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LXXVI Why is my verse so barren of new pride? So far from variation or quick change? Why, with the time, do I not glance aside To new-found methods and to compounds strange? Why write I still all one, ever the same, And keep invention in a noted weed, That every word doth almost tell my name, Showing their birth, and where they did proceed? Q know, sweet love, I always write of you, And you and love are still my argument; So all my best is dressing old words new, Spending again what is already spent: For as the sun is daily new and old, So is my love still telling what is told. LXXVII. Thy glass will show thee how thy beauties wear, Thy dial how thy precious minutes waste; The vacant leaves thy mind's imprint will bear, And of this book this learning may’st thou taste. The wrinkles which thy glass will truly show, Of mouthed graves will give thee memory; Thou by thy dial's shady stealth may’st know Time's thievish progress to etermity. Look, what thy memory cannot contain, Commit to these waste blanks, and thou shalt find Those children nursed, deliver'd from thy brain, To take a mew acquaintance of thy mind. These offices, so soft as thou wilt look, Shall profit thee, and much enrich thy book. 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. Thine eyes, that taught the dumb on high to sing, And heavy ignorance aloft to fly, Have added feathers to the learned's wing, And given grace a double majesty. Yet be most proud of that which I compile, Whose influence in thine, and born of thee. In others’ works thou dost but mend the style, And arts with thy sweet graces graced be; But thou art all my art, and dost advance As high as learning my rude ignorance. LXXIX. Whilst I alone did call upon thy aid, My verse alone had all thy gentle grace; But now my gracious numbers are decay’d, And my sick muse doth give another place. I grant, sweet love, thy lovely argument Deserves the travail of a worthier pen; Yet what of thee thy poet doth invent, He robs thee of, and pays it thee again. He lends thee virtue, and he stole that word From thy behaviour; beauty doth he give, And found it in thy cheek; he can afford No praise to thee but what in thee doth live. Then thank him not for that which he doth say, Since what he owes thee thou thyself dost pay. E, XXX. O how I faint when I of you do write, Knowing a better spirit doth use your name, And in the praise thereof spends all his might, To make me tongue-tied, speaking of your fame! But since your worth (wide, as the ocean is,) The humble as the proudest sail doth bear, My saucy bark, inferior far to his, On your broad main doth wilfully appear. Your shallowest help will hold me up asloat, Whilst he upon your soundness deep doth ride; Or, being wreck'd, I am a worthless boat,

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Or I shall live your epitaph to make, Or you survive 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 immortal life shall have, Though I, once gone, to all the world must die. The earth can yield me but a common grave, When you entombed in men's eyes shall lie. Your monument shall be my gentle verse, Which eyes not yet created shall o'er-read; And tongues to be, your being shall rehearse, When all the breathers of this world are dead; You still shall live (such virtue hath my pen,) Where breath most breathes, e'en in the mouths of mem.


I grant thon wert not married to my muse, And therefore may’st without attaint o'erlook The dedicated words which writers use Of their fair subject, blessing every book. Thou art as fair in knowledge as in hue, Finding thy worth a limit past my praise; And therefore art enforced to seek anew Some fresher stamp of the time—bettering days. And do so, love; yet when they have devised What strained touches rhetoric can lend, Thou truly fair wert truly sympathized In true plain words, by thy true-telling friend; And their gross painting might be better used Where cheeks need blood; in thee it is abused.

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I never saw that you did painting need, And therefore to your fair no painting set, I found, or thought I found, you did exceed The barren tender of a poet's debt: And therefore have I slept in your report, That you yourself, being extant, well might show How far a modern quill doth come too short, Speaking of worth, what worth in you doth grow. This silence for my sin you did impute, Which shall be most my glory, being dumb; For I impair not beauty being mute, When others would give life, and bring a tomb. There lives more life in one of your fair eyes, Than both your poets can in praise devise.

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Who is it that says most? Which can say more, Than this rich praise,_that you alone are you? In whose confine immured is the store Which should example where your equal grew. Lean penury within that pen doth dwell, That to his subject 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 copy what in you is writ, Not making worse what nature made so clear, And such a counter-part shall fame his wit, Making his style admired every where. You to your beauteous blessings add a curse, Being fond on praise, which makes your praises worse.

