Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Elizabethan Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Elizabethan Verse.  1907.
 
To Me, Fair Friend, You Never Can Be Old
By William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
 
TO 1 me, fair friend, you never can be old;
For as you were when first your eye I eyed, 2
Such seems your beauty still. Three winters cold
Have from the forests shook three summers’ pride; 3
Three beauteous springs to yellow autumn turn’d        5
In process of the seasons have I seen,
Three April perfumes in three hot Junes burn’d,
Since first I saw you fresh, which yet are green.
Ah! yet doth beauty, like a dial-hand,
Steal from his figure, 4 and no pace perceived;        10
So your sweet hue, which methinks still doth stand,
Hath motion, and mine eye may be deceived.
  For fear of which, hear this, thou age unbred:
  Ere you were born was beauty’s summer dead.
 
Note 1. Sonnet civ., in Shake-speare’s Sonnettes, 1609. [back]
Note 2. Eyed: Cf. “I ear’d her language,” in The Two Noble Kinsmen. [back]
Note 3. Three summers’ pride: Cf. Romeo and Juliet, act i. sc. 2: “Let two more summers wither in their pride.” [back]
Note 4. Steal from his figure: creeps from his figure as the dial. So in Sonnet lxxvii., “thy dial’s shady stealth.” [back]
 
 
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