Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > Poems

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

Sonnet LXXX.

“O! how I faint when I of you do write”

O! HOW I faint when I of you do write 
Knowing a better spirit doth use your name, 
And in the praise thereof spends all his might, 
To make me tongue-tied, speaking of your fame! 
But since your worth—wide as the ocean is,—         5
The humble as the proudest sail doth bear, 
My saucy bark, inferior far to his, 
On your broad main doth wilfully appear. 
Your shallowest help will hold me up afloat, 
Whilst he upon your soundless deep doth ride;  10
Or, being wrack’d, I am a worthless boat, 
He of tall building and of goodly pride: 
  Then if he thrive and I be cast away, 
  The worst was this;—my love was my decay. 



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