William Shakespeare (26 April 1564 (baptised) – 23 April 1616) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England’s national poet and the “Bard of Avon”. His extant works, including some collaborations, consist of about 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses, the authorship of some of which is uncertain. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.
Shakespeare was born and brought up 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. He appears to have retired to Stratford around 1613, at age 49, where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare’s private life survive, which has stimulated considerable speculation about such matters as his physical appearance, sexuality, and religious beliefs, and whether the works attributed to him were written by others.
In 1593 and 1594, when the theatres were closed because of plague, Shakespeare published two narrative poems on erotic themes, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece.
Published in 1609, the Sonnets were the last of Shakespeare’s non-dramatic works to be printed. Scholars are not certain when each of the 154 sonnets was composed, but evidence suggests that Shakespeare wrote sonnets throughout his career for a private readership.
- Sonnet 102 by William Shakespeare
My love is strengthened though more weak in seeming, I love not less, though less the show appear, That love is merchandized, whose rich esteeming, The owner’s tongue doth publish every where.
- Sonnet 99
The forward violet thus did I chide, Sweet thief, whence didst thou steal thy sweet that smells, If not from my love’s breath? The purple pride Which on thy soft check for complexion dwells, In my love’s veins thou hast too grossly dyed.
- Sonnet 98
From you have I been absent in the spring, When proud-pied April (dressed in all his trim) Hath put a spirit of youth in every thing: That heavy Saturn laughed and leaped with him.
- Sonnet 97
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 bareness everywhere!
- Sonnet 96
Some say thy fault is youth, some wantonness, Some say thy grace is youth and gentle sport, Both grace and faults are loved of more and less: Thou mak’st faults graces, that to thee resort:
- Sonnet 95
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! O in what sweets dost thou thy sins enclose!
- Sonnet 94
They that have power to hurt, and will do none, That do not do the thing, they most do show, Who moving others, are themselves as stone, Unmoved, cold, and to temptation slow:
- Sonnet 93
So shall I live, supposing thou art true, Like a deceived husband, so love’s face, May still seem love to me, though altered new: Thy looks with me, thy heart in other place.
- Sonnet 92
But do thy worst to steal thy self away, For term of life thou art assured mine, And life no longer than thy love will stay, For it depends upon that love of thine.
- Sonnet 91
Some glory in their birth, some in their skill, Some in their wealth, some in their body’s force, Some in their garments though new-fangled ill: Some in their hawks and hounds, some in their horse.
- Sonnet 90
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:
- Sonnet 89
Say that thou didst forsake me for some fault, And I will comment upon that offence, Speak of my lameness, and I straight will halt: Against thy reasons making no defence.
- Sonnet 88
When thou shalt be disposed to set me light, And place my merit in the eye of scorn, Upon thy side, against my self I’ll fight, And prove thee virtuous, though thou art forsworn:
- Sonnet 87
Farewell! thou art too dear for my possessing, And like enough thou know’st thy estimate, The charter of thy worth gives thee releasing: My bonds in thee are all determinate.
- Sonnet 86
Was it the proud full sail of his great verse, Bound for the prize of (all too precious) you, That did my ripe thoughts in my brain inhearse, Making their tomb the womb wherein they grew?
- Sonnet 85
My tongue-tied muse in manners holds her still, While comments of your praise richly compiled, Reserve their character with golden quill, And precious phrase by all the Muses filed.
- Sonnet 84
Who is it that says most, which can say more, Than this rich praise, that you alone, are you? In whose confine immured is the store, Which should example where your equal grew.
- Sonnet 83
I never saw that you did painting need, And therefore to your fair no painting set, I found (or thought I found) you did exceed, That barren tender of a poet’s debt:
- Sonnet 82
I grant thou wert not married to my muse, And therefore mayst without attaint o’erlook The dedicated words which writers use Of their fair subject, blessing every book.
- Sonnet 81
Or I shall live your epitaph to make, Or you survive when I in earth am rotten, From hence your memory death cannot take, Although in me each part will be forgotten.
- Sonnet 80
O how I faint when I of you do write, Knowing a better spirit doth use your name, And in the praise thereof spends all his might, To make me tongue-tied speaking of your fame.
