Of faults conceald, wherein I am attainted:

That thou in loosing me, shall win much glory:

And I by this wil be a gainer too,

For bending all my louing thoughts on thee,

The iniuries that to my selfe I doe,

Doing thee vantage, duble vantage me.

    Such is my loue, to thee I so belong,

    That for thy right, my selfe will beare all wrong.




SAY that thou didst forsake mee for some falt,

And I will comment vpon that offence,

Speake of my lamenesse, and I straight will halt:

Against thy reasons making no defence.

Thou canst not (loue) disgrace me halfe so ill,

To set a forme vpon desired change,

As ile my selfe disgrace; knowing thy wil,

I will acquaintance strangle and looke strange:

Be absent from thy walkes; and in my tongue,

Thy sweet beloued name no more shall dwell,

Least I (too much prophane) should do it wronge:

And haplie of our old acquaintance tell.

    For thee, against my selfe ile vow debate,

    For I must nere loue him whom thou dost hate.




THEN hate me when thou wilt, if euer, now,

Now while the world is bent my deeds to crosse,

Ioyne with the spight of fortune, make me bow,

And doe not drop in for an after losse:

Ah doe not, when my heart hath scapte this sorrow,

Come in the rereward of a conquerd woe,

Giue not a windy night a rainie morrow,

To linger out a purposd ouer-throw.

If thou wilt leaue me, do not leaue me last,

When other pettie griefes haue done their spight,

But in the onset come, so shall I taste

At first the very worst of fortunes might.

    And other straines of woe, which now seeme woe,

    Compar’d with losse of thee, will not seeme so.




SOME glory in their birth, some in their skill,

Some in their wealth, some in their bodies force,

Some in their garments though new-fangled ill:

Some in their Hawkes and Hounds, some in their Horse.

And euery humor hath his adiunct pleasure,

Wherein it findes a ioy aboue the rest,

But these perticulers are not my measure,

All these I better in one generall best.

Thy loue is better then high birth to me,

Richer then wealth, prouder then garments cost,

Of more delight then Hawkes or Horses bee:

And hauing thee, of all mens pride I boast.

    Wretched in this alone, that thou maist take,

    All this away, and me most wretched make.






BVT doe thy worst to steale thy selfe away,

For tearme of life thou art assured mine,

And life no longer then thy loue will stay,

For it depends vpon that loue of thine.

Then need I not to feare the worst of wrongs,

When in the least of them my life hath end,

I see, a better state to me belongs

Then that, which on thy humor doth depend.

Thou canst not vex me with inconstant minde,

Since that my life on thy reuolt doth lie,

Oh what a happy title do I finde,

Happy to haue thy loue, happy to die!

    But whats so blessed faire that feares no blot?

    Thou maist be falce, and yet I know it not.




SO shall I liue, supposing thou art true,

Like a deceiued husband: so loues face,

May still seeme loue to me, though alter’d new:

Thy lookes with me, thy heart in other place.

For their can liue no hatred in thine eye,

Therefore in that I cannot know thy change,

In manies lookes, the falce hearts history

Is writ in moods and frounes and wrinckles strange.

But heauen in thy creation did decree,

That in thy face sweet loue should euer dwell,

What ere thy thoughts, or thy hearts workings be,

Thy lookes should nothing thence, but sweetnesse tell.

    How like Eaues apple doth thy beauty grow,

    If thy sweet vertue answere not thy show.




THEY that haue powre to hurt, and will doe none,

That doe not do the thing, they most do showe,

Who mouing others, are themselues as stone,

Vnmooued, could, and to temptation slow:

They rightly do inherrit heauens graces,

And husband natures ritches from expence,

They are the Lords and owners of their faces,

Others, but stewards of their excellence:

The sommers flowre is to the sommer sweet,

Though to it selfe, it onely liue and die,

But if that flowre with base infection meete,

The basest weed out-braues his dignity:

    For sweetest things turne sowrest by their deedes,

    Lillies that fester, smell far worse then weeds.




HOW sweet and louely dost thou make the shame,

Which like a canker in the fragrant Rose,

Doth spot the beautie of thy budding name!

Oh in what sweets doest thou thy sinnes inclose!

That tongue that tells the story of thy daies,

(Making lasciuious comments on thy sport)

Cannot dispraise, but in a kinde of praise,

Naming thy name, blesses an ill report.

Oh what a mansion haue those vices got,

Which for their habitation chose out thee,

Where beauties vaile doth couer euery blot,

And all things turnes to faire that eies can see!

    Take heed (deare heart) of this large priuiledge,

    The hardest knife ill vs’d doth loose his edge.




SOME say thy fault is youth, some wantonesse,

Some say thy grace is youth and gentle sport,

Both grace and faults are lou’d of more and lesse:

Thou makst faults graces, that to thee resort:

As on the finger of a throned Queene,

The basest Iewell wil be well esteem’d:

So are those errors that in thee are seene,

To truths translated, and for true things deem’d.

How many Lambs might the sterne Wolfe betray,

If like a Lambe he could his lookes translate.

How many gazers mighst thou lead away,

If thou wouldst vse the strength of all thy state!

    But doe not so, I loue thee in such sort,

    As thou being mine, mine is thy good report.




HOW like a Winter hath my absence beene

From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting yeare!

What freezings haue I felt, what darke daies seene!

What old Decembers barenesse euery where!

And yet this time remou’d was sommers time,

The teeming Autumne big with ritch increase,

Bearing the wanton burthen of the prime,

Like widdowed wombes after their Lords decease:

Yet this aboundant issue seem’d to me,

But hope of Orphans, and vn-fathered fruite,

For Sommer and his pleasures waite on thee,

And thou away, the very birds are mute.

    Or if they sing, tis with so dull a cheere,

    That leaues looke pale, dreading the Winters neere.




FROM you haue I beene absent in the spring,

When proud pide Aprill (drest in all his trim)

Hath put a spirit of youth in euery thing:

That heauie Saturne laught and leapt with him.

Yet nor the laies of birds, nor the sweet smell

Of different flowers in odor and in hew,

Could make me any summers story tell:

Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew:

Nor did I wonder at the Lillies white,

Nor praise the deepe vermillion in the Rose,

They weare but sweet, but figures of delight:

Drawne after you, you patterne of all those.

    Yet seem’d it Winter still, and you away,

    As with your shaddow I with these did play.




THE forward violet thus did I chide,

Sweet theefe whence didst thou steale thy sweet that smels

If not from my loues breath? The purple pride,

Which on thy soft cheeke for complexion dwells,

In my loues veines thou hast too grosely died.

The Lillie I condemned for thy hand,

And buds of marierom had stolne thy haire,

The Roses fearefully on thornes did stand,

One blushing shame, an other white dispaire:

A third nor red, nor white, had stolne of both,

And to his robbry had annext thy breath,

But for his theft in pride of all his growth

A vengfull canker eate him vp to death.

    More flowers I noted, yet I none could see,

    But sweet, or culler it had stolne from thee.




WHERE art thou Muse that thou forgetst so long,

To speake of that which giues thee all thy might?

Spendst thou thy furie on some worthlesse songe,

Darkning thy powre to lend base subiects light?

Returne forgetfull Muse, and straight redeeme,

In gentle numbers time so idely spent,

Sing to the eare that doth thy laies esteeme,

And giues thy pen both skill and argument.

Rise resty Muse, my loues sweet face suruay,

If time haue any wrincle grauen there,

If any, be a Satire to decay,

And make times spoiles dispised euery where.

    Giue my loue fame faster then time wasts life,

    So thou preuenst his sieth, and crooked knife.




OH truant Muse what shalbe thy amends,

For thy neglect of truth in beauty di’d?

Both truth and beauty on my loue depends:

So dost thou too, and therein dignifi’d:

Make answere Muse, wilt thou not haply saie,

Truth needs no collour with his collour fixt,

Beautie no pensell, beauties truth to lay:

But best is best, if neuer intermixt.

Because he needs no praise, wilt thou be dumb?

Excuse not silence so, for’t lies in thee,

To make him much out-liue a gilded tombe:

And to be praisd of ages yet to be.

    Then do thy office Muse, I teach thee how,

    To make him seeme long hence, as he showes now.




MY loue is strengthned though more weake in seeming,

I loue not lesse, thogh lesse the show appeare,

That loue is marchandiz’d, whose ritch esteeming,

The owners tongue doth publish euery where.

Our loue was new, and then but in the spring,

When I was wont to greet it with my laies,

As Philomell in summers front doth singe,

And stops his pipe in growth of riper daies:

Not that the summer is lesse pleasant now

Then when her mournefull himns did hush the night,

But that wild musick burthens euery bow,

And sweets growne common loose their deare delight.

