Valentine’s Day with Shakespeare

Sonnets on love from the literary great

  • I
  • From fairest creatures we desire increase,
  • That thereby beauty’s rose might never die,
  • But as the riper should by time decease,
  • His tender heir might bear his memory:
  • But thou contracted to thine own bright eyes,
  • Feed’st thy light’s flame with self-substantial fuel,
  • Making a famine where abundance lies,
  • Thy self thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel:
  • Thou that art now the world’s fresh ornament,
  • And only herald to the gaudy spring,
  • Within thine own bud buriest thy content,
  • And, tender churl, mak’st waste in niggarding:
  •    Pity the world, or else this glutton be,
  •    To eat the world’s due, by the grave and thee.
  • II
  • 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 totter’d weed of small worth held: 
  • Then being asked, where all thy beauty lies,
  • Where all the treasure of thy lusty days; 
  • To say, within thine own deep sunken eyes,
  • Were an all-eating shame, and thriftless praise.
  • How much more praise deserv’d 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 thine!
  •    This were to be new made when thou art old,
  •    And see thy blood warm when thou feel’st it cold.
  • III
  • Look in thy glass and tell the face thou viewest
  • Now is the time that face should form another;
  • Whose fresh repair if now thou not renewest,
  • Thou dost beguile the world, unbless some mother.
  • For where is she so fair whose uneared womb
  • Disdains the tillage of thy husbandry?
  • Or who is he so fond will be the tomb
  • Of his self-love, to stop posterity? 
  • Thou art thy mother’s glass and she in thee
  • 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.

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare (1564–1616), who needs no introduction on a poetry page, was considered the greatest English poet — and perhaps one of the greatest poets of any language — to put pen to paper. The general reading public usually demonstrates an increased interest in his work, especially his sonnets on love, around Valentine’s Day

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