Verse > Anthologies > Elizabethan Sonnets > Idea
Seccombe and Arber, comps.  Elizabethan Sonnets.  1904.
Sonnet 13. Letters and lines, we see are soon defaced
Michael Drayton (1563–1631)
[First printed in 1594 (No. 21), and in all later editions.]

To the Shadow

LETTERS and lines, we see are soon defaced.
Metals do waste and fret with canker’s rust.
The diamond shall once consume to dust;
And freshest colours, with foul stains disgraced.
  Paper and ink can paint but naked words.        5
To write with blood, of force offends the sight.
And if with tears, I find them all too light:
And sighs and signs, a silly hope afford:
  O sweetest Shadow, how thou serv’st my turn!
Which still shalt be, as long as there is sun,        10
Nor whilst the world is, never shall be done;
Whilst moon shall shine, or any fire shall burn:
  That everything whence shadow doth proceed,
  May in his shadow, my Love’s story read.

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