Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > Poems

William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Oxford Shakespeare: Poems.  1914.

Sonnet XVII.

“Who will believe my verse in time to come”

WHO will believe my verse in time to come 
If it were fill’d with your most high deserts? 
Though yet, heaven knows, it is but as a tomb 
Which hides your life and shows not half your parts. 
If I could write the beauty of your eyes         5
And in fresh numbers number all your graces, 
The age to come would say, ‘This poet lies; 
Such heavenly touches ne’er touch’d earthly faces.’ 
So should my papers, yellow’d with their age, 
Be scorn’d, like old men of less truth than tongue,  10
And your true rights be term’d a poet’s rage 
And stretched metre of an antique song: 
  But were some child of yours alive that time, 
  You should live twice,—in it and in my rime. 



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