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And I by this will be a gainer too;
For bending all my loving thoughts on thee,
The injuries that to myself I do,

Doing thee 'vantage, double 'vantage me.
Such is my love, to thee I so belong,

That for thy right, myself will bear all wrong.

Say that thou didst forsake me for some fault,
And I will comment upon that offence:
Speak of my lameness, and I strait will halt;
Against thy reasons making no defence.
Thou canst not (love) disgrace me half so ill,
To set a form upon desired change,

As I'll myself disgrace; knowing thy will,
I will acquaintance strangle, and look strange;
Be absent from thy walks, and on my tongue
Thy sweet beloved name no more shall dwell,
Lest I (too much profane) should do it wrong,
And haply of our old acquaintance tell.

For thee, against myself I'll vow debate;

For I must ne'er love him, whom thou dost hate.

(Then hate me when thou wilt; if ever, now,
Now while the world is bent my deeds to cross,
Join with the spite of fortune, make me bow,

And do not drop in for an after loss:

Ah! do not, when my heart hath 'scap'd this sorrow,
Come in the rereward of a conquer'd woe!
Give not a windy night a rainy morrow,

To linger out a purpos'd overthrow.

If thou wilt leave me, do not leave me last,
When other petty griefs have done their spite;
But in the onset come, so shall I taste

At first the very worst of fortune's might.

And other strains of woe, which now seem woe, Compar'd with loss of thee, will not seem so.) Some glory in their birth, some in their skill, Some in their wealth, some in their bodies' force, Some in their garments, tho' new-fangled ill; Some in their hawks and hounds, some in their horse : And every humour hath his adjunct pleasure, Wherein it finds a joy above the rest. But these particulars are not my measure; All these I better, in one general best.

Thy love is better than high birth to me,
Richer than wealth, prouder than garments cost;
Of more delight than hawks or horses be:
And having thee, of all men's pride I boast.
Wretched in this alone, that thou may'st take
All this away, and me most wretched make.)



But do thy worst to steal thyself away,
For term of life thou art assured mine;
And life no longer than my love will stay,
For it depends upon that love of thine.
Then need I not to fear the worst of wrongs,
When in the least of them my life hath end;
I see a better state to me belongs,

Than that which on my humour doth depend.
Thou canst not vex me with inconstant mind,
Since that my life on thy revolt doth lie;
Oh! what a happy title do I find,

Happy to have thy love, happy to die!

But what's so blessed fair that fears no blot ?
Thou may'st be false, and yet I know it not.
So shall I live, supposing thou art true,
Like a deceived husband; so love's face
May still seem to love me, though alter'd new;
Thy looks with me, thy heart in other place.
For there can live no hatred in thine eye,
Therefore in that I cannot know thy change,
In many's look the false heart's history

Is writ in moods and frowns and wrinkles strange :
But heaven in thy creation did decree,

That in thy face sweet love should ever dwell;
What e'er thy thoughts, or thy heart's working be,
Thy looks shall nothing thence but sweetness tell.
How like Eve's apple doth thy beauty grow,
If thy sweet virtue answer not thy show!


They that have power to hurt, and will do none,
That do not do the thing they must do, show;
Who moving others, are themselves as stone
Unmoved, cold, and to temptation slow:
They rightly do inherit heaven's graces,
And husband nature's riches from expense :

They are the lords and owners of their faces.
Others but stewards of their excellence,
The summer's flower is to the summer sweet,
Tho' to itself it only live and die;

But if that flower with base infection meet,
The basest weed out-braves his dignity:

For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds ;
Lilies that fester, smell far worse than weeds.

How sweet and lovely dost thou make the shame,
Which, like a canker in the fragrant rose,
Doth spot the beauty of thy budding name!
Oh! in what sweets dost thou thy sins inclose!
That tongue that tells the story of thy days,
(Making lascivious comments on thy sport)
Cannot dispraise, but in a kind of praise;
Naming thy name, blesses an ill report.
Oh what a mansion have those vices got,
Which for their habitation choose out thee:
Where beauty's veil doth cover every blot,
And all things turn to fair that eyes can see!
Take heed, dear heart, of this large privilege;
The hardest knife, ill us'd, doth lose his edge.


