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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 eclipses '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.
Against my love shall be as I am now,
With time's injurious hand crush'd and o'er-worn;
When hours have drain'd his blood, and fill'd his brow
With lines and wrinkles; when his youthful morn
Hath travel'd on to age's steepy night,
And all those beauties, whereof now he's king,
Are vanishing, or vanish'd out of sight,
Stealing away the treasure of his spring :
For such a time do I now fortify,
Against confounding age's cruel knife,
That he shall never cut from memory
My sweet love's beauty, though my lover's life.
His beauty shall in these black lines be seen,
And they shall live, and he in them still green.
When I have seen, by time's fell hand defac'd,
The rich proud cost of out-worn bury'd age:
When sometimes lofty towers I see down raz'd
And brass eternal slave to mortal rage;
When I have seen the hungry ocean gain
Advantage on the kingdom of the shore,
And the firm soil win of the wat❜ry main,
Increasing store with loss, and loss with store;
When I have seen such interchange of state,
Or state itself confounded, to decay :
Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate,
That time will come and take my love away.
This thought is as a death, which cannot chuse
But weep to have that which it fears to lose.
Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea, But sad mortality o'er-sways their power:
How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea,
Whose action is no stronger than a flower;
O! how shall summer's hungry breath hold out
Against the wrackful siege of battering days;
When rocks impregnable are not so stout,
Nor gates of steel so strong, but time decays?
O! fearful meditation! where, alack!
Shall time's best jewel from time's chest lie hid;
Or what strong hand can hold this swift foot back,
Or who his spoil on beauty can forbid ?
O! none! unless this miracle have might,
That in black ink my love may still shine bright.
Tir'd with all these, for restful death I cry ;
As to behold desert a beggar borne,
And needy nothing trimm'd in jollity,
And purest faith unhappily forsworn,
And gilded honour shamefully misplac'd,
And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted,
And right protection wrongfully disgrac'd,
And strength by limping sway disabled,
And art made tongue-ty'd by authority,
And folly (doctor-like) controuling skill,
And simple truth miscall'd simplicity,
And captive Good attending captain Ill?
Tir'd with all these, from these would I begone,
Save that to die, I leave my love alone.
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?
Describe ADONIS, and the counterfeit
Is poorly imitated after you;
On HELEN'S cheek all art of beauty set,
And you in Grecian tires are painted new,
Speak of the spring and foyzen of the year,
The one doth shadow of your beauty show,
The other as your bounty doth appear,
And you in every blessed shape we know :
In all external grace you have some part,
But you like none, none you, for constant heart.
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.
The canker-blooms have full as deep a dye,
As the perfumed tincture of the roses,
Hang on such thorns, and play as wantonly,
When summer's breath their masked buds discloses :
But, for their virtue's only in their show,
They live unmov'd, and unrespected fade,
Die to themselves: sweet roses do not so,
Of their sweet deaths are sweetest odours made.
And so of you, beauteous and lovely youth,
When that shall fade, by verse distils your truth.