- Sonnet 79
Whilst I alone did call upon thy aid, My verse alone had all thy gentle grace, But now my gracious numbers are decayed, And my sick muse doth give an other place.
- Sonnet 78
So oft have I invoked thee for my muse, And found such fair assistance in my verse, As every alien pen hath got my use, And under thee their poesy disperse.
- Sonnet 77
Thy glass will show thee how thy beauties wear, Thy dial how thy precious minutes waste, These vacant leaves thy mind’s imprint will bear, And of this book, this learning mayst thou taste.
- Sonnet 76
Why is my verse so barren of new pride? So far from variation or quick change? Why with the time do I not glance aside To new-found methods, and to compounds strange?
- Sonnet 75
So are you to my thoughts as food to life, Or as sweet-seasoned showers are to the ground; And for the peace of you I hold such strife As ‘twixt a miser and his wealth is found.
- Sonnet 74
But be contented when that fell arrest, Without all bail shall carry me away, My life hath in this line some interest, Which for memorial still with thee shall stay.
- Sonnet 73
That time of year thou mayst in me behold, When yellow leaves, or none, or few do hang Upon those boughs which shake against the cold, Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
- Sonnet 72
O lest the world should task you to recite, What merit lived in me that you should love After my death (dear love) forget me quite, For you in me can nothing worthy prove.
- Sonnet 71
No longer mourn for me when I am dead, Than you shall hear the surly sullen bell Give warning to the world that I am fled From this vile world with vilest worms to dwell:
- Sonnet 70
That thou art blamed shall not be thy defect, For slander’s mark was ever yet the fair, The ornament of beauty is suspect, A crow that flies in heaven’s sweetest air.
- Sonnet 69
Those parts of thee that the world’s eye doth view, Want nothing that the thought of hearts can mend: All tongues (the voice of souls) give thee that due, Uttering bare truth, even so as foes commend.
- Sonnet 68
Thus is his cheek the map of days outworn, When beauty lived and died as flowers do now, Before these bastard signs of fair were born, Or durst inhabit on a living brow:
- Sonnet 67
Ah wherefore with infection should he live, And with his presence grace impiety, That sin by him advantage should achieve, And lace it self with his society?
- Sonnet 66
Tired with all these for restful death I cry, As to behold desert a beggar born, And needy nothing trimmed in jollity, And purest faith unhappily forsworn,
- Sonnet 65
Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea, But sad mortality o’ersways their power, How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea, Whose action is no stronger than a flower?
- Sonnet 64
When I have seen by Time’s fell hand defaced The rich-proud cost of outworn buried age, When sometime lofty towers I see down-rased, And brass eternal slave to mortal rage.
- Sonnet 63
Against my love shall be as I am now With Time’s injurious hand crushed and o’erworn, When hours have drained his blood and filled his brow With lines and wrinkles, when his youthful morn
- Sonnet 62
Sin of self-love possesseth all mine eye, And all my soul, and all my every part; And for this sin there is no remedy, It is so grounded inward in my heart.
- Sonnet 61
Is it thy will, thy image should keep open My heavy eyelids to the weary night? Dost thou desire my slumbers should be broken, While shadows like to thee do mock my sight?
- Sonnet 60
Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore, So do our minutes hasten to their end, Each changing place with that which goes before, In sequent toil all forwards do contend.
- Sonnet 59
If there be nothing new, but that which is, Hath been before, how are our brains beguiled, Which labouring for invention bear amis The second burthen of a former child!
- Sonnet 58
That god forbid, that made me first your slave, I should in thought control your times of pleasure, Or at your hand th’ account of hours to crave, Being your vassal bound to stay your leisure.
- Sonnet 57
Being your slave what should I do but tend, Upon the hours, and times of your desire? I have no precious time at all to spend; Nor services to do till you require.
- Sonnet 56
Sweet love renew thy force, be it not said Thy edge should blunter be than appetite, Which but to-day by feeding is allayed, To-morrow sharpened in his former might.
