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(Published in 1609, this was the note on the first page of Shakespeare's sonnets,
with it's original spelling & typesetting, "T.T." is the printer, Thomas Thorpe.)


When forty winters shall besiege thy brow, 
And dig deep trenches in thy beauty's field, 
Thy youth's proud livery, so gaz'd on now, 
Will be a tatter'd weed, of small worth held: 
Then being ask'd 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 could'st 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.


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.


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 un-ear'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. 


Unthrifty loveliness, why dost thou spend 
Upon thyself thy beauty's legacy? 
Nature's bequest give 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 traffick with thyself alone, 
Thou of thyself thy sweet self dost deceive. 
Then how, when nature calls thee to be gone, 
What acceptable audit canst thou leave? 
 Thy unus'd beauty must be tomb'd with thee, 
 Which, us'd, lives thy executor to be.


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 check'd with frost, and lusty leaves quite gone, 
Beauty o'ersnow'd, 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.. 


Then let not winter's ragged hand deface 
In thee thy summer, ere thou be distill'd: 
Make sweet some phial; 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 thyself to breed another thee, 
Or ten times happier, be it ten for one; 
Ten times thyself were happier than thou art, 
If ten of thine ten times refigur'd thee: 
Then, what could death do if thou should'st 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.