    Therefore like her, I some-time hold my tongue:

    Because I would not dull you with my songe.




ALACK what pouerty my Muse brings forth,

That hauing such a skope to show her pride,

The argument all bare is of more worth

Then when it hath my added praise beside.

Oh blame me not if I no more can write!

Looke in your glasse and there appeares a face,

That ouer-goes my blunt inuention quite,

Dulling my lines, and doing me disgrace.

Were it not sinfull then striuing to mend,

To marre the subiect that before was well,

For to no other passe my verses tend,

Then of your graces and your gifts to tell.

    And more, much more then in my verse can sit,

    Your owne glasse showes you, when you looke in it.




TO me faire friend you neuer can be old;

For as you were when first your eye I eyde,

Such seemes your beautie still: Three Winters colde,

Haue from the forrests shooke three summers pride,

Three beautious springs to yellow Autumne turn’d,

In processe of the seasons haue I seene,

Three Aprill perfumes in three hot Iunes burn’d,

Since first I saw you fresh which yet are greene.

Ah yet doth beauty like a Dyall hand,

Steale from his figure, and no pace perceiu’d,

So your sweete hew, which me thinkes still doth stand

Hath motion, and mine eye may be deceaued.

    For feare of which, heare this thou age vnbred,

    Ere you were borne was beauties summer dead.






LET not my loue be cal’d Idolatrie,

Nor my beloued as an Idoll show,

Since all alike my songs and praises be

To one, of one, still such, and euer so.

Kinde is my loue to day, to morrow kinde,

Still constant in a wondrous excellence,

Therefore my verse to constancie confin’de,

One thing expressing, leaues out difference.

Faire, kinde, and true, is all my argument,

Faire, kinde and true, varrying to other words,

And in this change is my inuention spent,

Three theams in one, which wondrous scope affords.

    Faire, kinde, and true, haue often liu’d alone.

    Which three till now, neuer kept seate in one.




WHEN in the Chronicle of wasted time,

I see discriptions of the fairest wights,

And beautie making beautifull old rime,

In praise of Ladies dead, and louely Knights,

Then in the blazon of sweet beauties best,

Of hand, of foote, of lip, of eye, of brow,

I see their antique Pen would haue exprest,

Euen such a beauty as you maister now.

So all their praises are but prophesies

Of this our time, all you prefiguring,

And for they look’d but with deuining eyes,

They had not still enough your worth to sing:

    For we which now behold these present dayes,

    Haue eyes to wonder, but lack toungs to praise.




NOT mine owne feares, nor the prophetick soule,

Of the wide world, dreaming on things to come,

Can yet the lease of my true loue controule,

Supposde as forfeit to a confin’d doome.

The mortall Moone hath her eclipse indur’de,

And the sad Augurs mock their owne presage,

Incertenties now crowne them-selues assur’de,

And peace proclaimes Oliues of endlesse age.

Now with the drops of this most balmie time,

My loue lookes fresh, and death to me subscribes;

Since spight of him Ile liue in this poore rime,

While he insults ore dull and speachlesse tribes.

    And thou in this shalt finde thy monument,

    When tyrants crests and tombs of brasse are spent.




WHAT’S in the braine that Inck may character,

Which hath not figur’d to thee my true spirit,

What’s new to speake, what now to register,

That may expresse my loue, or thy deare merit?

Nothing sweet boy, but yet like prayers diuine,

I must each day say ore the very same,

Counting no old thing old, thou mine, I thine,

Euen as when first I hallowed thy faire name.

So that eternall loue in loues fresh case,

Waighes not the dust and iniury of age,

Nor giues to necessary wrinckles place,

But makes antiquitie for aye his page,

    Finding the first conceit of loue there bred,

    Where time and outward forme would shew it dead.




O NEVER say that I was false of heart,

Though absence seem’d my flame to quallifie,

As easie might I from my selfe depart,

As from my soule which in thy brest doth lye:

That is my home of loue; if I haue rang’d,

Like him that trauels I returne againe,

Iust to the time, not with the time exchang’d,

So that my selfe bring water for my staine.

Neuer beleeue though in my nature raign’d,

All frailties that besiege all kindes of blood,

That it could so preposterouslie be stain’d,

To leaue for nothing all thy summe of good:

    For nothing this wide Vniuerse I call,

    Saue thou my Rose, in it thou art my all.




ALAS ’tis true, I haue gone here and there,

And made my selfe a motley to the view,

Gor’d mine own thoughts, sold cheap what is most deare,

Made old offences of affections new.

Most true it is, that I haue lookt on truth

Asconce and strangely: But by all aboue,

These blenches gaue my heart an other youth,

And worse essaies prou’d thee my best of loue.

Now all is done, haue what shall haue no end,

Mine appetite I neuer more will grinde

On newer proofe, to trie an older friend,

A God in loue, to whom I am confin’d.

    Then giue me welcome, next my heauen the best,

    Euen to thy pure and most most louing brest.




O FOR my sake doe you with fortune chide,

The guiltie goddesse of my harmfull deeds,

That did not better for my life prouide,

Then publick meanes which publick manners breeds.

Thence comes it that my name receiues a brand,

And almost thence my nature is subdu’d

To what it workes in, like the Dyers hand,

Pitty me then, and wish I were renu’de.

Whilst like a willing pacient I will drinke,

Potions of Eysell gainst my strong infection,

No bitternesse that I will bitter thinke,

Nor double pennance to correct correction.

    Pittie me then deare friend, and I assure yee,

    Euen that your pittie is enough to cure mee.




YOVR loue and pittie doth th’impression fill,

Which vulgar scandall stampt vpon my brow,

For what care I who calles me well or ill,

So you ore-greene my bad, my good alow?

You are my All the world, and I must striue,

To know my shames and praises from your tounge,

None else to me, nor I to none aliue,

That my steel’d sence or changes right or wrong.

In so profound Abisme I throw all care

Of others voyces, that my Adders sence,

To cryttick and to flatterer stopped are:

Marke how with my neglect I doe dispence.

    You are so strongly in my purpose bred,

    That all the world besides me thinkes y’are dead.




SINCE I left you, mine eye is in my minde,

And that which gouernes me to goe about,

Doth part his function, and is partly blind,

Seemes seeing, but effectually is out:

For it no forme deliuers to the heart

Of bird, of flowre, or shape which it doth latch,

Of his quick obiects hath the minde no part,

Nor his owne vision houlds what it doth catch:

For if it see the rud’st or gentlest sight,

The most sweet sauor or deformedst creature,

The mountaine, or the sea, the day, or night:

The Croe, or Doue, it shapes them to your feature.

    Incapable of more, repleat with you,

    My most true minde thus maketh mine vntrue.




OR whether doth my minde being crown’d with you

Drinke vp the monarks plague this flattery?

Or whether shall I say mine eie saith true,

And that your loue taught it this Alcumie?

To make of monsters, and things indigest,

Such cherubines as your sweet selfe resemble,

Creating euery bad a perfect best

As fast as obiects to his beames assemble:

Oh tis the first, tis flatry in my seeing,

And my great minde most kingly drinkes it vp,

Mine eie well knowes what with his gust is greeing,

And to his pallat doth prepare the cup.

    If it be poison’d, tis the lesser sinne,

    That mine eye loues it and doth first beginne.




THOSE lines that I before haue writ doe lie,

Euen those that said I could not loue you deerer,

Yet then my iudgement knew no reason why,

My most full flame should afterwards burne cleerer.

But reckening time, whose milliond accidents

Creepe in twixt vowes, and change decrees of Kings,

Tan sacred beautie, blunt the sharp’st intents,

Diuert strong mindes to th’ course of altring things:

Alas why fearing of times tiranie,

Might I not then say now I loue you best,

When I was certaine ore in-certainty,

Crowning the present, doubting of the rest:

    Loue is a Babe, then might I not say so

    To giue full growth to that which still doth grow.




LET me not to the marriage of true mindes

Admit impediments, loue is not loue

Which alters when it alteration findes,

Or bends with the remouer to remoue.

O no, it is an euer fixed marke

That lookes on tempests and is neuer shaken;

It is the star to euery wandring barke,

Whose worths vnknowne, although his higth be taken.

Lou’s not Times foole, though rosie lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickles compasse come,

Loue alters not with his breefe houres and weekes,

But beares it out euen to the edge of doome:

    If this be error and vpon me proued,

    I neuer writ, nor no man euer loued.




ACCVSE me thus, that I haue scanted all,

Wherein I should your great deserts repay,

Forgot vpon your dearest loue to call,

Whereto al bonds do tie me day by day,

That I haue frequent binne with vnknown mindes,

And giuen to time your owne deare purchas’d right,

That I haue hoysted saile to al the windes

Which should transport me farthest from your sight.