- Sonnet 53
What is your substance, whereof are you made, That millions of strange shadows on you tend? Since every one, hath every one, one shade, And you but one, can every shadow lend:
- Sonnet 52
So am I as the rich whose blessed key, Can bring him to his sweet up-locked treasure, The which he will not every hour survey, For blunting the fine point of seldom pleasure.
- Sonnet 51
Thus can my love excuse the slow offence, Of my dull bearer, when from thee I speed, From where thou art, why should I haste me thence? Till I return of posting is no need.
- Sonnet 50
How heavy do I journey on the way, When what I seek (my weary travel’s end) Doth teach that case and that repose to say ‘Thus far the miles are measured from thy friend.’
- Sonnet 49
Against that time (if ever that time come) When I shall see thee frown on my defects, When as thy love hath cast his utmost sum, Called to that audit by advised respects,
- Sonnet 48
How careful was I when I took my way, Each trifle under truest bars to thrust, That to my use it might unused stay From hands of falsehood, in sure wards of trust!
- Sonnet 47
Betwixt mine eye and heart a league is took, And each doth good turns now unto the other, When that mine eye is famished for a look, Or heart in love with sighs himself doth smother;
- Sonnet 46
Mine eye and heart are at a mortal war, How to divide the conquest of thy sight, Mine eye, my heart thy picture’s sight would bar, My heart, mine eye the freedom of that right,
- Sonnet 45
The other two, slight air, and purging fire, Are both with thee, wherever I abide, The first my thought, the other my desire, These present-absent with swift motion slide.
- Sonnet 44
If the dull substance of my flesh were thought, Injurious distance should not stop my way, For then despite of space I would be brought, From limits far remote, where thou dost stay,
- Sonnet 43
When most I wink then do mine eyes best see, For all the day they view things unrespected, But when I sleep, in dreams they look on thee, And darkly bright, are bright in dark directed.
- Sonnet 42
That thou hast her it is not all my grief, And yet it may be said I loved her dearly, That she hath thee is of my wailing chief, A loss in love that touches me more nearly.
- Sonnet 41
Those pretty wrongs that liberty commits, When I am sometime absent from thy heart, Thy beauty, and thy years full well befits, For still temptation follows where thou art.
- Sonnet 40
Take all my loves, my love, yea take them all, What hast thou then more than thou hadst before? No love, my love, that thou mayst true love call, All mine was thine, before thou hadst this more:
- Sonnet 39
O how thy worth with manners may I sing, When thou art all the better part of me? What can mine own praise to mine own self bring: And what is’t but mine own when I praise thee?
- Sonnet 38
How can my muse want subject to invent While thou dost breathe that pour’st into my verse, Thine own sweet argument, too excellent, For every vulgar paper to rehearse?
- Sonnet 37
As a decrepit father takes delight, To see his active child do deeds of youth, So I, made lame by Fortune’s dearest spite Take all my comfort of thy worth and truth.
- Sonnet 36
Let me confess that we two must be twain, Although our undivided loves are one: So shall those blots that do with me remain, Without thy help, by me be borne alone.
- Sonnet 35
No more be grieved at that which thou hast done, Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud, Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun, And loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud.
- Sonnet 34
Why didst thou promise such a beauteous day, And make me travel forth without my cloak, To let base clouds o’ertake me in my way, Hiding thy brav’ry in their rotten smoke?
- Sonnet 32
If thou survive my well-contented day, When that churl death my bones with dust shall cover And shalt by fortune once more re-survey These poor rude lines of thy deceased lover:
- Sonnet 31
Thy bosom is endeared with all hearts, Which I by lacking have supposed dead, And there reigns love and all love’s loving parts, And all those friends which I thought buried.
- Sonnet 29
When in disgrace with Fortune and men’s eyes, I all alone beweep my outcast state, And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries, And look upon my self and curse my fate,
- Sonnet 28
How can I then return in happy plight That am debarred the benefit of rest? When day’s oppression is not eased by night, But day by night and night by day oppressed.
- Sonnet 27
Weary with toil, I haste me to my bed, The dear respose for limbs with travel tired, But then begins a journey in my head To work my mind, when body’s work’s expired.
- Sonnet 26
Lord of my love, to whom in vassalage Thy merit hath my duty strongly knit; To thee I send this written embassage To witness duty, not to show my wit.
