Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > Poems

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

Sonnet LXIV.

“When I have seen by Time’s fell hand defac’d”

WHEN I have seen by Time’s fell hand defac’d 
The rich-proud cost of outworn buried age; 
When sometime lofty towers I see down-raz’d, 
And brass eternal slave to mortal rage; 
When I have seen the hungry ocean gain         5
Advantage on the kingdom of the shore, 
And the firm soil win of the watery main, 
Increasing store with loss, and loss with store; 
When I have seen such interchange of state, 
Or state itself confounded to decay;  10
Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate— 
That Time will come and take my love away. 
  This thought is as a death, which cannot choose 
  But weep to have that which it fears to lose. 



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