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Thou art thy mother's glass, and she in thee
Calls back the lovely April of her prime:
So thou thro' windows of thine age shalt see,
Despite of wrinkles, this thy golden time.
But if thou live, remember not to be;

Die single, and thine image dies with thee.


O that you were yourself! but, love, you are
No longer yours, then you yourself here live:
Against this coming end you should prepare,
And your sweet semblance to some other give.
So should that beauty, which you hold in lease,
Find no determination; then you were
Yourself again, after yourself's decease,

When your sweet issue your sweet form should bear.
Who let so fair a house fall to decay,

Which husbandry in honour might uphold,
Against the stormy gusts of winter's day,
And barren rage of death's eternal cold?

O! none but unthrifts; dear my love, you know
You had a father, let your son say so.

Not from the stars do I my judgment pluck,
And yet methinks I have astronomy;
But not to tell of good or evil luck,

Of plagues, of dearths, or seasons quality;
Nor can I fortune to brief minutes tell,
Pointing to each his thunder, rain, and wind;
Or say, with princes, if it shall go well,
By ought predict that I in heaven find:
But from thine eyes my knowledge I derive,
And constant stars; in them I read such art,
As truth and beauty shall together thrive,
If from thyself, to store thou would'st convert:
Or else of thee this I prognosticate,

Thy end is truth's and beauty's doom and date.

When I consider, every thing that grows
Holds in perfection but a little moment:

That this huge stage presenteth nought but shows,

Whereon the stars in secret influence comment :
When I perceive, that men as plants increase,
Cheered and check'd even by the self-same sky:
Vaunt in their youthful sap, at height decrease
And wear their brave state out of memory:
Then the conceit of this inconstant stay,
Sets you most rich in youth before my sight,
Where wasteful time debateth with decay,
To change your day of youth to sullied night;
And all in war with time, for love of you,
As he takes from you, I engraft you new.


But wherefore do not you a mightier way,
Make war upon this bloody tyrant, Time?
And fortify yourself in your decay,

With means more blessed than my barren rhyme :
Now stand you on the top of happy hours,

And many maiden gardens yet unset,

With virtuous wish would bear you living flowers,
Much liker than your painted counterfeit.
So should the lines of life that life repair,
Which this (time's pencil) or my pupil pen,
Neither in inward worth, nor outward fair,
Can make you live yourself in eyes of men.
To give away yourself, keeps yourself still,
And you must live, drawn by your own sweet skill.

Who will believe my verse, in time to come,
If it were fill'd with your most high deserts?
Tho' yet, heav'n knows, it is but as a tomb,
Which hides your life, and shows not half your parts.
If I could write the beauty of your eyes,
And in fresh numbers number all your graces;
The age to come would say, this poet lies,

Such heavenly touches ne'er touch'd earthly faces.
So should my papers (yellow'd with their age)
Be scorn'd, like old men of less truth than tongue;
And your true rights be term'd a poet's rage,
And stretched metre of an antick song.

But were some child of yours alive that time,
You should live twice in it, and in my rhyme.


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 care,
Like feeble age he reeleth from the day;
The eyes ('force duteous) now converted are
From his low track, and look another way.
So thou, thyself, outgoing in thy noon,
Unlook'd on diest, unless thou get a son.


Unthrifty loveliness, why dost thou spend
Upon thyself 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 traffick with thyself alone,
Thou of thyself thy sweet self dost deceive;
Then how when nature calls thee to begone,
What acceptable audit canst thou leave?

Thy unus'd beauty must be tomb'd with thee,
Which used lives th' 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 fame,
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'er-snow'd, and barrenness 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 rememberance what it was.

But flowers distill'd, tho' they with winter meet,
Lose 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 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 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;

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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.


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 should'st 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.

Is it for fear to wet a widow's eye,

That thou consum'st thyself in single life?
Ah! if thou issueless shall 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 unus'd, the usurer so destroys it.

No love towards others in that bosom sits,
That on himself such murd'rous shame commits.

For shame! deny that thou bear'st love to any,
Who for thyself 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 murd'rous hate,
That 'gainst thyself 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.

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 may'st call thine, when thou from youth convertest.
Herein live wisdom, beauty, and increase ;
Without this, folly, age, and cold decay ;

If all were minded so, the times should cease,

And threescore years 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 should'st in bounty cherish:
She carv'd thee for her seal, and meant thereby,
Thou should'st print more, nor let that copy die.

When I do count the clock, that tells the time,
And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;
When I behold the violet past prime,

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