- Sonnet 24
Mine eye hath played the painter and hath stelled, Thy beauty’s form in table of my heart, My body is the frame wherein ’tis held, And perspective it is best painter’s art.
- Sonnet 23
As an unperfect actor on the stage, Who with his fear is put beside his part, Or some fierce thing replete with too much rage, Whose strength’s abundance weakens his own heart;
- Sonnet 22
My glass shall not persuade me I am old, So long as youth and thou are of one date, But when in thee time’s furrows I behold, Then look I death my days should expiate.
- Sonnet 21
So is it not with me as with that muse, Stirred by a painted beauty to his verse, Who heaven it self for ornament doth use, And every fair with his fair doth rehearse,
- Sonnet 20
A woman’s face with nature’s own hand painted, Hast thou the master mistress of my passion, A woman’s gentle heart but not acquainted With shifting change as is false women’s fashion,
- Sonnet 19
Devouring Time blunt thou the lion’s paws, And make the earth devour her own sweet brood, Pluck the keen teeth from the fierce tiger’s jaws, And burn the long-lived phoenix, in her blood,
- Sonnet 17
Who will believe my verse in time to come If it were filled with your most high deserts? Though yet heaven knows it is but as a tomb Which hides your life, and shows not half your parts:
- Sonnet 16
But wherefore do not you a mightier way Make war upon this bloody tyrant Time? And fortify your self in your decay With means more blessed than my barren rhyme?
- Sonnet 15
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.
- Sonnet 13
O that you were your self, but love you are No longer yours, than you your self here live, Against this coming end you should prepare, And your sweet semblance to some other give.
- Sonnet 11
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,
- Sonnet 9
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,
- Sonnet 8
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?
- Sonnet 7
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,
- Sonnet 6
Then let not winter’s ragged hand deface, In thee thy summer ere thou be distilled: Make sweet some vial; treasure thou some place, With beauty’s treasure ere it be self-killed:
- Sonnet 5
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:
- Sonnet 4
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:
- Sonnet 3
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.
- Sonnet 2
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 tattered weed of small worth held:
- Sonnets 25: Let Those Who Are In Favour
Let those who are in favour with their stars Of public honour and proud titles boast, Whilst I, whom fortune of such triumph bars, Unlook’d for joy in that I honour most.
- Sonnets 30: When To The Sessions of Sweet
When to the sessions of sweet silent thought I summon up remembrance of things past, I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought, And with old woes new wail my dear time’s waste:
- Sonnets 33: Full Many A Glorious Morning
Full many a glorious morning have I seen Flatter the mountain-tops with sovereign eye, Kissing with golden face the meadows green, Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy;
- Spring and Winter
When daisies pied and violets blue, And lady-smocks all silver-white, And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue Do paint the meadows with delight,
- St. Crispin’s Day Speech
WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here But one ten thousand of those men in England That do no work to-day! KING. What’s he that wishes so?
When daisies pied, and violets blue, And lady-smocks all silver-white, And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue Do paint the meadows with delight,
O MISTRESS mine, where are you roaming? O, stay and hear! your true love ‘s coming, That can sing both high and low: Trip no further, pretty sweeting;
- The Blossom
On a day–alack the day!– Love, whose month is ever May, Spied a blossom passing fair Playing in the wanton air:
- Take, O Take Those Lips Away
Take, O take those lips away, That so sweetly were forsworn; And those eyes, the break of day, Lights that do mislead the morn!
- That Time of Year Thou Mayst in Me Behold
That time of year thou mayst in me behold When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang Upon those boughs which shake against the cold, Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
- The Dark Lady Sonnets
In the old age black was not counted fair, Or if it were, it bore not beauty’s name; But now is black beauty’s successive heir, And beauty slandered with a bastard shame:
- The Passionate Pilgrim
When my love swears that she is made of truth, I do believe her, though I know she lies, That she might think me some untutor’d youth, Unskilful in the world’s false forgeries,
- The Phoenix and the Turtle
Let the bird of loudest lay, On the sole Arabian tree, Herald sad and trumpet be, To whose sound chaste wings obey.
