Selected Sonnets of William Shakespeare

Sonnet 2

When forty winters shall besiege thy brow,
And dig deep trenches in thy beauty's field,
Thy youth's proud livery so gazed on now,
Will be a tattered weed of small worth held:
Then being asked, where all thy beauty lies,
Where all the treasure of thy lusty days;
To say within thane own deep sunken eyes,
Were an all-eating shame, and thriftless praise.
How much more praise deserved thy beauty's use,
If thou couldst answer 'this fair child of mine
shall sum my count, and make my old excuse'
Proving his beauty by succession thane.
These were to be new made when thou art old,
and see thy blood warm when thou feel's it cold.

Sonnet 31

Thy bosom is endeared with all hearts,
which I by lacking have supposed dead,
and there reigns love and all love's loving parts,
and all those friends which I thought buried.
How many a holy and obsequious tear
Hath dear religious love stolen from mine eye,
As interest of the dead, which now appear,
But things removed that hidden in thee lie.
Thou art the grave where buried love doth live,
Hung with the trophies of my lovers gone,
who all their parts of me to thee did give,
and that due of many, now is thine alone.
Their images I loved, I view in thee,
and thou (all they) hast all the all of me.

Sonnet 36

Let me confess that we two must be twain,
although our undivided loves are one:
So shall those blots that do with me remain,
without thy help, by me be borne alone.
In our two loves there is but one respect,
though in our lives a separable spite,
which though it alter not love's sole effect,
yet doth it steal sweet hours from love's delight.
I may not evermore acknowledge thee,
Lest my bewailed guilt should do thee shame,
Nor thou with public kindness honour me,
Unless thou take that honour from thy name:
But do not so, I love thee in such sort,
As thou being mine, mine is thy good report.

Sonnet 57

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 do 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,
When you have bid your servant once adieu.
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 any thing) he thinks no ill.

Sonnet 131

Thou art as tyrannous, so as thou art,
as those whose beauties proudly make them cruel;
for well thou know'st to my dear doting heart
Thou art the fairest and most precious jewel.
Yet in good faith some say that thee behold,
Thy face hath not the power to make love groan;
to say they err, I dare not be so bold,
although I swear it to my self alone.
And to be sure that is not false I swear,
A thousand groans but thinking on thy face,
one on another's neck do witness bear
Thy black is fairest in my judgment's place.
In nothing art thou black save in thy deeds,
And thence this slander as I think proceeds.

Sonnet 140

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.
If I might teach thee wit better it were,
Though not to love, yet love to tell me so,
As testy sick men when their deaths be near,
No news but health from their physicians know.
For if I should despair I should grow mad,
And in my madness might speak ill of thee,
Now this ill-wresting world is grown so bad,
Mad slanderers by mad ears believed be.
That I may not be so, nor thou belied,
Bear thine eyes straight, though thy proud heart go wide.

Sonnet 141

In faith I do not love thee with mine eyes,
for they in thee a thousand errors note,
But 'tis my heart that loves what they despise,
who in despite of view is pleased to dote.
Nor are mine cars with thy tongue's tune delighted,
Nor tender feeling to base touches prone,
Nor taste, nor smell, desire to be invited
To any sensual feast with thee alone:
But my five wits, nor my five senses can
Dissuade one foolish heart from serving thee,
Who leaves unswayed the likeness of a man,
Thy proud heart's slave and vassal wretch to be:
Only my plague thus far I count my gain,
That she that makes me sin, awards me pain.

Sonnet 150

O from what power hast thou this powerful might,
With insufficiency my heart to sway,
To make me give the lie to my true sight,
And swear that brightness doth not grace the day?
Whence hast thou this becoming of things ill,
that in the very refuse of thy deeds,
There is such strength and warranties of skill,
that in my mind thy worst all best exceeds?
Who taught thee how to make me love thee more;
the more I hear and see just cause of hate?
O though I love what others do abhor,
with others thou shouldst not abhor my state.
If thy unworthiness raised love in me,
More worthy I to be beloved of thee.