Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > Poems

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

Sonnet XX.

“A woman’s face with Nature’s own hand painted”

A WOMAN’S face with Nature’s own hand painted 
Hast thou, the master-mistress of my passion; 
A woman’s gentle heart, but not acquainted 
With shifting change, as is false women’s fashion: 
An eye more bright than theirs, less false in rolling,         5
Gilding the object whereupon it gazeth; 
A man in hue all hues in his controlling, 
Which steals men’s eyes and women’s souls amazeth. 
And for a woman wert thou first created; 
Till Nature, as she wrought thee, fell a-doting,  10
And by addition me of thee defeated, 
By adding one thing to my purpose nothing. 
  But since she prick’d thee out for women’s pleasure, 
  Mine be thy love, and thy love’s use their treasure. 



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