Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > Poems

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

Sonnet CIII.

“Alack! what poverty my Muse brings forth”

ALACK! what poverty my Muse brings forth 
That having such a scope to show her pride, 
The argument, all bare, is of more worth 
Than when it hath my added praise beside! 
O! blame me not, if I no more can write!         5
Look in your glass, and there appears a face 
That over-goes my blunt invention quite, 
Dulling my lines and doing me disgrace. 
Were it not sinful then, striving to mend, 
To mar the subject that before was well?  10
For to no other pass my verses tend 
Than of your graces and your gifts to tell; 
  And more, much more, than in my verse can sit, 
  Your own glass shows you when you look in it. 



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