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.
 
135. One Hundred and Twenty-ninth Sonnet
 
William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
 
 
TH’ EXPENSE of Spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action; and till action, lust
Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust;
Enjoy’d no sooner but despisèd straight;        5
Past reason hunted; and, no sooner had,
Past reason hated, as a swallow’d bait
On purpose laid to make the taker mad:
Mad in pursuit, and in possession so;
A bliss in proof, and proved, a very woe;        10
Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream.
  All this the world well knows; yet none knows well
  To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.
 

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