Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > Poems

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

Sonnets to Sundry Notes of Music, II.

“On a day, alack the day!”

ON a day, alack the day! 
Love, whose month was ever May, 
Spied a blossom passing fair, 
Playing in the wanton air: 
Through the velvet leaves the wind,         5
All unseen, ’gan passage find; 
That the lover, sick to death, 
Wish’d himself the heaven’s breath. 
‘Air,’ quoth he, ‘thy cheeks may blow; 
Air, would I might triumph so!  10
But, alas! my hand hath sworn 
Ne’er to pluck thee from thy thorn: 
Vow, alack! for youth unmeet: 
Youth, so apt to pluck a sweet. 
Thou for whom Jove would swear  15
Juno but an Ethiop were; 
And deny himself for Jove, 
Turning mortal for thy love.’ 



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