Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > Poems

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

Sonnet LI.

“Thus can my love excuse the slow offence”

THUS can my love excuse the slow offence 
Of my dull bearer when from thee I speed: 
From where thou art why should I haste me thence? 
Till I return, of posting is no need. 
O! what excuse will my poor beast then find,         5
When swift extremity can seem but slow? 
Then should I spur, though mounted on the wind, 
In winged speed no motion shall I know: 
Then can no horse with my desire keep pace; 
Therefore desire, of perfect’st love being made,  10
Shall neigh—no dull flesh—in his fiery race; 
But love, for love, thus shall excuse my jade,— 
  ‘Since from thee going he went wilful-slow, 
  Towards thee I ’ll run, and give him leave to go.’ 



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