Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > Poems

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

Sonnet XCVII.

“How like a winter hath my absence been”

HOW like a winter hath my absence been 
From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year! 
What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen! 
What old December’s bareness every where! 
And yet this time remov’d was summer’s time;         5
The teeming autumn, big with rich increase, 
Bearing the wanton burden of the prime, 
Like widow’d wombs after their lords’ decease: 
Yet this abundant issue seem’d to me 
But hope of orphans and unfather’d fruit;  10
For summer and his pleasures wait on thee, 
And, thou away, the very birds are mute: 
  Or, if they sing, ’tis with so dull a cheer, 
  That leaves look pale, dreading the winter’s near. 



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