How like a winter hath my absence been
From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!
What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen!
What old December's barrenness every where !
And yet this time remov'd was summer's time;
The teeming autumn big with rich increase,
Bearing the wanton burden of the prime,
Like widow'd wombs after their lord's decease.
Yet this abundant issue seem'd to me,
But hope of orphans and unfather'd fruit ;
For summer and his pleasures wait on thee,
And thou away, the very birds are mute :
Or if they sing, 'tis with so dull a cheer,

That leaves look pale, dreading the winter's near.

From you have I been absent in the spring,
When proud pied April (drest in all his trim)
Hath put a spirit of youth in every thing,

That heavy Saturn laugh'd and leap'd with him.

Yet not the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell
Of different flowers in odour and in hue,
Could make me any summer's story tell ;

Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew. Nor did I wonder at the lilies white,


Nor praise the deep vermillion in the rose ;
They were but sweet, but figures of delight,
Drawn after you, you pattern of all those :
You seem'd it winter still, and you away,
As with your shadow I with these did play.
The forward violet thus did I chide ;
Sweet thief! whence didst thou steal thy sweet that
If not from my love's breath? The purple pride,
Which on thy soft cheek for complexion dwells,
In my love's veins thou hast too grossly dy'd :
The lily I condemned for thy hand,
And buds of marjoram had stol'n thy hair ;
The roses fearfully on thorns did stand,
One blushing shame, another white despair;
A third not red, nor white, had stol'n of both,
And to his robb'ry has annex'd thy breath;
But for his theft, in pride of all his growth,
A vengeful canker eat him up to death.

More flowers I noted, yet I none could see,
But sweet or colour it had stol'n from thee.


Where art thou, muse, that thou forget'st so long
To speak of that which gives thee all thy might?
Spend'st thou thy fury on some worthless song,
Dark'ning thy power to lend base subjects light?
Return, forgetful muse, and strait redeem,
In gentle numbers, time so idly spent ;
Sing to the ear that doth thy lays esteem,
And give thy pen both skill and argument.
Rise, resty muse, my love's sweet face survey,
If time hath any wrinkle graven there ;
If any, be a satire to decay,

And make time's spoils despised every where.

Give my love fame, faster than time wastes life,
So thou prevent'st his scythe, and crooked knife.

Oh! truant muse! what shall be thy amends,
For thy neglect of truth in beauty dy'd ?

But truth and beauty on my love depends:
So dost thou too, and therein dignify'd.
Make answer, muse, wilt thou not haply say,
Truth needs no colour with his colour fix'd;
Beauty no pencil, beauty's truth to lay;
But best is best, if never intermix'd?
Because he needs no praise, wilt thou be dumb?
Excuse no silence so, for 't lies in thee

To make her much outlive a golden tomb,
And to be prais'd of ages yet to be.

Then do thy office, muse, I teach thee how
To make her seem long hence, as she shows now.


To me, fair love, you never can be old;

For as you were when first your eye I ey'd,
Such seems your beauty still. Three winters' cold
Have from the forest shook three summers' pride ;
Three beauteous springs to yellow autumn turn'd,
In process of the seasons, have I seen;

Three April purfumes in three hot Junes burn'd,
Since first I saw you, fresh, which yet are green.
Ah! yet doth beauty, like a dial hand,

Steal from his figure, and no place perceiv'd;
So your sweet hue, which, methinks, still does stand,
Hath motion, and mine eye may be deceiv'd.

For fear of which, hear this, thou age unbred ;
Ere you were born, was beauty's summer dead.

Let not my love be call'd idolatry,
Nor my beloved as an idle show;
Since all alike my songs and praises be
To one, of one, still such, and ever so:
Kind is my love to-day, to-morrow kind,
Still constant in a wondrous excellence ;
Therefore my verse to constancy confin'd,
One thing expressing, leaves out difference.
Fair, kind, and true, varying to other words;
And in this change is my invention spent ;

Three themes in one, which wondrous scope affords.
Fair, kind, and true, have often liv'd alone:
Which three, till now, have never sate in one.

When in the chronicle of wasted time,
I see descriptions of the fairest wights,

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