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April 12th
2001

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Sonnet 7

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Lo, in the orient when the gracious light
Lifts up his burning head, each undereye
Doth homage to his new-appearing sight,
Serving with looks his sacred majesty.
And having climbed 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,
          Unlooked on diest unless thou get a son.

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Sonnet 8

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Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?
Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy.
Why lovest thou that which thou receivest not gladly,
Or else receivest with pleasure thine annoy?
If the true concord of well-tunèd 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."

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Sonnet 9

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Is it for fear to wet a widow's eye
That thou consumest thyself 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 murderous shame commits.

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Sonnet 10

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'For shame! Deny that thou bear'st love to any,
Who for thyself art so unprovident.
Grant, if thou wilt, thou art beloved of many,
But that thou none lovest is most evident.
For thou art so possessed with murderous hate
That 'gainst thyself thou stick'st not to conspire,
Seeking that beauteous roof to ruinate
Which to repair should be thy chief desire.
0h, change thy thought, that I may change my mind!
Shall hate be fairer lodged than gentle love?
Be, as thy presence is, gracious and kind,
Or to thyself at least kindhearted prove.
          Make thee another self, for love of me,
          That beauty still may live in thine or thee.

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Sonnet 11

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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 mayst call thine when thou from youth convertest.
Herein lives wisdom, beauty, and increase;
Without this, folly, age, and cold decay.
If all were minded so, the times should cease
And threescore year would make the world away.
Let those whom Nature hath not made for store,
Harsh, featureless, and rude, barrenly perish.
Look whom she best endowed she gave the more,
Which bounteous gift thou shouldst in bounty cherish.
          She carved thee for her seal, and meant thereby
          Thou shouldst print more, not let that copy die.

Shakespeare tells the young man that when he grows old he will be young in his children and that " Herein lives wisdom, beauty and increase; Without this, folly, age and cold decay." The poet goes on to explain to the young man that nature has given him a gift of beauty so that he may reproduce it. The couplet sums it up: "She [mother nature] carved thee for her seal, and meant thereby Thou shouldst print more, not let that copy die."

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Sonnet 12

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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
And sable curls all silvered o'er with white;
When lofty trees I see barren of leaves
Which erst from heat did canopy the herd,
And summer's green all girded up in sheaves,
Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard
Then of thy beauty do I question make,
That thou among the wastes of time must go,
Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake
And die as fast as they see others grow.
          And nothing 'gainst Time's scythe can make defense
          Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence.

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