Booke both my wilfulnesse and errors downe,

And on iust proofe surmise accumilate,

Bring me within the leuel of your frowne,

But shoote not at me in your wakened hate:

    Since my appeale saies I did striue to prooue

    The constancy and virtue of your loue.




LIKE as to make our appetites more keene

With eager compounds we our pallat vrge,

As to preuent our malladies vnseene,

We sicken to shun sicknesse when we purge:

Euen so being full of your nere cloying sweetnesse,

To bitter sawces did I frame my feeding;

And sicke of wel-fare found a kind of meetnesse,

To be diseas’d ere that there was true needing.

Thus pollicie in loue t’anticipate

The ills that were not, grew to faults assured,

And brought to medicine a healthfull state

Which rancke of goodnesse would by ill be cured.

    But thence I learne and find the lesson true,

    Drugs poyson him that so fell sicke of you.




WHAT potions haue I drunke of Syren teares

Distil’d from Lymbecks foule as hell within,

Applying feares to hopes, and hopes to feares,

Still loosing when I saw my selfe to win?

What wretched errors hath my heart committed,

Whilst it hath thought it selfe so blessed neuer?

How haue mine eies out of their Spheares bene fitted

In the distraction of this madding feuer?

O benefit of ill, now I find true

That better is by euil still made better,

And ruin’d loue when it is built anew

Growes fairer then at first, more strong, far greater.

    So I returne rebukt to my content,

    And gaine by ills thrise more then I haue spent.




THAT you were once vnkind be-friends mee now,

And for that sorrow, which I then didde feele,

Needes must I vnder my transgression bow,

Vnlesse my Nerues were brasse or hammered steele.

For if you were by my vnkindnesse shaken

As I by yours, y’haue past a hell of Time,

And I a tyrant haue no leasure taken

To waigh how once I suffered in your crime.

O that our night of wo might haue remembred

My deepest sence, how hard true sorrow hits,

And soone to you, as you to me then tendred

The humble salue, which wounded bosomes fits!

    But that your trespasse now becomes a fee,

    Mine ransoms yours, and yours must ransome mee.




TIS better to be vile then vile esteemed,

When not to be, receiues reproach of being,

And the iust pleasure lost, which is so deemed,

Not by our feeling, but by others seeing.

For why should others false adulterat eyes

Giue salutation to my sportiue blood?

Or on my frailties why are frailer spies;

Which in their wils count bad what I think good?

Noe, I am that I am, and they that leuell

At my abuses, reckon vp their owne,

I may be straight though they them-selues be beuel,

By their rancke thoughtes, my deedes must not be shown:

    Vnlesse this generall euill they maintaine,

    All men are bad and in their badnesse raigne.




THY guift, thy tables, are within my braine

Full characterd with lasting memory,

Which shall aboue that idle rancke remaine

Beyond all date euen to eternity.

Or at the least, so long as braine and heart

Haue facultie by nature to subsist,

Til each to raz’d obliuion yeeld his part

Of thee, thy record neuer can be mist:

That poore retention could not so much hold,

Nor need I tallies thy deare loue to skore,

Therefore to giue them from me was I bold,

To trust those tables that receaue thee more,

    To keepe an adiunckt to remember thee,

    Were to import forgetfulnesse in mee.




NO! Time, thou shalt not bost that I doe change,

Thy pyramyds buylt vp with newer might

To me are nothing nouell, nothing strange;

They are but dressings of a former sight:

Our dates are breefe, and therefor we admire,

What thou dost foyst vpon vs that is ould,

And rather make them borne to our desire,

Then thinke that we before haue heard them tould:

Thy registers and thee I both defie,

Not wondring at the present, nor the past,

For thy records, and what we see doth lye,

Made more or les by thy continuall hast:

    This I doe vow and this shall euer be,

    I will be true dispight thy syeth and thee.




YF my deare loue were but the childe of state,

It might for fortunes basterd be vnfathered,

As subiect to times loue, or to times hate,

Weeds among weeds, or flowers with flowers gatherd.

No it was buylded far from accident,

It suffers not in smilinge pomp, nor falls

Vnder the blow of thralled discontent,

Whereto th’inuiting time our fashion calls:

It feares not policy that Heriticke,

Which workes on leases of short numbred howers,

But all alone stands hugely pollitick,

That it nor growes with heat, nor drownes with showres.

    To this I witnes call the foles of time,

    Which die for goodnes, who haue liu’d for crime.




WER’T ought to me I bore the canopy,

With my extern the outward honoring,

Or layd great bases for eternity,

Which proues more short then wast or ruining?

Haue I not seene dwellers on forme and fauor

Lose all, and more, by paying too much rent

For compound sweet; Forgoing simple sauor,

Pittiful thriuors in their gazing spent.

Noe, let me be obsequious in thy heart,

And take thou my oblacion, poore but free,

Which is not mixt with seconds, knows no art,

But mutuall render, onely me for thee.

    Hence, thou subbornd Informer, a trew soule

    When most impeacht, stands least in thy controule.




OTHOV my louely Boy who in thy power,

Doest hould times fickle glasse, his sickle, hower:

Who hast by wayning growne, and therein shou’st,

Thy louers withering, as thy sweet selfe grow’st.

If Nature (soueraine misteres ouer wrack)

As thou goest onwards still will plucke thee backe,

She keepes thee to this purpose, that her skill,

May time, disgrace, and wretched mynuits kill.

Yet feare her O thou minnion of her pleasure,

She may detaine, but not still keepe her tresure!

Her Audite (though delayd) answer’d must be,

And her Quietus is to render thee.




IN the ould age blacke was not counted faire,

Or if it weare it bore not beauties name:

But now is blacke beauties successiue heire,

And Beautie slanderd with a bastard shame:

For since each hand hath put on Natures power,

Fairing the foule with Arts faulse borrow’d face,

Sweet beauty hath no name no holy boure,

But is prophan’d, if not liues in disgrace.

Therefore my Mistresse eyes are Rauen blacke,

Her eyes so suted, and they mourners seeme,

At such who not borne faire no beauty lack,

Slandring Creation with a false esteeme,

    Yet so they mourne becomming of their woe,

    That euery toung saies beauty should looke so.




HOW oft when thou my musike musike playst,

Vpon that blessed wood whose motion sounds

With thy sweet fingers when thou gently swayst,

The wiry concord that mine eare confounds,

Do I enuie those Iackes that nimble leape,

To kisse the tender inward of thy hand,

Whilst my poore lips which should that haruest reape,

At the woods bouldnes by thee blushing stand.

To be so tikled they would change their state,

And situation with those dancing chips,

Ore whome thy fingers walke with gentle gate,

Making dead wood more blest then liuing lips.

    Since sausie Iackes so happy are in this,

    Giue them thy fingers, me thy lips to kisse.




TH’ expence of Spirit in a waste of shame

Is lust in action, and till action, lust

Is periurd, murdrous, blouddy, full of blame,

Sauage, extreame, rude, cruell, not to trust,

Inioyd no sooner but dispised straight,

Past reason hunted, and no sooner had

Past reason hated as a swollowed bayt,

On purpose layd to make the taker mad.

Madde in pursut and in possession so,

Had, hauing, and in quest to haue, extreame,

A blisse in proofe and proud a very wo,

Before a ioy proposd behind a dreame.

    All this the world well knowes yet none knowes well,

    To shun the heauen that leads men to this hell.




MY Mistres eyes are nothing like the Sunne,

Currall is farre more red, then her lips red,

If snow be white, why then her brests are dun:

If haires be wiers, black wiers grow on her head:

I haue seene Roses damaskt, red and white,

But no such Roses see I in her cheekes,

And in some perfumes is there more delight,

Then in the breath that from my Mistres reekes.

I loue to heare her speake, yet well I know,

That Musicke hath a farre more pleasing sound:

I graunt I neuer saw a goddesse goe,

My Mistres when shee walkes treads on the ground.

    And yet by heauen I thinke my loue as rare,

    As any she beli’d with false compare.




THOV art as tiranous, so as thou art,

As those whose beauties proudly make them cruell;

For well thou know’st to my deare doting hart

Thou art the fairest and most precious Iewell.

Yet in good faith some say that thee behold,

Thy face hath not the power to make loue grone;

To say they erre, I dare not be so bold,

Although I sweare it to my selfe alone.

And to be sure that is not false I sweare

A thousand grones but thinking on thy face,

One on anothers necke do witnesse beare

Thy blacke is fairest in my iudgements place.

    In nothing art thou blacke saue in thy deeds,

    And thence this slaunder as I thinke proceeds.