- The Procreation Sonnets (1 – 17)
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:
- The Quality of Mercy
The quality of mercy is not strain’d. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest: It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes.
- The Rival Poet Sonnets (78 – 86)
So oft have I invoked thee for my Muse, And found such fair assistance in my verse As every alien pen hath got my use And under thee their poesy disperse.
- To be, or not to be: that is the question
To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them?
- To Me, Fair Friend, You Never Can Be Old
To me, fair Friend, you never can be old, For as you were when first your eye I eyed Such seems your beauty still, Three winters’ cold Have from the forests shook three summers’ pride; Three beauteous springs to yellow autmun turn’d In process of the seasons have I seen, Three April perfumes in three hot ...
- Twelve O’Clock
Through the house give glimmering light By the dead and drowsy fire;
- Under the Greenwood Tree
Under the greenwood tree Who loves to lie with me, And turn his merry note Unto the sweet bird’s throat,
- Witches Chant
Round about the couldron go: In the poisones entrails throw. Toad,that under cold stone
When icicles hang by the wall And Dick the shepherd blows his nail And Tom bears logs into the hall,
- Sonnet 110: Alas, ’tis true, I have gone here
Alas, ’tis true, I have gone here and there, And made myself a motley to the view, Gored mine own thoughts, sold cheap what is most dear, Made old offences of affections new.
- Sonnet 111: O, for my sake do you with
O, for my sake do you with Fortune chide, The guilty goddess of my harmful deeds, That did not better for my life provide Than public means which public manners breeds.
- Sonnet 112: Your love and pity doth
Your love and pity doth th’ impression fill Which vulgar scandal stamped upon my brow; For what care I who calls me well or ill, So you o’ergreen my bad, my good allow?
- Sonnet 113: Since I left you
Since I left you, mine eye is in my mind, And that which governs me to go about Doth part his function, and is partly blind, Seems seeing, but effectually is out;
- Sonnet 114: Or whether doth my mind
Or whether doth my mind, being crowned with you, Drink up the monarch’s plague, this flattery? Or whether shall I say mine eye saith true, And that your love taught it this alchemy,
- Sonnet 115: Those lines that I before have
Those lines that I before have writ do lie, Even those that said I could not love you dearer; Yet then my judgment knew no reason why My most full flame should afterwards burn clearer,
- Sonnet 116: Let me not to the marriage
Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments. Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove.
- Sonnet 118: Like as to make our appetite
Like as to make our appetite more keen With eager compounds we our palate urge, As to prevent our maladies unseen, We sicken to shun sickness when we purge.
- Sonnet 119: What potions have I drunk
What potions have I drunk of Siren tears, Distilled from limbecks foul as hell within, Applying fears to hopes, and hopes to fears, Still losing when I saw my self to win!
- Sonnet 12: When I do count
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;
- Sonnet 130
My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun; Coral is far more red than her lips’ red; If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun; If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
- Lover And His Lass
IT was a lover and his lass, With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino, That o’er the green corn-field did pass, In the spring time, the only pretty ring time, When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding; Sweet lovers love the spring.
- Sonnet 100
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, Darkening thy power to lend base subjects light?
- Sonnet 55
Not marble nor the gilded monuments Of princes shall outlive this powerful rhyme; But you shall shine more bright in these contents Than unswept stone, besmear’d with sluttish time.
- Sonnet 10
For shame, deny that thou bear’st love to any Who for thy self art so unprovident. Grant, if thou wilt, thou art beloved of many, But that thou none lov’st is most evident;
- Sonnet 14
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;
- I Was False of Heart
O never say that I was false of heart, Though absence seem’d my flame to qualify: As easy might I from myself depart As from my soul, which in thy breast doth lie;
- Juliet’s Soliloquy
Farewell!–God knows when we shall meet again. I have a faint cold fear thrills through my veins That almost freezes up the heat of life:
- Sonnet 18
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate. Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.
- Sonet 54
O, how much more doth beauty beauteous seem By that sweet ornament which truth doth give! The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem For that sweet odour which doth in it live.
- Sigh No More
Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more, Men were deceivers ever; One foot in sea, and one on shore, To one thing constant never.
