Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > Poems

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

Sonnet XLV.

“The other two, slight air and purging fire”

THE OTHER two, slight air and purging fire, 
Are both with thee, wherever I abide; 
The first my thought, the other my desire, 
These present-absent with swift motion slide. 
For when these quicker elements are gone         5
In tender embassy of love to thee, 
My life, being made of four, with two alone 
Sinks down to death, oppress’d with melancholy; 
Until life’s composition be recur’d 
By those swift messengers return’d from thee,  10
Who even but now come back again, assur’d 
Of thy fair health, recounting it to me: 
  This told, I joy; but then no longer glad, 
  I send them back again, and straight grow sad. 



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