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I think good thoughts, whilst others write good words, And, like unletter'd clerk, still cry Amen To every hymn that able spirit allords, In polish'd from of well-refined pen. . . Hearing you praised, I say, 'tis so, 'tis true, And to the most of praise add something more ; But that is in my thought, whose love to you, Though words come hind-most, holds his rank before. Then others for the breath of words respect, Me for my dumb thoughts, speaking in effect. LXXXVI.

was it the proud full sail of his great verse, Bound for the prize of all-too-precious you, That did my ripe thoughts in my brain inherse, Making their tomb the womb wherein they grew 2 Was it his spirit, by spirits taught to write Above a mortal pitch, that strcuk me dead? No, neither he, nor his compeers by night Giving him aid, my verse astonished. He, nor that affable familiar ghost Which mightly gulls him with intelligence, As victors, of my silence cannot boast; I was not sick of any fear from thence. But when your countenance fill'd up his line, then lack'd I matter; that enfeebled mine. LXXXVII. Farewell! thou art too dear for my possessing, And like enough thou know'st thy estimate: The charter of thy worth gives thee releasing; My bonds in thee are all determinate. For how do I hold thee but by thy granting? And for that riches where is my deserving? The cause of this fair gift in me is wanting, And so my patent back again is swerving. Thyself thou gavest, thy own worth then not knowing, or me, to whom thou gavest it, else mistaking; So thy great gift, upon misprision growing, Comes home again, on better judgment making. Thus have I had thee, as a dream doth flatter, In sleep a king, but waking, no such matter.


When thou shalt be disposed to set me light, And place my merit in the eye of scorn, Upon thy side against myself. I’ll fight, And prove thee virtuous, though thou art forsworn. with mine own weakness being best acquainted, Upon thy part I can set down a story of faults conceal’d, wherein I am attainted; That thou, in losing me, shall win much glory; And I by this will be a gainer too; For bending all my loving thoughts on thee, The injuries that to myself I do, Doing the vantage, double-vantage me. Such is my love, to thee I so belong, That for thy right myself will bear all wrong.

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Then hate me when thou wilt; if ever, now; Now while the world is bent my deeds to cross, Join with the spite of fortune, make me bow And do not drop in for an after-loss: Ah! do not, when my heart hath 'scaped this sorrow, Come in the rearward of a conquer'd woe; Give not a windy night a rainy morrow, To linger out a purposed overthrow, If thou wilt leave me, do not leave me last, When other petty griefs have done their spite, But in the onset come; so shall I taste At first the very worst of Fortune's might; And other strains of woe, which now seem woe, Compared with loss of thee, will not seem so.

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Some glory in their birth, some in their skill, Some in their wealth, some in their body's force; Some in their garments, though new-fangled ill, Some in their hawks and hounds, some in their horse; And every humour hath his adjunct pleasure, Wherein it finds a joy above the rest: But these particulars are not my measure, All these 1 better in one general best. Thy love is better than high birth to me, Richer than wealth, prouder than garments' cost, Of more delight than hawks or horses be; And having thee, of all men's pride I boast. Wretched in this alone, that thou may’st take All this away, and me most wretched make.

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But do thy worst to steal thyself away, For term of life thou art assured mine; And life no longer than thy love will stay, For it depends upon that love of thine. Then need I not to fear the worst of wrongs, When in the least of them my life hath end. I see a better state to me belongs Than that which on thy humour doth depend. Thou canst not vex me with inconstant mind, Since that my life on thy revolt doth lie. O what a happy title do I find, Happy to have thy love, happy to die! But what’s so blessed fair that fears no blot?— Thou may’st be false, and yet I know it not:


So shall I live, supposing thou art true, Like a deceived husband: so love's face May still seem love to me, though alter'd new; Thy looks with me, thy heart in other place:

For there can live no hatred in thine eye, Therefore in that I cannot know thy change. In many looks the false heart's history Is writ, in moods and frowns and wrinkles strange;

But heaven in thy creation did decree, That in thy face sweet love should ever dwell; Whate'er thy thoughts or thy heart's working be,

Thy looks old nothing thence but sweetness

How like Eve's apple doth thy beauty grow,
If thy sweet virtue answer not thy show !

They that have power to hurt and will do none, That do not do the thing they most do show, Who, moving others, are themselves, as stone, Unmoved, cold, and to temptation slow;

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How sweet and lovely dost thou make the shame Which, like a canker in the fragrant rose, Doth spot the beauty of thy budding name! O, in what sweets dost thou thy sins enclose ! That tongue that tells the story of thy days, Making lascivious comments on thy sport, Cannot dispraise but in a kind of praise: Naming thy name blesses an ill report. O what a mansion have those vices got, Which for their habitation chose out thee! Where beauty's veil doth cover every blot, And all things turns to fair that eyes can see! Take heed, dear heart, of this large privilege; The hardest knife ill-used doth lose its edge.

