150 Shakespeare - Sonnets

'Tis better to be vile than vile esteem'd
A woman's face with Nature's own hand painted
Accuse me thus: that I have scanted all
Against my love shall be as I am now
Against that time, if ever that time come
Ah! wherefore with infection should he live
Alack! what poverty my Muse brings forth
Alas! 'tis true I have gone here and there
As a decrepit father takes delight
As an unperfect actor on the stage
As fast as thou shalt wane, so fast thou grow'st
Be wise as thou art cruel; do not press
Being your slave, what should I do but tend
Beshrew that heart that makes my heart to groan
Betwixt mine eye and heart a league is took
But be contented: when that fell arrest
But do thy worst to steal thyself away
But wherefore do not you a mightier way
Canst thou, O cruel! say I love thee not
Cupid laid by his brand and fell asleep
Devouring Time, blunt thou the lion's paws
Farewell! thou art too dear for my possessing
For shame! deny that thou bear'st love to any
From fairest creatures we desire increase
From you have I been absent in the spring
Full many a glorious morning have I seen
How can I then return in happy plight
How can my Muse want subject to invent
How careful was I when I took my way
How heavy do I journey on the way
How like a winter hath my absence been
How oft when thou, my music, music play'st
How sweet and lovely dost thou make the shame
If my dear love were but the child of state
If the dull substance of my flesh were thought
If there be nothing new, but that which is
If thou survive my well-contented day
If thy soul check thee that I come so near
In faith I do not love thee with mine eyes
In loving thee thou know'st I am forsworn
In the old age black was not counted fair
Is it for fear to wet a widow's eye
Is it thy will, thy image should keep open
Let me confess that we two must be twain
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Let not my love be call'd idolatry
Let those who are in favour with their stars
Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore
Like as, to make our appetites more keen
Lo! in the orient when the gracious light
Lo, as a careful housewife runs to catch
Look in thy glass, and tell the face thou viewest
Lord of my love, to whom in vassalage
Love is my sin, and thy dear virtue hate
Love is too young to know what conscience is
Mine eye and heart are at a mortal war
Mine eye hath play'd the painter and hath stell'd
Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?
My glass shall not persuade me I am old
My love is as a fever, longing still
My love is strengthen'd, though more weak in seeming
'Tis better to be vile than vile esteem'd
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 shown   _

Unless this general evil they maintain,
All men are bad and in their badness reign.
A woman's face with Nature's own hand painted
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.
Accuse me thus: that I have scanted all
ACCUSE me thus: that I have scanted all
Wherein I should your great deserts repay,
Forgot upon your dearest love to call,   _
Whereto all bonds do tie me day by day;
That I have frequent been with unknown minds,
And given to time your own dear-purchas'd right;   _
That I have hoisted sail to all the winds
Which should transport me farthest from your sight.
Book both my wilfulness and errors down,   _
And on just proof surmise accumulate;
Bring me within the level of your frown,
But shoot not at me in your waken'd hate   _

Since my appeal says I did strive to prove
The constancy and virtue of your love.
Against my love shall be as I am now
AGAINST my love shall be, as I am now
With Time's injurious hand crush'd and o'erworn;
When hours have drain'd his blood and fill'd his brow   _
With lines and wrinkles; when his youthful morn
Hath travell'd on to age's steepy night;
And all those beauties whereof now he 's king   _
Are vanishing or vanish'd 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.
Against that time, if ever that time come
AGAINST that time, if ever that time come
When I shall see thee frown on my defects,
When as thy love hath cast his utmost sum,   _
Call'd to that audit by advis'd respects;
Against that time when thou shalt strangely pass,
And scarcely greet me with that sun, thine eye,   _
When love, converted from the thing it was,
Shall reasons find of settled gravity;
Against that time do I ensconce me here   _
Within the knowledge of mine own desert,
And this my hand against myself uprear,
To guard the lawful reasons on thy part   _

To leave poor me thou hast the strength of laws,
Since why to love I can allege no cause.
Ah! wherefore with infection should he live
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 steel 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,   _
Beggar'd 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.
Alack! what poverty my Muse brings forth
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!
Look in your glass, and there appears a face   _
That over-goes 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.
Alas! 'tis true I have gone here and there
ALAS! 'tis true I have gone here and there
And made myself a motley to the view,
Gor'd 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 prov'd 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 confin'd.   _

Then give me welcome, next my heaven the best,
Even to thy pure and most most loving breast.
As a decrepit father takes delight
AS a decrepit father takes delight
To see his active child do deeds of youth,
So I, made lame by Fortune's dearest spite,   _
Take all my comfort of thy worth and truth;
For whether beauty, birth, or wealth, or wit,
Or any of these all, or all, or more,   _
Entitled in thy parts do crowned sit,
I make my love engrafted to this store:
So then I am not lame, poor, nor despis'd,   _
Whilst that this shadow doth such substance give
That I in thy abundance am suffic'd,
And by a part of all thy glory live.   _

Look what is best, that best I wish in thee
This wish I have; then ten times happy me!
As an unperfect actor on the stage
AS an unperfect actor on the stage
Who with his fear is put beside his part,
Or some fierce thing replete with too much rage,   _
Whose strength's abundance weakens his own heart;
So I, for fear of trust, forget to say
The perfect ceremony of love's rite,   _
And in mine own love's strength seem to decay,
O'ercharg'd with burden of mine own love's might.
O! let my books be then the eloquence   _
And dumb presagers of my speaking breast,
Who plead for love, and look for recompense,
More than that tongue that more hath more express'd.   _

O! learn to read what silent love hath writ
To hear with eyes belongs to love's fine wit.
As fast as thou shalt wane, so fast thou grow'st
AS fast as thou shalt wane, so fast thou grow'st
In one of thine, from that which thou departest;
And that fresh blood which youngly thou bestow'st   _
Thou mayst call thine when thou from youth convertest.
Herein lives wisdom, beauty, and increase;
Without this, folly, age and cold decay:   _
If all were minded so, the times should cease
And threescore year would make the world away.
Let those whom Nature hath not made for store,   _
Harsh, featureless, and rude, barrenly perish:
Look, whom she best endow'd she gave the more;
Which bounteous gift thou shouldst in bounty cherish   _

She carv'd thee for her seal, and meant thereby
Thou shouldst print more, not let that copy die.