- My Co-mates And Brothers
Now, my co-mates and brothers in exile, Hath not old customs make this life more sweet Than that of painted pomp? Are not these woods More free from peril than the envious court!
- How Like A Winter Hath
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 bareness everywhere!
- Sonnet 101
O truant Muse, what shall be thy amends For thy neglect of truth in beauty dyed? Both truth and beauty on my love depends; So dost thou too, and therein dignified.
- Sonnet 1
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:
Orpheus with his lute made trees And the mountain tops that freeze Bow themselves when he did sing: To his music plants and flowers Ever sprung; as sun and showers There had made a lasting spring.
Who is Silvia? What is she? That all our swains commend her? Holy, fair, and wise is she; The heaven such grace did lend her, That she might admired be.
Tell me where is Fancy bred, Or in the heart or in the head? How begot, how nourished? Reply, reply.
- A Fairy Song
Over hill, over dale, Thorough bush, thorough brier, Over park, over pale, Thorough flood, thorough fire!
- Dirge of the Three Queens
Urns and odours bring away! Vapours, sighs, darken the day! Our dole more deadly looks than dying;
- From you have I been absent in the spring
From you have I been absent in the spring, When proud-pied April, dressed in all his trim, Hath put a spirit of youth in everything, That heavy Saturn laughed and leaped with him,
Hark! hark! the lark at heaven’s gate sings, And Phoebus ‘gins arise, His steeds to water at those springs On chaliced flowers that lies;
- Fear No More
Fear no more the heat o’ the sun; Nor the furious winter’s rages, Thou thy worldly task hast done, Home art gone, and ta’en thy wages; Golden lads and girls all must, As chimney sweepers come to dust.
- All the World’s a Stage
All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts,
- Venus and Adonis
But, lo! from forth a copse that neighbours by, A breeding jennet, lusty, young, and proud, Adonis’ trampling courser doth espy, And forth she rushes, snorts and neighs aloud; The strong-neck’d steed, being tied unto a tree, Breaketh his rein, and to her straight goes he.
- Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind
Blow, blow, thou winter wind Thou art not so unkind As man’s ingratitude; Thy tooth is not so keen, Because thou art not seen, Although thy breath be rude.
- Hark! Hark! The Lark
Hark! hark! the lark at heaven’s gate sings, And Phoebus ‘gins arise, His steeds to water at those springs On chalic’d flowers that lies;
- Fairy Land V
Full fathom five thy father lies; Of his bones are coral made; Those are pearls that were his eyes: Nothing of him that doth fade,
- Fairy Land IV
Where the bee sucks, there suck I: In a cowslip’s bell I lie; There I couch when owls do cry.
- Fairy Land III
Come unto these yellow sands, And then take hands: Court’sied when you have, and kiss’d,– The wild waves whist,–
- Fairy Land II
You spotted snakes with double tongue, Thorny hedgehogs, be not seen; Newts and blind-worms, do no wrong; Come not near our fairy queen.
- Fairy Land I
Over hill, over dale, Thorough bush, thorough brier, Over park, over pale, Thorough flood, thorough fire,
- A Lover’s Complaint
From off a hill whose concave womb reworded A plaintful story from a sistering vale, My spirits to attend this double voice accorded, And down I laid to list the sad-tuned tale; Ere long espied a fickle maid full pale, Tearing of papers, breaking rings a-twain, Storming her world with sorrow’s wind and rain.
- A Madrigal
Crabbed Age and Youth Cannot live together: Youth is full of pleasance, Age is full of care;
- Full Fathom Five
Full fathom five thy father lies; Of his bones are coral made; Those are pearls that were his eyes: Nothing of him that doth fade
Come away, come away, death, And in sad cypres let me be laid; Fly away, fly away, breath; I am slain by a fair cruel maid.
Fear no more the heat o’ the sun, Nor the furious winter’s rages; Thou thy worldly task hast done, Home art gone, and ta’en thy wages: Golden lads and girls all must, As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.
- Bridal Song
Roses, their sharp spines being gone, Not royal in their smells alone, But in their hue; Maiden pinks, of odor faint, Daisies smell-less, yet most quaint, And sweet thyme true;