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Some say, thy fault is youth, some wantonness; Some say, thy grace is youth and gentle sport; Both grace and faults are loved of more and less; Thou makest faults graces that to thee resort. As on the fingers of a throned queen The basest jewel will be well esteem'd ; So are those errors that in thee are seen, To truths translated, and for true things deem'd How many lambs might the stern wolf betray, If like a lamb he could his looks translate; How many gazers might'st thou lead away, If thou wouldst use the strength of all thy state! But do not so; I love thee in such sort, As thou being mime, mine is thy good report.

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How like a winter hath my absence been From thee the pleasure of the fleeting year ! What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen! What old December's bareness every where! And yet this time removed was summer's time! The teeming autumn, big with rich increase, Bearing the wanton burden of the prime, Like widow’d wombs after their lords' decease: Yet this abundant issue seem'd to me But hope of orphans, and unfather'd fruit; For summer and his pleasures wait on thee, And thou away, the very birds are mute; Or, if they sing, 'tis with so dull a cheer, That leaves look pale, dreading the winter's near. XCVIII.

From you have I been absent in the spring, When proud—pied April, dressed in all his trim, Hath put a spirit of youth in every thing; That heavy Saturn laugh’d and leap'd with him. Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell Of different flowers in odour and in hue, Could make me any summer's story tell, Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew : Nor did I wonder at the lilies white, Nor praise the deep vermillion in the rose: They were but sweet, but figures of delight, Drawn after you, you pattern of all those. Yet, seem'd it winter still, and, you away. As with your shadow I with these did play:

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XCIX. The forward violet thus did I chide: Sweet thief, whence didst thou steal thy sweet that smells, If not from my love's breath? The purple pride Which on thy soft cheek for complexion dwells, ln my love's veins thou hast too grossly died. The lily I condemned for thy hand, And buds of marjoram had stolen thy hair: The roses fearfully on thorns did stand, One blushing shame, another white despair; A third, nor red nor white, had stolen of both, And to his robbery had annex'd thy breath; But for his theft, in pride of all his growth A vengeful canker eat him up to death. More flowers I noted, yet I mone could see, But sweet or colour it had stolen from thee.

C. Where art thou, Muse, that thou forget'st so lon To speak of that which gives thee all thy might? Spend'st thou thy fury on some worthless song, Darkening thy power, to lend base subjects light? Return, forgetful Muse, and straight redeem In gentle numbers time so idly spent ; Sing to the ear that doth thy lays esteem, Ānā gives thy pen both skill and argument. Rise, restive Muse, my love's sweet face survey, If Time have any wrinkle graven there; If any, be a satire to decay, And make Time's spoils despised cvery where. Give my love fame faster than Time wastes life; So thou prevent'st his scythe and crooked knife. CI. O truant Muse, what shall be thy amends, For thy neglect of truth in beauty did? Both truth and beauty on my love depends; So dost thou too, and therein dignify’d. Make answer, Muse: wilt thou not haply say, Truth needs no colour, with his colour fix’d, Beauty no pencil, beauty's truth to lay: But best is best, {..., intermix’d ;Because he needs no praise, wilt thou be dumb 2 Excuse not silence so; for it lies in thee To make him much outlive a gilded tomb, And to be praised of ages yet to be. Then do thy office, Muse: I teach thee how To make him seem long hence as he shows now. CII. My love is strengthen'd, though more weak in seeming; I love not less, though less the show appear: That love is merchandised, whose rich esteeming The owner's tongue doth publish every where. Our love was new, and then but in the spring, When I was wont to greet it with my lays; As Philomel in summer's front doth sing, And stops his pipe in growth of riper days: Not that the summer is less pleasant now Than when her mournful hymns did hush the night, But that wild music burdens every bough, And sweets grown common losestheir dear delight. Therefore, like her, I sometimes hold my tongue, Because I would not dull you with my song. CIII. Alack' what poverty my muse brings forth, That having such a scope to show her pride, The argument, all bare, is of more worth, Than when it hath my added praise beside. O blame me not, if I no more can write 1 Look in your glass, and there appears a face, That over-grows my blunt invention quite, Dulling my lines, and doing me disgrace.

were it not sinful then, striving to mend, To mar the subject that before was well? For to no other pass my verses tend, Than of your graces and your gifts to tell: . And more, much more, than in my verse can sit, Your own glass shows you, when you look in it. CIW.