THINE eies I loue, and they as pittying me,

Knowing thy heart torments me with disdaine,

Haue put on black, and louing mourners bee,

Looking with pretty ruth vpon my paine.

And truly not the morning Sun of Heauen

Better becomes the gray cheeks of the East,

Nor that full Starre that vshers in the Eauen

Doth halfe that glory to the sober West

As those two morning eyes become thy face:

O let it then as well beseeme thy heart

To mourne for me since mourning doth thee grace,

And sute thy pitty like in euery part.

    Then will I sweare beauty her selfe is blacke,

    And all they foule that thy complexion lacke.




BESHREW that heart that makes my heart to groane

For that deepe wound it giues my friend and me;

I’st not ynough to torture me alone,

But slaue to slauery my sweet’st friend must be.

Me from my selfe thy cruell eye hath taken,

And my next selfe thou harder hast ingrossed,

Of him, my selfe, and thee I am forsaken,

A torment thrice three-fold thus to be crossed:

Prison my heart in thy steele bosomes warde,

But then my friends heart let my poore heart bale,

Who ere keepes me, let my heart be his garde,

Thou canst not then vse rigor in my Iaile.

    And yet thou wilt, for I being pent in thee,

    Perforce am thine and all that is in me.




SO now I haue confest that he is thine,

And I my selfe am morgag’d to thy will,

My selfe Ile forfeit, so that other mine,

Thou wilt restore to be my comfort still:

But thou wilt not, nor he will not be free,

For thou art couetous, and he is kinde,

He learnd but suretie-like to write for me,

Vnder that bond that him as fast doth binde.

The statute of thy beauty thou wilt take,

Thou vsurer that put’st forth all to vse,

And sue a friend, came debter for my sake,

So him I loose through my vnkinde abuse.

    Him haue I lost, thou hast both him and me,

    He paies the whole, and yet am I not free.




WHO euer hath her wish, thou hast thy Will,

And Will too boote, and Will in ouer-plus,

More then enough am I that vexe thee still,

To thy sweet will making addition thus.

Wilt thou whose will is large and spatious,

Not once vouchsafe to hide my will in thine,

Shall will in others seeme right gracious,

And in my will no faire acceptance shine:

The sea all water, yet receiues raine still,

And in aboundance addeth to his store,

So thou beeing rich in Will adde to thy Will,

One will of mine to make thy large Will more.

    Let no vnkinde, no faire beseechers kill,

    Thinke all but one, and me in that one Will.




IF thy soule check thee that I come so neere,

Sweare to thy blind soule that I was thy Will,

And will thy soule knowes is admitted there,

Thus farre for loue, my loue-sute sweet fullfill.

Will, will fulfill the treasure of thy loue,

I fill it full with wils, and my will one,

In things of great receit with ease we prooue,

Among a number one is reckon’d none.

Then in the number let me passe vntold,

Though in thy stores account I one must be,

For nothing hold me, so it please thee hold,

That nothing me, a some-thing sweet to thee.

    Make but my name thy loue, and loue that still,

    And then thou louest me for my name is Will.




THOV blinde foole loue, what doost thou to mine eyes,

That they behold and see not what they see:

They know what beautie is, see where it lyes,

Yet what the best is, take the worst to be.

If eyes corrupt by ouer-partiall lookes,

Be anchord in the baye where all men ride,

Why of eyes falsehood hast thou forged hookes,

Whereto the iudgement of my heart is tide?

Why should my heart thinke that a seuerall plot,

Which my heart knowes the wide worlds common place?

Or mine eyes seeing this, say this is not,

To put faire truth vpon so foule a face?

    In things right true my heart and eyes haue erred,

    And to this false plague are they now transferred.




WHEN my loue sweares that she is made of truth,

I do beleeue her though I know she lyes,

That she might thinke me some vntuterd youth,

Vnlearned in the worlds false subtilties.

Thus vainely thinking that she thinkes me young,

Although she knowes my dayes are past the best,

Simply I credit her false speaking tongue,

On both sides thus is simple truth supprest:

But wherefore sayes she not she is vniust?

And wherefore say not I that I am old?

O loues best habit is in seeming trust,

And age in loue, loues not to haue yeares told.

    Therefore I lye with her, and she with me,

    And in our faults by lyes we flattered be.




O CALL not me to iustifie the wrong,

That thy vnkindnesse layes vpon my heart,

Wound me not with thine eye but with thy toung,

Vse power with power, and slay me not by Art,

Tell me thou lou’st else-where; but in my sight,

Deare heart forbeare to glance thine eye aside,

What needst thou wound with cunning when thy might

Is more then my ore-prest defence can bide?

Let me excuse thee; ah my loue well knowes,

Her prettie lookes haue beene mine enemies,

And therefore from my face she turnes my foes,

That they else-where might dart their iniuries:

    Yet do not so, but since I am neere slaine,

    Kill me out-right with lookes, and rid my paine.




BE wise as thou art cruell, do not presse

My toung-tide patience with too much disdaine:

Least sorrow lend me words and words expresse,

The manner of my pittie-wanting paine.

If I might teach thee witte better it weare,

Though not to loue, yet loue to tell me so,

As testie sick-men when their deaths be neere,

No newes but health from their Phisitions know.

For if I should dispaire I should grow madde,

And in my madnesse might speake ill of thee,

Now this ill wresting world is growne so bad,

Madde slanderers by madde eares beleeued be.

    That I may not be so, nor thou belyde,

    Beare thine eyes straight, though thy proud heart goe wide.




IN faith I doe not loue thee with mine eyes,

For they in thee a thousand errors note,

But ’tis my heart that loues what they dispise,

Who in dispight of view is pleasd to dote.

Nor are mine eares with thy toungs tune delighted,

Nor tender feeling to base touches prone,

Nor taste, nor smell, desire to be inuited

To any sensuall feast with thee alone:

But my fiue wits, nor my fiue sences can

Diswade one foolish heart from seruing thee,

Who leaues vnswai’d the likenesse of a man,

Thy proud hearts slaue and vassall wretch to be:

    Onely my plague thus farre I count my gaine,

    That she that makes me sinne, awards me paine.




LOVE is my sinne, and thy deare vertue hate,

Hate of my sinne, grounded on sinfull louing,

O but with mine, compare thou thine owne state,

And thou shalt finde it merrits not reproouing,

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

That haue prophan’d their scarlet ornaments,

And seald false bonds of loue as oft as mine,

Robd others beds reuenues of their rents.

Be it lawfull I loue thee as thou lou’st those,

Whome thine eyes wooe as mine importune thee,

Roote pittie in thy heart that when it growes,

Thy pitty may deserue to pittied bee.

    If thou doost seeke to haue what thou doost hide,

    By selfe example mai’st thou be denide.




LOE as a carefull huswife runnes to catch,

One of her fethered creatures broake away,

Sets downe her babe and makes all swift dispatch

In pursuit of the thing she would haue stay:

Whilst her neglected child holds her in chace,

Cries to catch her whose busie care is bent,

To follow that which flies before her face:

Not prizing her poore infants discontent;

So runst thou after that which flies from thee,

Whilst I thy babe chace thee a farre behind,

But if thou catch thy hope turne back to me:

And play the mothers part, kisse me, be kind.

    So will I pray that thou maist haue thy Will,

    If thou turne back and my loude crying still.




TWO loues I haue of comfort and dispaire,

Which like two spirits do sugiest me still:

The better angell is a man right faire,

The worser spirit a woman collour’d il.

To win me soone to hell my femall euill,

Tempteth my better angel from my side,

And would corrupt my saint to be a diuel:

Wooing his purity with her fowle pride.

And whether that my angel be turn’d finde,

Suspect I may, yet not directly tell,

But being both from me both to each friend,

I gesse one angel in an others hel.

    Yet this shal I nere know but liue in doubt,

    Till my bad angel fire my good one out.




THOSE lips that Loues owne hand did make,

Breath’d forth the sound that said I hate,

To me that languisht for her sake:

But when she saw my wofull state,

Straight in her heart did mercie come,

Chiding that tongue that euer sweet,

Was vsde in giuing gentle dome:

And tought it thus a new to greete:

I hate she alterd with an end,

That follow’d it as gentle day,

Doth follow night who like a fiend

From heauen to hell is flowne away.

    I hate, from hate away she threw,

    And sau’d my life saying not you.




POORE soule the center of my sinfull earth,

My sinfull earth these rebbell powres that thee array,

Why dost thou pine within and suffer dearth

Painting thy outward walls so costlie gay?

Why so large cost hauing so short a lease,

Dost thou vpon thy fading mansion spend?

