Is it thy will thy image should keep open
My heavy eyelids to the weary night ?
Dost thou desitre my slumbers should be broken
While shadows like to thee do mock my sight ?
Is it thy spirit that thou send’st from thee
So far from home into my deeds to pry,
To find out shames and idle hours in me,
The scope and tenor of thy jealousy ?
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 whilst thou dost wake elsewhere,
   From me far off, with others all too near.

Sin of self-love possesseth all mine eye,
And all my soul, and all my every part ;
And for this sin there is no remedy,
It is so grounded inward in my heart.
Methinks no face so gracious is as mine,
No shape so true, no truth of such account,
And for myself mine own worth do define
As I all other in all worths surmount.
But when my glass shows me myself indeed,
Beated and chapped with tanned antiquity,
Mine own self-love quite contrary I read ;
Self so self-loving were iniquity.
   ’Tis thee, my self, that for myself I praise,
   Painting my age with beauty of thy days.

Against my love shall be as I am now,
With time's injurious hand crushed and o'erworn ;
When hours have drained his blook and filled his brow
With lines and wrinkles ; when his youthful morn
Hath travelled on to age's steepy night,
And all those beauties whereof now he's king
Are vanishing, or vanished out of sight,
Stealing away the treasure of his spring :
For such a time do I now fortify
Against confounding age's cruel knife,
That he shall never cut from memory
My sweet love's beauty, though my lover's life.
   His beauty shall in these black lines be seen,
   And they shall live, and he in them still green.

When I have seen by time's fell hand defaced
The rich proud cost of outworn buried age ;
When sometime-lofty towers I see down razed,
And brass eternal slave to mortal rage ;
When I have seen the hungry ocean gain
Advantage on the kingdom of the shore,
And the firm soil win of the wat'ry main,
Increasing store with loss and loss with store ;
When I have seen such interchange of state,
Or state itself confounded to decay,
Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate :
That time will come and take my love away.
   This thought is as a death, which cannot choose
   But weep to have that which it fears to lose.

Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea,
But sad mortality o’ersways their power,
How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea,
Whose action is no stronger than a flower ?
O how shall summer's honey breath hold out
Against the wrackful siege of battering days
When rocks impregnable are not so stout,
Nor gates of steel so strong, but time decays ?
I fearful meditation ! Where, alack,
Shall time's best jewel from time's chest lie hid,
Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back,
Or who his spoil of beauty can forbid ?
   O none, unless this miracle have might :
   That in black ink my love may still shine bright.

Tired with all these, for restful death I cry :
As, to behold desert a beggar born,
And needy nothing trimmed in jollity,
And purest faith unhappily forsworn,
And gilded honour shamefully misplaced,
And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted,
And right perfection wrongfully disgraced,
And strength by limping sway disablèd,
And art made tongue-tied by authority,
And folly, doctor-like, controlling skill,
And simple truth miscalled simplicity,
And captive good attending captain ill.
   Tired with all these, from these would I be gone,
   Save that to die I leave my love alone.

Ah, wherefore with infection should he live
And with his presence grace impiety,
That sin by him advantage should achieve
And lace itself with his society ?
Why should false painting imitate his cheek,
And steal dead seeming of his living hue ?
Why should poor beauty indirectly seek
Roses of shadow, since his rose is true ?
Why should he live now nature bankrupt is,
Beggared of blood to blush through lively veins,
For she hath no exchequer now but his,
And proud of many, lives upon his gains ?
   O, him she stores to show what wealth she had
   In days long since, before these last so bad.

Thus is his cheek the map of days outworn,
When beauty lived and died as flowers do now,
Before these bastard signs of fair were borne
Or durst inhabit on a living brow ;
Before the golden tresses of the dead,
The right of sepulchres, were shown away
To live a second life on second head ;
Ere beauty's dead fleece made another gay.
In him those holy antique hours are seen
Without all ornament, itself and true,
Making no summer of another's green,
Robbing no old to dress his beauty new ;
   And him as for a map doth nature store,
   To show false art what beauty was of yore.

Those parts of thee that the world's eye doth view
Want nothing that the thought of hearts can mend.
All tongues, the voice of souls, give thee that due,
Utt'ring bare truth even so as foes commend.
Thy outward thus with outward praise is crowned,
But those same tongues that give thee so thine own
In other accents do this praise confound
By seeing farther than the eye hath shown.
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 soil is this : that thou dost common grow.

That thou are blamed shall not be thy defect,
For slander's mark was ever yet the fair.
The ornament of beauty is suspect,
A crow that flies in heaven's sweetest air.
So thou be good, slander doth but approve
Thy worth the greater, being wooed of time ;
For canker vice the sweetest buds doth love,
And thou present'st a pure unstainèd prime.
Thou hast passed by the ambush of young days
Either not assailed, or victor being charged ;
Yet this thy praise cannot be so thy praise
To tie up envy, evermore enlarged.
   If some suspect of ill masked not thy show,
   Then thou alone kingdoms of hearts shouldst owe.
William Shakespeare | Classic Poems
Ariel's Songs





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