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When I do count the clock that tells the time,
And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;
When I behold the violet past prime,
And fable curls all silver'd o'er with white;
When lofty trees I see barren of leaves,
Which erst from heat did canopy the herd,
And summer's green all girded up in sheaves,
Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard,
Then of thy beauty do I question make,
That thou among the wastes of time must go,
Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake
And die as fast as they see others grow; [fence
And nothing 'gainst Time's scythe can make de-
Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence.
O, that you were yourself! but, love, you are
No longer yours than you yourself here live :
Against this coming end you should prepare,
sweet semblance to some other give :
So should that beauty which you hold in lease
Find no determination; then you were
Yourself again, after yourself's decease,
When your sweet issue your
sweet form should bear.
Who lets so fair a house fall to decay,
Which husbandry in honour might uphold
Against the stormy gusts of winter's day
And barren rage of death's eternal cold?
O, none but unthrifts ! Dear my love, you know
You had a father : let your son say so.
Not from the stars do I my judgement pluck ;
And yet methinks I have astronomy,
But not to tell of good or evil luck,
Of plagues, of dearths, or seasons' quality ;
Nor can I fortune to brief minutes tell,
Pointing to each his thunder, rain and wind,
Or say with princes if it shall go well,
By oft predi&t that I in heaven find:
But from thine eyes my knowledge I derive,
And, constant stars, in them I read such art
As “Truth and beauty shall together thrive,
If from thyself to store thou wouldst convert ;'
Or else of thee this I prognosticate:
• Thy end is truth's and beauty's doom and date.'
When I consider every thing that grows
Holds in perfe&tion but a little moment,
That this huge stage presenteth nought but shows
Whereon the stars in secret influence comment;
When I perceive that men as plants increase,
Cheered and check'd even by the self-fame sky,
Vaunt in their youthful sap, at height decrease,
And wear their brave state out of
Then the conceit of this inconstant stay
Sets you most rich in youth before my sight,
Where wasteful Time debateth with Decay,
To change your day of youth to sullied night;
And all in war with Time for love of you,
As he takes from you, I engraft you new.
But wherefore do not you a mightier way
Make war upon this bloody tyrant, Time ?
And fortify yourself in your decay
With means more blessed than my barren rime?
Now stand you on the top of happy hours,
And many maiden gardens, yet unset,
With virtuous wish would bear your living flowers
Much liker than your painted counterfeit :
So should the lines of life that life repair,
Which this, Time's pencil, or my pupil pen,
Neither in inward worth nor outward fair,
Can make you live yourself in eyes of men.
To give away yourself keeps yourself ftill ;
you must live, drawn by your own sweet skill.