Shall wormes inheritors of this excesse

Eate vp thy charge? is this thy bodies end?

Then soule liue thou vpon thy seruants losse,

And let that pine to aggrauat thy store;

Buy tearmes diuine in selling houres of drosse:

Within be fed, without be rich no more,

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

    And death once dead, ther’s no more dying then.




MY loue is as a feauer longing still,

For that which longer nurseth the disease,

Feeding on that which doth preserue the ill,

Th’vncertaine sicklie appetite to please:

My reason the Phisition to my loue,

Angry that his prescriptions are not kept

Hath left me, and I desperate now approoue,

Desire is death, which Phisick did except.

Past cure I am, now Reason is past care,

And frantick madde with euer-more vnrest,

My thoughts and my discourse as mad mens are,

At randon from the truth vainely exprest.

    For I haue sworne thee faire, and thought thee bright,

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




O ME! what eyes hath loue put in my head,

Which haue no correspondence with true sight,

Or if they haue, where is my iudgment fled,

That censures falsely what they see aright?

If that be faire whereon my false eyes dote,

What meanes the world to say it is not so?

If it be not, then loue doth well denote,

Loues eye is not so true as all mens: no,

How can it? O how can loues eye be true,

That is so vext with watching and with teares?

No maruaile then though I mistake my view,

The sunne it selfe sees not, till heauen cleeres.

    O cunning loue, with teares thou keepst me blinde,

    Least eyes well seeing thy foule faults should finde.




CANST thou O cruell, say I loue thee not,

When I against my selfe with thee pertake:

Doe I not thinke on thee when I forgot

Am of my selfe, all tirant for thy sake?

Who hateth thee that I doe call my friend,

On whom froun’st thou that I doe faune vpon,

Nay if thou lowrst on me doe I not spend

Reuenge vpon my selfe with present mone?

What merrit do I in my selfe respect,

That is so proude thy seruice to dispise,

When all my best doth worship thy defect,

Commanded by the motion of thine eyes?

    But loue hate on for now I know thy minde,

    Those that can see thou lou’st, and I am blind.




OH from what powre hast thou this powrefull might,

With insufficiency my heart to sway,

To make me giue the lie to my true sight,

And swere that brightnesse doth not grace the day?

Whence hast thou this becomming of things il,

That in the very refuse of thy deeds,

There is such strength and warrantise of skill,

That in my minde thy worst all best exceeds?

Who taught thee how to make me loue thee more,

The more I heare and see iust cause of hate?

Oh though I loue what others doe abhor,

With others thou shouldst not abhor my state.

    If thy vnworthinesse raisd loue in me,

    More worthy I to be belou’d of thee.




LOVE is too young to know what conscience is,

Yet who knowes not conscience is borne of loue?

Then gentle cheater vrge not my amisse,

Least guilty of my faults thy sweet selfe proue.

For thou betraying me, I doe betray

My nobler part to my grose bodies treason,

My soule doth tell my body that he may,

Triumph in loue, flesh staies no farther reason,

But rysing at thy name doth point out thee,

As his triumphant prize, proud of this pride,

He is contented thy poore drudge to be

To stand in thy affaires, fall by thy side.

    No want of conscience hold it that I call,

    Her loue, for whose deare loue I rise and fall.




IN louing thee thou know’st I am forsworne,

But thou art twice forsworne to me loue swearing,

In act thy bed-vow broake and new faith torne,

In vowing new hate after new loue bearing:

But why of two othes breach doe I accuse thee,

When I breake twenty: I am periur’d most,

For all my vowes are othes but to misuse thee:

And all my honest faith in thee is lost.

For I haue sworne deepe othes of thy deepe kindnesse:

Othes of thy loue, thy truth, thy constancie,

And to inlighten thee gaue eyes to blindnesse,

Or made them swere against the thing they see.

    For I haue sworne thee faire: more periurde eye,

    To swere against the truth so foule a lie.




CVPID laid by his brand and fell a sleepe,

A maide of Dyans this aduantage found,

And his loue-kindling fire did quickly steepe

In a could vallie-fountaine of that ground:

Which borrowd from this holie fire of loue,

A datelesse liuely heat still to indure,

And grew a seething bath which yet men proue,

Against strang malladies a soueraigne cure:

But at my mistres eie loues brand new fired,

The boy for triall needes would touch my brest,

I sick withall the helpe of bath desired,

And thether hied a sad distemperd guest.

    But found no cure, the bath for my helpe lies,

    Where Cupid got new fire; my mistres eyes.




THE little Loue-God lying once a sleepe,

Laid by his side his heart inflaming brand,

Whilst many Nymphes that vou’d chast life to keep,

Came tripping by; but in her maiden hand,

The fayrest votary tooke vp that fire,

Which many Legions of true hearts had warm’d,

And so the Generall of hot desire,

Was sleeping by a Virgin hand disarm’d.

This brand she quenched in a coole Well by,

Which from loues fire tooke heat perpetuall,

Growing a bath and healthfull remedy,

For men diseasd; but I my Mistrisse thrall,

    Came there for cure and this by that I proue,

    Loues fire heates water, water cooles not loue.





BY William Shakespeare

FROM off a hill whose concaue wombe reworded,

A plaintfull story from a sistring vale

My spirrits t’attend this doble voyce accorded,

And downe I laid to list the sad tun’d tale,

Ere long espied a fickle maid full pale

Tearing of papers breaking rings a twaine,

Storming her world with sorrowes, wind and raine.

Vpon her head a plattid hiue of straw,

Which fortified her visage from the Sunne,

Whereon the thought might thinke sometime it saw

The carkas of a beauty spent and donne,

Time had not sithed all that youth begun,

Nor youth all quit, but spight of heauens fell rage,

Some beauty peept, through lettice of sear’d age.

Oft did she heaue her Napkin to her eyne,

Which on it had conceited characters:

Laundring the silken figures in the brine,

That seasoned woe had pelleted in teares,

And often reading what contents it beares:

As often shriking vndistinguisht wo,

In clamours of all size both high and low.

Some-times her leueld eyes their carriage ride,

As they did battry to the spheres intend:

Sometime diuerted their poore balls are tide,

To th’orbed earth; sometimes they do extend,

Their view right on, anon their gases lend,

To euery place at once and no where fixt,

The mind and sight distractedly commixt.

Her haire nor loose nor ti’d in formall plat,

Proclaimd in her a carelesse hand of pride;

For some vntuck’d descended her sheu’d hat,

Hanging her pale and pined cheeke beside,

Some in her threeden fillet still did bide,

And trew to bondage would not breake from thence,

Though slackly braided in loose negligence.

A thousand fauours from a maund she drew,

Of amber christall and of bedded Iet,

Which one by one she in a riuer threw,

Vpon whose weeping margent she was set,

Like vsery applying wet to wet,

Or Monarches hands that lets not bounty fall,

Where want cries some; but where excesse begs all.

Of folded schedulls had she many a one,

Which she perus’d, sighd, tore and gaue the flud,

Crackt many a ring of Posied gold and bone,

Bidding them find their Sepulchers in mud,

Found yet mo letters sadly pend in blood,

With sleided silke, feate and affectedly

Enswath’d and seald to curious secrecy.

These often bath’d she in her fluxiue eies,

And often kist, and often gaue to teare,

Cried O false blood thou register of lies,

What vnapproued witnes doost thou beare!

Inke would haue seem’d more blacke and damned heare!

This said in top of rage the lines she rents,

Big discontent, so breaking their contents.

A reuerend man that graz’d his catell ny,

Sometime a blusterer that the ruffle knew

Of Court of Cittie, and had let go by

The swiftest houres obserued as they flew,

Towards this afflicted fancy fastly drew:

And priuiledg’d by age desires to know

In breefe the grounds and motiues of her wo.

So slides he downe vppon his greyned bat;

And comely distant sits he by her side,

When hee againe desires her, being satte,

Her greeuance with his hearing to deuide:

If that from him there may be ought applied

Which may her suffering extasie asswage

Tis promist in the charitie of age.

Father she saies, though in mee you behold

The iniury of many a blasting houre;

Let it not tell your Iudgement I am old,

Not age, but sorrow, ouer me hath power;

I might as yet haue bene a spreading flower

Fresh to my selfe, if I had selfe applyed

Loue to my selfe, and to no Loue beside.

But wo is mee, too early I attended

A youthfull suit, it was to gaine my grace;

O one by natures outwards so commended,

That maidens eyes stucke ouer all his face,

Loue lackt a dwelling and made him her place.

And when in his faire parts shee didde abide,

Shee was new lodg’d and newly Deified.