To me, fair friend, you never can be old, For as you were, when first your eye I eyed, such seems your beauty still. Three winters cold Have from the forests shook three summers' pride; Three beauteous springs to yellow autumn turn'd, In process of the seasons have I seen ; Three April perfumes in three hot Junes burn'd, Since first I saw you fresh, which yet are green. Ah! yet doth beauty, like a dial-hand, Steal from his figure, and no pace perceived; so your sweet hue, which methinks still doth stand, o Hath motion, and mine eye may be deceived: For fear of which, hear this, thou age unbred, Ere you were born, was beauty's summer dead. CV. Let not my love be call'd Idolatry, Nor my beloved as an idol show, Since all alike my songs and praises be, To one, of one, still such, and ever so. , Kind is my love to-day, to-morrow kind, Still constant in a wondrous excellence; Therefore my verse to constancy confined, One thing expressing, leaves out difference. Fair, kind, and true, is all my argument, Fair, kind, and true, varying to other words; And in this change is my invention spent, Three themes in one, which wondrous scope asfords. Fair, kind, and true, have often lived alone, Which three, till now, never kept seat in one. CVI. When in the chronicle of wasted time I see descriptions of the fairest wights, And beauty making beautiful old rhyme, In praise of ladies dead, and lovely knights, Then in the blazon of sweet beauty's best, Of hand, of foot, of lip, of cye, of brow, I see their antique pen would have express'd Even such a beauty as you master mow. So all their praises are but prophecies Of this our time, all you prefiguring; And, for they look'd but with divining eyes, They had not skill enough your worth to sing: For we, which now behold these present days, Have eyes to wonder, but lack tongues to praise. CVII.

Not mine own fears, nor the prophetic soul Of the wide world dreaming on things to come, Can yet the lease of my true love control, Supposed as forfeit to a confined doom. The mortal moon hath her eclipse endured, And the sad augurs mock their own presage; Incertainties now crown themselves assured, And peace proclaims olives of endless age. Now with the drops of this most balmy time My love looks fresh, and Death to me subscribes, Since spite of him I'll live in this poor rhyme, While he insults o'er dull and speechless tribes, And thou in this shalt find thy monument, When tyrants’ crests and tombs of brass are spent. CVIII. What's in the brain that ink may character, Which hath not figured to thee my true spirit?

What's new to speak, what new to register,
That may express my love, or thy dear merit?
Nothing, sweet boy; but yet, like prayers di-
I must each day say o'er the very same;
Counting no old thing old, thou mine, # thine,
E’en as when first I hallow'd thy fair name.
So that etermal love in love's fresh case
Weighs not the dust and injury of age,
Nor gives to necessary wrinkles place,
But makes antiquity for aye his page;
Finding the first conceit of love there bred,
Where time and outward form would show it dead.

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O never say, that I was false of heart, Though absence seem'd my flame to qualify. As easy might I from myself depart, As from my soul, which in thy breath doth lie: That is my home of love: if I have ranged, Like him that travels, I return again; Just to the time, not with the time exchanged, So that myself bring water for my stain. Never believe, though in my nature reign'd All frailties that besiege all kinds of blood, That it could so preposterously be stain'd, To leave for nothing all thy sum of good; For nothing this wide universe I call, Save thou, my rose, in it thou art my all.

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Alas, 'tis true, I have gone here and there, And made myself a motley to the view, Gored mine own thoughts, sold cheap what is most dear, Made old offences of affections new. Most true it is, that I have look'd on truth Askance and strangely; but, by all above, These blenches gave my heart another youth, And worse essays proved thee my best of love. Now all is done, save what shall have no end: Mine appetite I never more will grind On newer proof, to try an older friend, A god in love, to whom I am confined. Then give me welcome, next my heaven the best, E’en to thy pure and most most loving breast.

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O for my sake do you with fortune chide, The guilty goddess of my harmful deeds, That did not better for my life provide, Than public means, which public manners breeds. Thence comes it that my name receives a brand, And almost thence my nature is subdued To what it works in, like the dyer's hand. Pity me them, and wish I were renew’d; Whilst, like a willing patient, I will drink Potions of eysell, 'gainst my strong infection; No bitterness that I will bitter think, Nor double penance to correct correction. Pity me then, dear friend, and I assure ye, E’en that your pity is enough to cure me.

