Shakespeare's Sonnets

- By William Shakespeare
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William Shakespeare (bapt. 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616)[a] was an English playwright, poet, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist.[2][3][4] He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "the Bard").[5][b] His extant works, including collaborations, consist of some 39 plays,[c] 154 sonnets, three long narrative poems, and a few other verses, some of uncertain authorship. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.[7] They also continue to be studied and reinterpreted. Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he had three children: Susanna and twins Hamnet and Judith. Sometime between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part-owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain's Men, later known as the King's Men. At age 49 (around 1613), he appears to have retired to Stratford, where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare's private life survive; this has stimulated considerable speculation about such matters as his physical appearance, his sexuality, his religious beliefs, and whether the works attributed to him were written by others.[8][9][10]
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, Thyself 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 tatter'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 unear'd 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, remember'd not to be, Die single and thine image dies with thee.
IV
Unthrifty loveliness, why dost thou spend Upon thy self thy beauty's legacy? Nature's bequest gives nothing, but doth lend, And being frank she lends to those are free: Then, beauteous niggard, why dost thou abuse The bounteous largess given thee to give? Profitless usurer, why dost thou use So great a sum of sums, yet canst not live? For having traffic with thy self alone, Thou of thy self thy sweet self dost deceive: Then how when nature calls thee to be gone, What acceptable audit canst thou leave? Thy unused beauty must be tombed with thee, Which, used, lives th' executor to be.
V
Those hours, that with gentle work did frame The lovely gaze where every eye doth dwell, Will play the tyrants to the very same And that unfair which fairly doth excel; For never-resting time leads summer on To hideous winter, and confounds him there; Sap checked with frost, and lusty leaves quite gone, Beauty o'er-snowed and bareness every where: Then were not summer's distillation left, A liquid prisoner pent in walls of glass, Beauty's effect with beauty were bereft, Nor it, nor no remembrance what it was: But flowers distill'd, though they with winter meet, Leese but their show; their substance still lives sweet.
VI
Then let not winter's ragged hand deface, In thee thy summer, ere thou be distill'd: Make sweet some vial; treasure thou some place With beauty's treasure ere it be self-kill'd. That use is not forbidden usury, Which happies those that pay the willing loan; That's for thy self to breed another thee, Or ten times happier, be it ten for one; Ten times thy self were happier than thou art, If ten of thine ten times refigur'd thee: Then what could death do if thou shouldst depart, Leaving thee living in posterity? Be not self-will'd, for thou art much too fair To be death's conquest and make worms thine heir.
VII
Lo! in the orient when the gracious light Lifts up his burning head, each under eye Doth homage to his new-appearing sight, Serving with looks his sacred majesty; And having climb'd the steep-up heavenly hill, Resembling strong youth in his middle age, Yet mortal looks adore his beauty still, Attending on his golden pilgrimage: But when from highmost pitch, with weary car, Like feeble age, he reeleth from the day, The eyes, 'fore duteous, now converted are From his low tract, and look another way: So thou, thyself outgoing in thy noon: Unlook'd, on diest unless thou get a son.
VIII
Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly? Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy: Why lov'st thou that which thou receiv'st not gladly, Or else receiv'st with pleasure thine annoy? If the true concord of well-tuned sounds, By unions married, do offend thine ear, They do but sweetly chide thee, who confounds In singleness the parts that thou shouldst bear. Mark how one string, sweet husband to another, Strikes each in each by mutual ordering; Resembling sire and child and happy mother, Who, all in one, one pleasing note do sing: Whose speechless song being many, seeming one, Sings this to thee: 'Thou single wilt prove none.'
IX
Is it for fear to wet a widow's eye, That thou consum'st thy self in single life? Ah! if thou issueless shalt hap to die, The world will wail thee like a makeless wife; The world will be thy widow and still weep That thou no form of thee hast left behind, When every private widow well may keep By children's eyes, her husband's shape in mind: Look! what an unthrift in the world doth spend Shifts but his place, for 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 sits That on himself such murd'rous shame commits.
X
For shame! deny that thou bear'st love to any, Who for thy self art so unprovident. Grant, if thou wilt, thou art belov'd of many, But that thou none lov'st is most evident: For thou art so possess'd with murderous hate, That 'gainst thy self thou stick'st not to conspire, Seeking that beauteous roof to ruinate Which to repair should be thy chief desire. O! change thy thought, that I may change my mind: Shall hate be fairer lodg'd than gentle love? Be, as thy presence is, gracious and kind, Or to thyself at least kind-hearted prove: Make thee another self for love of me, That beauty still may live in thine or thee.

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Word Lists:

Bounteous : generously given or giving; bountiful

Distillation : the action of purifying a liquid by a process of heating and cooling

Glutton : an excessively greedy eater.

Concord : a city in north central California, northeast of Oakland; population 121,160 (est. 2008).

Husbandry : the care, cultivation, and breeding of crops and animals

Vial : a small container, typically cylindrical and made of glass, used especially for holding liquid medicines.

Usury : the illegal action or practice of lending money at unreasonably high rates of interest

Deface : spoil the surface or appearance of (something), for example by drawing or writing on it

Churl : an impolite and mean-spirited person.

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Additional Information:

Words: 1116

Unique Words : 507

Sentences : 35

Reading Time : 4:57

Noun : 337

Conjunction : 111

Adverb : 66

Interjection : 3

Adjective : 98

Pronoun : 146

Verb : 155

Preposition : 105

Letter Count : 4,827

Sentiment : Positive

Tone : Conversational

Difficult Words : 284

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