His browny locks did hang in crooked curles,

And euery light occasion of the wind

Vpon his lippes their silken parcels hurles,

Whats sweet to do, to do wil aptly find,

Each eye that saw him did inchaunt the minde:

For on his visage was in little drawne,

What largenesse thinkes in parradise was sawne.

Smal shew of man was yet vpon his chinne,

His phenix downe began but to appeare

Like vnshorne veluet, on that termlesse skin

Whose bare out-brag’d the web it seem’d to were.

Yet shewed his visage by that cost more deare,

And nice affections wauering stood in doubt

If best were as it was, or best without.

His qualities were beautious as his forme,

For maiden tongu’d he was and thereof free;

Yet if men mou’d him, was he such a storme

As oft twixt May and Aprill is to see,

When windes breath sweet, vnruly though they bee.

His rudenesse so with his authoriz’d youth,

Did liuery falsenesse in a pride of truth.

Wel could hee ride, and often men would say

That horse his mettell from his rider takes

Proud of subiection, noble by the swaie,

What rounds, what bounds, what course, what stop he makes!

And controuersie hence a question takes,

Whether the horse by him became his deed,

Or he his mannadg, by th’ wel doing Steed.

But quickly on this side the verdict went,

His reall habitude gaue life and grace

To appertainings and to ornament,

Accomplisht in him-selfe not in his case:

All ayds them-selues made fairer by their place,

Can for addicions, yet their purpos’d trimme

Peec’d not his grace but were al grac’d by him.

So on the tip of his subduing tongue

All kinde of arguments and question deepe,

Al replication prompt, and reason strong

For his aduantage still did wake and sleep,

To make the weeper laugh, the laugher weepe:

He had the dialect and different skil,

Catching al passions in his craft of will.

That hee didde in the general bosome raigne

Of young, of old, and sexes both inchanted,

To dwel with him in thoughts, or to remaine

In personal duty, following where he haunted,

Consent’s bewitcht, ere he desire haue granted,

And dialogu’d for him what he would say,

Askt their own wils and made their wils obey.

Many there were that did his picture gette

To serue their eies, and in it put their mind,

Like fooles that in th’ imagination set

The goodly obiects which abroad they find

Of lands and mansions, theirs in thought assign’d,

And labouring in moe pleasures to bestow them,

Then the true gouty Land-lord which doth owe them.

So many haue that neuer toucht his hand

Sweetly suppos’d them mistresse of his heart:

My wofull selfe that did in freedome stand,

And was my owne fee simple (not in part)

What with his art in youth and youth in art

Threw my affections in his charmed power,

Reseru’d the stalke and gaue him al my flower.

Yet did I not as some my equals did

Demaund of him, nor being desired yeelded,

Finding my selfe in honour so forbidde,

With safest distance I mine honour sheelded,

Experience for me many bulwarkes builded

Of proofs new bleeding which remaind the foile

Of this false Iewell, and his amorous spoile.

But ah who euer shun’d by precedent,

The destin’d ill she must her selfe assay,

Or forc’d examples gainst her owne content

To put the by-past perrils in her way?

Counsaile may stop a while what will not stay:

For when we rage, aduise is often seene

By blunting vs to make our wits more keene.

Nor giues it satisfaction to our blood,

That wee must curbe it vppon others proofe,

To be forbod the sweets that seemes so good,

For feare of harmes that preach in our behoofe;

O appetite from iudgement stand aloofe!

The one a pallate hath that needs will taste,

Though reason weepe and cry it is thy last.

For further I could say this mans vntrue,

And knew the patternes of his foule beguiling,

Heard where his plants in others Orchards grew,

Saw how deceits were guilded in his smiling,

Knew vowes were euer brokers to defiling,

Thought Characters and words meerly but art,

And bastards of his foule adulterat heart.

And long vpon these termes I held my Citty,

Till thus hee gan besiege me: Gentle maid

Haue of my suffering youth some feeling pitty

And be not of my holy vowes affraid,

Thats to ye sworne to none was euer said,

For feasts of loue I haue bene call’d vnto

Till now did nere inuite nor neuer vow.

All my offences that abroad you see

Are errors of the blood none of the mind:

Loue made them not, with acture they may be,

Where neither Party is nor trew nor kind,

They sought their shame that so their shame did find,

And so much lesse of shame in me remaines,

By how much of me their reproch containes.

Among the many that mine eyes haue seene,

Not one whose flame my hart so much as warmed,

Or my affection put to th’ smallest teene,

Or any of my leisures euer Charmed,

Harme haue I done to them but nere was harmed,

Kept hearts in liueries, but mine owne was free,

And raignd commaunding in his monarchy.

Looke heare what tributes wounded fancies sent me,

Of palyd pearles and rubies red as blood:

Figuring that they their passions likewise lent me

Of greefe and blushes, aptly vnderstood

In bloodlesse white, and the encrimson’d mood,

Effects of terror and deare modesty,

Encampt in hearts but fighting outwardly.

And Lo behold these tallents of their heir,

With twisted mettle amorously empleacht

I haue receau’d from many a seueral faire,

Their kind acceptance, wepingly beseecht,

With th’ annexions of faire gems inricht,

And deepe brain’d sonnets that did amplifie

Each stones deare Nature, worth and quallity.

The Diamond? why twas beautifull and hard,

Whereto his inuis’d properties did tend,

The deepe greene Emrald in whose fresh regard,

Weake sights their sickly radience do amend.

The heauen hewd Saphir and the Opall blend

With obiects manyfold; each seuerall stone,

With wit well blazond smil’d or made some mone.

Lo all these trophies of affections hot,

Of pensiu’d and subdew’d desires the tender,

Nature hath chargd me that I hoord them not,

But yeeld them vp where I my selfe must render:

That is to you my origin and ender:

For these of force must your oblations be,

Since I their Aulter, you enpatrone me.

Oh then aduance (of yours) that phraseles hand,

Whose white weighes downe the airy scale of praise,

Take all these similies to your owne command,

Hollowed with sighes that burning lunges did raise:

What me your minister for you obaies

Workes vnder you, and to your audit comes

Their distract parcells, in combined summes.

Lo this deuice was sent me from a Nun,

Or Sister sanctified of holiest note,

Which late her noble suit in court did shun,

Whose rarest hauings made the blossoms dote,

For she was sought by spirits of ritchest cote,

But kept cold distance, and did thence remoue,

To spend her liuing in eternall loue.

But oh my sweet what labour ist to leaue,

The thing we haue not, mastring what not striues,

Playing the Place which did no forme receiue,

Playing patient sports in vnconstraind giues,

She that her fame so to her selfe contriues,

The scarres of battaile scapeth by the flight,

And makes her absence valiant, not her might.

Oh pardon me in that my boast is true,

The accident which brought me to her eie,

Vpon the moment did her force subdewe,

And now she would the caged cloister flie:

Religious loue put out religions eye:

Not to be tempted would she be emur’d,

And now to tempt all liberty procur’d.

How mightie then you are, Oh heare me tell,

The broken bosoms that to me belong,

Haue emptied all their fountaines in my well:

And mine I powre your Ocean all amonge:

I strong ore them and you ore me being strong,

Must for your victorie vs all congest,

As compound loue to phisick your cold brest.

My parts had powre to charme a sacred Sunne,

Who disciplin’d I dieted in grace,

Beleeu’d her eies, when they t’ assaile begun,

All vowes and consecrations giuing place:

O most potentiall loue, vowe, bond, nor space

In thee hath neither sting, knot, nor confine

For thou art all and all things els are thine.

When thou impressest what are precepts worth

Of stale example? when thou wilt inflame,

How coldly those impediments stand forth

Of wealth of filliall feare, lawe, kindred fame,

Loues armes are peace, gainst rule, gainst fence, gainst shame

And sweetens in the suffring pangues it beares,

The Alloes of all forces, shockes and feares.

Now all these hearts that doe on mine depend,

Feeling it breake, with bleeding groanes they pine,

And supplicant their sighes to you extend

To leaue the battrie that you make gainst mine,

Lending soft audience, to my sweet designe,

And credent soule, to that strong bonded oth,

That shall preferre and vndertake my troth.

This said, his watrie eies he did dismount,

Whose sightes till then were leaueld on my face,

Each cheeke a riuer running from a fount,

With brynish currant downe-ward flowed a pace:

Oh how the channell to the streame gaue grace!

Who glaz’d with Christall gate the glowing Roses,

That flame through water which their hew incloses.

Oh father, what a hell of witch-craft lies,

In the small orb of one perticular teare?

But with the invndation of the eies,

What rocky heart to water will not weare?

What brest so cold that is not warmed heare,

O cleft effect, cold modesty hot wrath:

Both fire from hence, and chill extincture hath.

