William Shakespeare Romantic Poems

William Shakespeare Romantic Poems

  • WHEN in the chronicle of wasted time
    I see descriptions of the fairest wights,
    And beauty making beautiful old rime
    In praise of Ladies dead and lovely Knights;
    Then, in the blazon of sweet beauty’s best,
    Of hand, of foot, of lip, of eye, of brow,
    I see their antique pen would have exprest
    Even such a beauty as you master now.
    So all their praises are but prophecies
    Of this our time, all you prefiguring;
    And for they look’d but with divining eyes,
    They had not skill enough your worth to sing:
    For we, which now behold these present days,
    Have eyes to wonder, but lack tongues to praise.
  • That god forbid that made me first your slave,
    I should in thought control your times of pleasure,
    Or at your hand the account of hours to crave,
    Being your vassal, bound to stay your leisure!
    O, let me suffer, being at your beck,
    The imprison’d absence of your liberty;
    And patience, tame to sufferance, bide each cheque,
    Without accusing you of injury.
    Be where you list, your charter is so strong
    That you yourself may privilege your time
    To what you will; to you it doth belong
    Yourself to pardon of self-doing crime.
    I am to wait, though waiting so be hell;
    Not blame your pleasure, be it ill or well.
  • 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.
    Nativity, once in the main of light,
    Crawls to maturity, wherewith being crown’d,
    Crooked elipses ‘gainst his glory fight,
    And Time that gave doth now his gift confound.
    Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth
    And delves the parallels in beauty’s brow,
    Feeds on the rarities of nature’s truth,
    And nothing stands but for his scythe to mow:
    And yet to times in hope my verse shall stand,
    Praising thy worth, despite his cruel hand.
  • POOR soul, the centre of my sinful earth–
    My sinful earth these rebel powers array–
    Why dost thou pine within and suffer dearth,
    Painting thy outward walls so costly gay?
    Why so large cost, having so short a lease,
    Dost thou upon thy fading mansion spend?
    Shall worms, inheritors of this excess,
    Eat up thy charge? Is this thy body’s end?
    Then, soul, live thou upon thy servant’s loss,
    And let that pine to aggravate thy store;
    Buy terms divine in selling hours of dross;
    Within be fed, without be rich no more:
    So shalt thou feed on Death, that feeds on men;
    And Death once dead, there ‘s no more dying then.
  • 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.
    Thine eyes, that taught the dumb on high to sing
    And heavy ignorance aloft to fly,
    Have added feathers to the learned’s wing
    And given grace a double majesty.
    Yet be most proud of that which I compile,
    Whose influence is thine, and born of thee:
    In others’ works thou dost but mend the style,
    And arts with thy sweet graces graced be;
    But thou art all my art, and dost advance
    As high as learning my rude ignorance.
  • Whilst I alone did call upon thy aid,
    My verse alone had all thy gentle grace;
    But now my gracious numbers are decay’d,
    And my sick Muse doth give an other place.
    I grant, sweet love, thy lovely argument
    Deserves the travail of a worthier pen;
    Yet what of thee thy poet doth invent
    He robs thee of, and pays it thee again.
    He lends thee virtue, and he stole that word
    From thy behaviour; beauty doth he give,
    And found it in thy cheek: he can afford
    No praise to thee, but what in thee doth live.
    Then thank him not for that which he doth say,
    Since what he owes thee, thou thyself dost pay.
  • 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.
    But since your worth, wide as the ocean is,
    The humble as the proudest sail doth bear,
    My saucy bark, inferior far to his,
    On your broad main doth wilfully appear.
    Your shallowest help will hold me up afloat,
    Whilst he upon your soundless deep doth ride;
    Or, being wrack’d, I am a worthless boat,
    He of tall building, and of goodly pride:
    Then if he thrive and I be cast away,
    The worst was this, my love was my decay.
  • 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.
    Your name from hence immortal life shall have,
    Though I, once gone, to all the world must die:
    The earth can yield me but a common grave,
    When you entombed in men’s eyes shall lie.
    Your monument shall be my gentle verse,
    Which eyes not yet created shall o’er-read;
    And tongues to be, your being shall rehearse,
    When all the breathers of this world are dead;
    You still shall live, such virtue hath my pen,
    Where breath most breathes, even in the mouths of men.
  • 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.
    Thou art as fair in knowledge as in hue,
    Finding thy worth a limit past my praise;
    And therefore art enforced to seek anew
    Some fresher stamp of the time-bettering days.
    And do so, love; yet when they have devis’d,
    What strained touches rhetoric can lend,
    Thou truly fair, wert truly sympathiz’d
    In true plain words, by thy true-telling friend;
    And their gross painting might be better usd
    Where cheeks need blood; in thee it is abusd.
  • 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?
    Was it his spirit, by spirits taught to write
    Above a mortal pitch, that struck me dead?
    No, neither he, nor his compeers by night
    Giving him aid, my verse astonished.
    He, nor that affable familiar ghost
    Which nightly gulls him with intelligence
    As victors of my silence cannot boast;
    I was not sick of any fear from thence:
    But when your countenance fill’d up his line,
    Then lack’d I matter; that enfeebled mine.
  • Those petty 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.
    Gentle thou art and therefore to be won,
    Beauteous thou art, therefore to be assailed;
    And when a woman woos, what woman’s son
    Will sourly leave her till she have prevailed?
    Ay me! but yet thou mightest my seat forbear,
    And chide try beauty and thy straying youth,
    Who lead thee in their riot even there
    Where thou art forced to break a twofold truth,
    Hers by thy beauty tempting her to thee,
    Thine, by thy beauty being false to me.
  • No longer mourn for me when I am dead
    Then 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:
    Nay, if you read this line, remember not
    The hand that writ it; for I love you so
    That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot
    If thinking on me then should make you woe.
    O, if, I say, you look upon this verse
    When I perhaps compounded am with clay,
    Do not so much as my poor name rehearse.
    But let your love even with my life decay,
    Lest the wise world should look into your moan
    And mock you with me after I am gone.
  • And let me the canakin clink, clink;
    And let me the canakin clink
    A soldier’s a man;
    A life’s but a span;
    Why, then, let a soldier drink.
  • 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-liv’d Phoenix in her blood;
    Make glad and sorry seasons as thou fleets,
    And do whate’er thou wilt, swift-footed Time,
    To the wide world and all her fading sweets;
    But I forbid thee one more heinous crime:
    O, carve not with the hours my love’s fair brow,
    Nor draw no lines there with thine antique pen!
    Him in thy course untainted do allow
    For beauty’s pattern to succeeding men.
    Yet do thy worst, old Time! Despite thy wrong
    My love shall in my verse ever live young.
  • 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:
    Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow,
    For precious friends hid in death’s dateless night,
    And weep afresh love’s long-since-cancell’d woe,
    And moan th’ expense of many a vanish’d sight:
    Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
    And heavily from woe to woe tell o’er
    The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
    Which I new pay as if not paid before.
    But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
    All losses are restored and sorrows end.
  • Marcellus to Horatio and Bernardo, after seeing the Ghost,Some say that ever ‘gainst that season comes
    Wherein our Saviour’s birth is celebrated,
    This bird of dawning singeth all night long;
    And then, they say, no spirit dare stir abroad,
    The nights are wholesome, then no planets strike,
    No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,
    So hallow’d and so gracious is the time.

1 thought on “William Shakespeare Romantic Poems

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