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The Sonnets

The Signet Classic Shakespeare series contains the preeminent mass market books of the complete works of Shakespeare. This reissue features a new Overview by Sylvan Barnet, former chairman of the English Department at Tufts University, an updated Bibliography, suggested references, and stage and film history.
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61 printed pages
Poems

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Calls back the lovely April of her prime,
So thou through windows of thine age shalt see,
Despite of wrinkles this thy golden time.
But if thou live remembered not to be,
Die single and thine image dies with thee.
Being your slave what should I do but tend,
Upon the hours, and times of your desire?
I have no precious time at all to spend;
Nor services to do till you require.
Nor dare I chide the world-without-end hour,
Whilst I (my sovereign) watch the clock for you,
Nor think the bitterness of absence sour,
A woman's face with nature's own hand painted,
Hast thou, the master mistress of my passion;
A woman's gentle heart, but not acquainted
With shifting change, as is false women's fashion:
An eye more bright than theirs, less false in rolling,
Gilding the object whereupon it gazeth;
A man in hue all 'hues' in his controlling,
Which steals men's eyes and women's souls amazeth.
And for a woman wert thou first created;
Till Nature, as she wrought thee, fell a-doting,
And by addition me of thee defeated,
By adding one thing to my purpose nothing.
But since she prick'd thee out for women's pleasure,
Mine be thy love and thy love's use their treasure.
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:
Where all the treasure of thy lusty days;
To say within thine own deep sunken eyes,
Were an all-eating shame, and thriftless
still the world enjoys it;
But beauty's waste hath in the world an end,
And kept unused the user so destroys it:
No love toward others in that bosom sit
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 eye, of brow, I see their antique pen would have expressed, Even such a beauty as you master now. So all their praises are but prophecies Of this our time, all you prefiguring, And for they looked 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.

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