Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > Poems

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

Sonnet XI.

“As fast as thou shalt wane, so fast thou grow’st”

AS fast as thou shalt wane, so fast thou grow’st 
In one of thine, from that which thou departest; 
And that fresh blood which youngly thou bestow’st 
Thou mayst call thine when thou from youth convertest. 
Herein lives wisdom, beauty, and increase;         5
Without this, folly, age and cold decay: 
If all were minded so, the times should cease 
And threescore year would make the world away. 
Let those whom Nature hath not made for store, 
Harsh, featureless, and rude, barrenly perish:  10
Look, whom she best endow’d she gave the more; 
Which bounteous gift thou shouldst in bounty cherish: 
  She carv’d thee for her seal, and meant thereby 
  Thou shouldst print more, not let that copy die. 



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