Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > Poems

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

Sonnet XII.

“When I do count the clock that tells the time”

WHEN I do count the clock that tells the time 
And see the brave day sunk in hideous night; 
When I behold the violet past prime, 
And sable curls, all silver’d o’er with white; 
When lofty trees I see barren of leaves,         5
Which erst from heat did canopy the herd, 
And summer’s green all girded up in sheaves, 
Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard, 
Then of thy beauty do I question make, 
That thou among the wastes of time must go,  10
Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake 
And die as fast as they see others grow; 
  And nothing ’gainst Time’s scythe can make defence 
  Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence. 



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