Ten “Love Poems” by William Shakespeare

 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;
Journeys end in lovers meeting,
Every wise man's son doth know.
What is love? 'Tis not hereafter;
Present mirth hath present laughter;
What's to come is still unsure:
In delay there lies not plenty;
Then, come kiss me, sweet and twenty,
Youth's a stuff will not endure.

Take, O Take

TAKE, O take those lips away  
That so sweetly were forsworn,  
And those eyes, the break of day,  
Lights that do mislead the morn:  
But my kisses bring again,         
      Bring again—  
Seals of love, but seal’d in vain,  
      Seal’d in vain!

Love Sonnet 154

The little Love-god lying once asleep
Laid by his side his heart-inflaming brand,
Whilst many nymphs that vow'd chaste life to keep
Came tripping by; but in her maiden hand
The fairest votary took up that fire
Which many legions of true hearts had warm'd;
And so the general of hot desire
Was sleeping by a virgin hand disarm'd.
This brand she quenched in a cool well by,
Which from Love's fire took heat perpetual,
Growing a bath and healthful remedy
For men diseased; but I, my mistress' thrall,
Came there for cure, and this by that I prove,
Love's fire heats water, water cools not love.

Love 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:
But thou contracted to thine own bright eyes,
Feed'st thy light's flame with self-substantial fuel,
Making a famine where abundance lies,
Thy self 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.
Love Sonnet 2
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 couldst 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.

Love 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:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.


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 myself and curse my fate,

Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,

Featur’d like him, like him with friends possess’d,

Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,

With what I most enjoy contented least;

Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,

Haply I think on thee, and then my state,

Like to the lark at break of day arising

From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;

For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings

That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

Love 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.

Then if for my love thou my love receivest,

I cannot blame thee for my love thou usest;

But yet be blamed, if thou thyself deceivest

By wilful taste of what thyself refusest.

I do forgive thy robbery, gentle thief,

Although thou steal thee all my poverty;

And yet, love knows, it is a greater grief

To bear love’s wrong than hate’s known injury.

Lascivious grace, in whom all ill well shows,

Kill me with spites; yet we must not be foes.

Love 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.

No matter then although my foot did stand

Upon the farthest earth removed from thee.

For nimble thought can jump both sea and land

As soon as think the place where he would be.

But, ah, thought kills me, that I am not thought,

To leap large length of miles when thou art gone,

But that, so much of earth and water wrought,

I must attend times leisure with my moan,

Receiving naught by elements so slow

But heavy tears, badges of either’s woe.

Love 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.

When wasteful war shall statues overturn,

   And broils root out the work of masonry,

Nor Mars his sword nor war’s quick fire shall burn

   The living record of your memory.

‘Gainst death and all oblivious enmity

   Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room,

Even in the eyes of all posterity

   That wear this world out to the ending doom.

So, till the judgment that yourself arise,

   You live in this, and dwell in lovers’ eyes.

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