For loe his passion but an art of craft,

Euen there resolu’d my reason into teares,

There my white stole of chastity I daft,

Shooke off my sober gardes, and ciuill feares,

Appeare to him as he to me appeares:

All melting, though our drops this diffrence bore,

His poison’d me, and mine did him restore

In him a plenitude of subtle matter,

Applied to Cautills, all straing formes receiues,

Of burning blushes, or of weeping water,

Or sounding palenesse: and he takes and leaues,

In eithers aptnesse as it best deceiues:

To blush at speeches ranck, to weepe at woes

Or to turne white and sound at tragick showes.

That not a heart which in his leuell came,

Could scape the haile of his all hurting ayme,

Shewing faire Nature is both kinde and tame:

And vaild in them did winne whom he would maime,

Against the thing he sought, he would exclaime,

When he most burnt in hart-wisht luxurie,

He preacht pure maide, and praisd cold chastitie.

Thus meerely with the garment of a grace,

The naked and concealed feind he couerd,

That th’vnexperient gaue the tempter place,

Which like a Cherubin aboue them houerd,

Who young and simple would not be so louerd.

Aye me I fell, and yet do question make,

What I should doe againe for such a sake.

O that infected moysture of his eye,

O that false fire which in his cheeke so glowd:

O that forc’d thunder from his heart did flye,

O that sad breath his spungie lungs bestowed,

O all that borrowed motion seeming owed,

Would yet againe betray the fore-betrayed,

And new peruert a reconciled Maide.





Shakespeares Sonnets

 [ ] 2 l. 11 excuse:] excuse Q

 [ ] l. 14 could.] could, Q

 [ ] 3 l. 8 loue,] loue Q

 [ ] 5 l. 7 gon,] gon. Q (us vid.)

 [ ] l. 8 where.] where, Q (us vid.)

 [ ] 6 l. 4 beauties] beautits Q

 [ ] 7 l. 5 steepe-vp] steepe vp Q

 [ ] l. 13 noon,] noon: Q

 [ ] 8 l. 6 married,] married Q

 [ ] 9 l. 10 it,] it Q

 [ ] 10 l. 1 For shame] It is usual to put a point after shame, but is is not certain that this is not to corrupt the sense.

 [ ] l. 2 vnprouident,] vnprouident Q

 [ ] 11 l. 12 cherrish.] cherrish, Q

 [ ] 12 l. 4 all] or Q

 [ ] 13 l. 7 Your selfe] You selfe Q

 [ ] 14 l. 4 quallity;] quallity, Q

 [ ] l. 5 tell,] tell; Q

 [ ] 15 l. 2 moment:] moment. Q

 [ ] 16 l. 14 skill.] skill, Q

 [ ] 17 l. 14 twise,] twise Q

 [ ] it] it, Q

 [ ] 18 l. 14 thee.] thee, Q

 [ ] 19 l. 5 fleet’st] fleets conj. Dyce

 [ ] l. 13 Time,] Time Q

 [ ] 20 l. 5 rowling,] rowling: Q

 [ ] l. 6 gazeth:] gazeth, Q

 [ ] 21 l. 6 gems,] gems: Q

 [ ] l. 8 hems.] hems, Q

 [ ] 23 l. 9 books] looks conj. Sewell

 [ ] l. 14 with . . . wit] wit . . . wiht Q

 [ ] 24 l. 1 steeld] usually corrected to stelled. Cf. Lucrece 1444, Venus and Adonis 376, and Mr. Wyndham’s notes.

 [ ] l. 3 ’tis] ti’s Q (The practice is not consistent; cf. 62 l. 13, T’is; 97 l. 13, 114 ll. 9, 13, 121 l. 1, tis; 85 l. 9, ’tis.)

 [ ] l. 12 thee.] thee Q

 [ ] l. 13 art,] art Q

 [ ] 25 ll. 9, 11 worth . . . quite Q: Theobald proposed to read fight . . . quite or worth . . . forth The former emendation has been universally accepted; but neither can be regarded as certain.

 [ ] 26 l. 12 thy] their Q

 [ ] l. 14 me.] me Q

 [ ] 27 l. 10 thy] their Q

 [ ] 28 l. 12 guild’st the eauen] guil’st th’ eauen Q (guildest th’ eauen seems less likely).

 [ ] l. 14 length] strength Capell MS. stronger.] stronger Q

 [ ] 29 l. 4 fate,] fate. Q
ll. 11, 12 Most editors remove the parensheses and punctuate after earth; but the text is defensible. Brackets are often used in Q to guard against a grammatical ambiguity (cf. 30 l. 5).

 [ ] 31 l. 8 there Q: usually corrected to thee

 [ ] 32 l. 2 couer:] couer Q

 [ ] l. 3 re-suruay] re-suruay: Q

 [ ] 33 l. 3 greene,] greene Q

 [ ] l. 14 staineth] stainteh Q

 [ ] 34 l. 12 crosse. Capell MS.: losse. Q

 [ ] 35 l. 11 commence:] commence, Q

 [ ] l. 14 me.] me, Q

 [ ] 36 l. 8 delight.] delight, Q

 [ ] 37 l. 7 their] thy Capell MS., and so most editors. The authority of Q on this particular point is extremely slight; but Mr. Wyndham shows that their may be right here; see his note.

 [ ] 39 l. 3 bring?] bring; Q (us vid.)

 [ ] l. 4 thee?] thee, Q

 [ ] l. 7 giue] giue: Q

 [ ] l. 12 dost] doth conj. Malone

 [ ] 40 l. 7 this] thy edd.

 [ ] l. 14 spights,] spights Q

 [ ] 41 l. 8 he] she conj. Malone

 [ ] preuailed?] preuailed. Q

 [ ] l. 9 mighst] cf. 96 l. 11 mighst, 100 l. 14 preuenst.

 [ ] 42 l. 8 her.] her, Q

 [ ] 43 l. 11 thy] their Q

 [ ] 44 l. 4 stay.] stay, Q

 [ ] l. 12 attend] attend, Q

 [ ] l. 13 naught] naughts Q

 [ ] 45 l. 12 thy] their Q

 [ ] 46 l. 3 thy] their Q

 [ ] l. 4 freedome] freeedome Q

 [ ] l. 8 thy] their Q

 [ ] l. 13 thy] their Q

 [ ] l. 14 thy] their Q

 [ ] 47 l. 10 are] perhaps a printer’s error for art

 [ ] l. 11 nor] usually corrected to not or no; the change is gratuitous.

 [ ] 49 l. 12 part.] part, Q

 [ ] 51 l. 3 should] shoulld Q

 [ ] l. 6 slow?] slow, Q

 [ ] l. 10 perfect] perfects Q: perfect’st is also possible.

 [ ] 54 l. 14 by] my Capell MS., followed by modern editors; but there seems no reason why distils should not be used intransitively.

 [ ] 55 l. 1 monuments,] monument, Q

 [ ] 55 l. 7 burne] burne: Q

 [ ] l. 9 all-obliuious] all obliuious Q

 [ ] enmity] emnity Q

 [ ] 56 l. 11 see] see: Q

 [ ] l. 13 As] Or conj. Malone: Else conj. Palgrave; the text is probably corrupt, but can be made to yield a meaning.

 [ ] 57 l. 11 Saue,] Saue Q

 [ ] 58 l. 7 tame] tame, Q

 [ ] 59 l. 11 where] scil. whether

 [ ] 60 l. 5 light,] light. Q

 [ ] 62 l. 11 read,] read Q

 [ ] l. 12 louing,] louing Q

 [ ] iniquity.] iniquity Q

 [ ] l. 13 ’Tis] T’is Q (cf. on 24 l. 3)

 [ ] 65 l. 12 of conj. Malone: or Q (it is just possible that or = ore = o’er)

 [ ] 66 l. 11 simple Truth] simple-Truth Q

 [ ] l. 12 captiue good] captiue-good Q

 [ ] 68 l. 7 a second] a scond Q

 [ ] head;] head, Q

 [ ] 69 l. 3 due Tyrwhitt: end Q

 [ ] l. 4 commend] Commend Q

 [ ] l. 5 Thy] Their Q

 [ ] l. 12 weeds.] weeds, Q

 [ ] l. 14 soyle] solye Q. The usual reading is solve; but soyle (which has the same sense, see quotations in Mr. Wyndham’s note) is the simpler change.

 [ ] 70 l. 6 Thy] Their Q

 [ ] l. 12 inlarged.] inlarged, Q

 [ ] 71 l. 1 longer] Longer Q

 [ ] 72 l. 2 loue,] loue Q

 [ ] 73 l. 4 ruin’d] rn’wd Q

 [ ] 74 l. 1 contented:] contented Q

 [ ] l. 12 remembred.] remembred, Q

 [ ] 75 l. 14 away.] away, Q

 [ ] 76 l. 7 tel] fel Q: spell conj. Nicholson.

