Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > Poems

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

Sonnet XVI.

“But wherefore do not you a mightier way”

BUT wherefore do not you a mightier way 
Make war upon this bloody tyrant, Time? 
And fortify yourself in your decay 
With means more blessed than my barren rime? 
Now stand you on the top of happy hours,         5
And many maiden gardens, yet unset, 
With virtuous wish would bear you living flowers 
Much liker than your painted counterfeit: 
So should the lines of life that life repair, 
Which this, Time’s pencil, or my pupil pen,  10
Neither in inward worth nor outward fair, 
Can make you live yourself in eyes of men. 
  To give away yourself keeps yourself still; 
  And you must live, drawn by your own sweet skill. 



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