Verse > Anthologies > Harvard Classics > English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray
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   English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
114. Fifty-fourth Sonnet
 
William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
 
 
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        5
As the perfumèd tincture of the Roses,
Hang on such thorns, and play as wantonly
When summer’s breath their maskèd buds discloses;
But—for their virtue only is their show—
They live unwoo’d and unrespected fade,        10
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, my verse distils your truth.
 

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