 [ ] l. 14 told.] told, Q

 [ ] 77 l. 3 The] These Capell MS.

 [ ] l. 10 blancks] blacks Q

 [ ] 79 l. 14 pay.] pay, Q

 [ ] 80 l. 13 if] If Q

 [ ] 81 l. 8 lye.] lye, Q

 [ ] 82 l. 14 blood;] blood, Q

 [ ] 83 l. 8 grow.] grow, Q

 [ ] 84 ll. 1-2 Many editors insert a mark of interrogation after most in l. 1; but this gives the wrong sense.

 [ ] l. 2 you?] you, Q

 [ ] l. 4 grew.] grew, Q (often punctuated grew? But whose in l. 3 is relative not interrogative)

 [ ] 85 l. 12 before.] before, Q

 [ ] 88 l. 1 disposde] dispode Q

 [ ] l. 8 shall] The correction shalt seems unnecessary.

 [ ] 89 l. 7 disgrace;] disgrace, Q

 [ ] l. 9 walkes;] walkes Q

 [ ] 90 l. 3 bow,] bow. Q (ut vid.)

 [ ] l. 11 shall] stall Q

 [ ] 91 l. 9 better] bitter Q

 [ ] 92 l. 13 blot?] blot, Q

 [ ] 93 l. 2 husband:] husband Q (ut vid.)

 [ ] 95 l. 3 name!] name? Q (but cf. ll. 4, 12)

 [ ] 96 l. 11 mighst] See on 41 l. 9

 [ ] l. 12 state!] state? Q

 [ ] 97 ll. 2-4 yeare! . . . seene! . . . where!] yeare? . . . seene? . . . where? Q (! seems to be normal in Q, though sometimes replaced by?)

 [ ] 99 l. 3 breath? The] breath, the Q

 [ ] l. 5 died.] died, Q

 [ ] l. 9 One] Our Q

 [ ] 100 l. 4 light?] light. Q

 [ ] l. 14 preuenst] See on 41 l. 9

 [ ] 102 l. 1 seeming,] seeming Q

 [ ] l. 8 his] her conj. Housman (1835)

 [ ] 106 l. 12 still] skill Capell MS.; the emendation has been almost universally accepted; but the text may be sound; see Mr. Wyndham’s note.

 [ ] 108 l. 3 now] perhaps a printer’s error for new

 [ ] 109 l. 5 loue;] loue, Q

 [ ] l 8 staine.] staine, Q

 [ ] 110 l. 8 loue.] loue, Q

 [ ] l. 10 grinde] grin’de Q

 [ ] 111 l. 1 with] wish Q

 [ ] l. 8 renu’de.] renu’de, Q

 [ ] 112 l. 14 is usually corrected to methinks are dead or the like; but the result is not very satisfactory, and the text of Q may be right.

 [ ] 113 l. 6 latch conj. Malone: lack Q (cf. Macbeth, iv. iii. 195)

 [ ] l. 10 sweet sauor] sweet-sauor Q

 [ ] l. 13 more, repleat] more repleat Q

 [ ] 117 l. 10 surmise] surmise, Q

 [ ] l. 14 loue.] loue Q

 [ ] 118 l. 4 purge:] purge. Q

 [ ] l. 10 were not,] were, not Q

 [ ] 119 l. 10 is] is, Q

 [ ] better,] better. Q

 [ ] 121 l. 11 beuel,] beuel Q

 [ ] 122 l. 1 THY] T Thy Q (repeating T after the initial)

 [ ] 125 l. 6 more,] more Q

 [ ] l. 7 sweet; Forgoing] sweet forgoing most editors; there seems no sufficient reason for altering the text.

 [ ] 126 after l. 12 Q has double brackets, as if to indicate the omission of a couplet.

 [ ] l. 2 sickle, hower] variously emended, but with no great success.

 [ ] 126 l. 7 skill,] skill. Q

 [ ] l. 8 time,] time Q

 [ ] mynuits] mynuit Q

 [ ] 127 l. 4 shame:] shame, Q

 [ ] l. 9 Mistresse] Mistersse Q

 [ ] ll. 9-10 eyes . . . eyes] hairs, wires, brows, etc. have been conjectured for eyes in l. 9 or in l. 10.

 [ ] 128 l. 11 thy] their Q

 [ ] l. 11 thy fingers] their fingers Q

 [ ] 129 l. 3 blouddy,] blouddy Q

 [ ] l. 9 Madde] Made Q

 [ ] in pursut] In pursut Q

 [ ] l. 11 proud a] proud and Q

 [ ] l. 12 dreame.] dreame, Q

 [ ] 132 l. 2 torments 1640: torment Q

 [ ] l. 6 the East] th’ East Q

 [ ] 136 l. 6 I] scil. Ay

 [ ] 137 l. 11 not,] not Q

 [ ] l. 12 face?] face, Q

 [ ] 138 The version in The Passionate Pilgrim is as follows:

WHen my Loue sweares that she is made of truth,

I doe beleeue her (though I know she lies)

That she might thinke me some vntutor’d youth,

Vnskilfull in the worlds false forgeries.

Thus vainly thinking that she thinkes me young,

Although I know my yeares be past the best:

I smiling, credite her false speaking toung,

Out facing faults in Loue, with loues ill rest.

But wherefore sayes my Loue that she is young:

And wherefore say not I, that I am old:

O, Loues best habite is a soothing toung,

And Age (in Loue) loues not to haue yeares told.

    Therfore Ile lye with Loue, and Loue with me,

    Since that our faults in Loue thus smother’d be.

 [ ] 138 l. 12 to haue 1599: t’ haue Q

 [ ] 140 l. 4 pittie-wanting] pittie wanting Q

 [ ] l. 13 belyde] be lyde Q

 [ ] 143 l. 12 part,] part Q

 [ ] 144 The version in The Passionate Pilgrim is as follows:

TWo loues I haue, of Comfort, and Despaire,

That like two Spirits, do suggest me still:

My better Angell is a man (right faire)

My worser spirite a Woman (colour’d ill.)

To winne me soone to hell, my Female euill

Tempteth my better Angell from my side,

And would corrupt my Saint to be a Diuell,

Wooing his purity with her faire pride.

And whether that my Angell be turnde feend,

Suspect I may (yet not directly tell:

For being both to me: both, to each friend,

I ghesse one Angell in anothers hell:

    The truth I shall not know, but liue in doubt,

    Till my bad Angell fire my good one out.

 [ ] l. 2 still:] still, Q

 [ ] l. 3 faire,] faire; Q

 [ ] l. 6 side 1599: sight Q

 [ ] 146 ll. 1-2 cannot be restored with certainty; most editors regard My sinfull earth in l. 2 as due to dittography; supplying the gap with some such words as Fool’d by (Malone), Foil’d by (Palgrave), etc. Massey, followed by Wyndham, reads My sinful earth these rebel powers array. See Mr. Dowden’s note.

 [ ] 149 l. 12 eyes?] eyes. Q

 [ ] 151 l. 2 loue?] loue, Q

 [ ] 152 l. 13 eye] usually corrected to I; but Q may possibly be right, cf. ll. 11, 12.

 [ ] 153 l. 14 eyes] eye Q

 [ ] 154 l. 4 by;] by, Q

 [ ] l. 12 diseasd;] diseasd, Q

A Lover’s Complaint

 [ ] p. 83 l 7 sorrowes (scil. sorrow’s)] sorrowes, Q

 [ ] p. 84 l. 7 commixt] commxit Q

 [ ] p. 86 l. 1 attended] atttended Q

 [ ] l. 2 suit,] suit Q

 [ ] p. 87 l. 4 course,] course Q

 [ ] l. 7 mannadg (scil. manege)] mannad’g Q th’] ’th Q makes!] makes Q

 [ ] p. 89 l. 12 vowes] vowes, Q

 [ ] l. 21 vow (vovv) Q: woo conj. Dyce

 [ ] l. 28 containes.] containes, Q

 [ ] p. 90 l. 3 th’] th, Q

 [ ] l. 19 the] th’ Q

 [ ] p. 92 ll 6, 7 emur’d . . . procur’d] enur’d . . . procure Q. For the form emure (=immure, Sildon’s conjecture) cf. Love’s Labour’s Lost, iii. i. 18.

 [ ] l. 15 Sunne] nun conj. Malone

 [ ] p. 93 l. 17 But] Put Q (ut vid.)

 [ ] eyes,] eyes: Q

 [ ] l. 20 O] Or Q