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Mark how with my neglect I do dispense: —
You are so strongly in my purpose bred,
That all the world besides methinks they are dead.


Since I left you, mine eye is in my mind;
And that which governs me to go about,
Doth part his function, and is partly blind,
Seems seeing, but electually is out:

For it no form delivers to the heart
of bird, of flower, or shape, which it doth latch;
Of his quick objects hath the mind no part,
Nor his own vision holds what it doth catch;

For if it see the rudest or gentlest sight,
The most sweet favour, or deformed'st creature,
The mountain or the sea, the day or night,

The crow, or dove, it shapes them to your feature.

Incapable of more, replete with you,
My most true mind thus maketh mine untrue.
Or whether doth my mind, being crown'd with
Drink up the *. plague, this slattery,
Or whether shall I say, mine eye saith true,
And that your love taught it this alchymy,
To make of monsters and things indigest,
Such cherubins as your sweet self resemble,
Creating every bad a perfect best,
As fast as objects to his beams assemble?
O 'tis the first; 'tis flattery in my seeing,
And my great mind most kingly drinks it up:
Mine eye well knows what with his gust is 'greeing.
And to his palate doth prepare the cup:
If it be poison'd, 'tis the lesser sin
That mine eye loves it, and doth first begin.

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Those lines that I before have writ, do lie,
E’en those that said, I could not love you dearer;
Yet them my judgment knew no reason why
My most full flame should afterwards burn clearer.
But reckoning time whose million'd accidents
Creep in 'twixt vows, and change decrees of kings:
Tan sacred beauty, blunt the sharp'st intents,
Divert strong minds to the course of altering things;
Alas! why, fearing of time's tyranny,
Might I not then say, now I love you best,
When I was certain o'er incertainty,
Crowning the present, doubting of the rest,
Love is a babe: then might I not say so,
To give full growth to that which still doth grow?

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Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love,
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever—fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be
Love's not Time's fool,though rosy lips and cheeks,
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out e'en to the edge of doom.
If this be error, and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Accuse me thus; that I have scanted all
Wherein I should your great deserts repay;
Forgot upon your dearest love to call,
Whereto all bouds do tie me day by day;

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Like as, to make our appetites more keen,
With eager compounds we our palate urge;
|As, to prevent our maladies unseen,
| We sicken to shun sickness, when we purge;
E'en so, being full of your ne'er cloying sweet-
To bitter sauces did I frame my feeding,
And, sick of welfare, found a kind of meetness
To be diseased, ere that there was true needing.
Thus policy in love, to auticipate
The ills that were not, grew to faults assured
| And brought to medicine a healthful state,
Which, rank of goodness, would by ill be cured,
| But thence I learn, and find the lesson true,
Drugs poison him that so fell sick of you.
What potions have I drunk of Syren tears,
Distill'd from limbecks foul as hell within,
Applying fears to hopes, and hopes to fears,
Still losing when I saw myself to win
What wretched errors hath my heart committed,
whilst it hath thought itself so blessed never!
|How have mine eyes out of their spheres been fitted,
in the distraction of this madding fever!
O benefit of ill ! now I find true,
That better is by evil still made better;
And ruin'd love, when it is built anew,
| Grows fairer than at first, more strong, far greater.
So I return rebuked to my content,
And gain by ill thrice more than I have spent.

That you were once unkind, befriends me now,
And for that sorrow, which I then did feel,
Needs must I under my transgressions bow,
Unless my nerves were brass or hammer'd steel.
For if you were by my unkindness shaken,
As I by yours, you’ve pass'd a hell of time
And I, a tyrant, have no leisure taken
To weigh how once I suffer'd in your crime.
O that our night of woe might have remember'd
My deepest sense, how hard true sorrow hits,
And soon to you, as you to me, then tender'd
The humble salve which wounded bosoms fits'
But that your trespass now becomes a fee;
Mine ransoms your's, and your's must ransom me.
'Tis better to be vile, than vile esteem’d,
When not to be receives reproach of being,
And the just pleasure lost, which is so deem'd
Not by our feeling, but by others' seeing.
For why should others' false adulterate eyes
Give salutation to my sportive blood?
Or on my frailties why are frailer spies,
Which in their wills count bad what I think good?
No, I am that I am; and they that level
At my abuses, reckon up their own;
I may be straight, though they themselves be bevel;
By their rank thoughts my deeds must not be
Unless this general evil they maintain,
All men are bad and in their badness reign.

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