Since there's no help, come let us kiss and part.
All feathered things yet ever known to men,
From the huge Rucke, unto the little Wren;
From Forrest, Fields, from Rivers and from Pons,
All that have webs, or cloven-footed ones;
To the Grand Arke, together friendly came,
Whose several species were too long to name
To the Reader of These Sonnets
Into these Loves who but for Passion looks,
At this first sight here let him lay them by
And seek elsewhere, in turning other books,
Which better may his labor satisfy.
No far-fetch'd sigh shall ever wound my breast,
Love from mine eye a tear shall never wring,
Nor in Ah me's my whining sonnets drest;
A libertine, fantasticly I sing.
My verse is the true image of my mind,
Ever in motion, still desiring change,
And as thus to variety inclin'd,
So in all humours sportively I range.
My Muse is rightly of the English strain,
That cannot long one fashion entertain.
Sonnet LXII: When First I Ended
When first I ended, then I first began,
The more I travell'd, further from my rest,
Where most I lost, there most of all I wan,
Pined with hunger rising from a feast.
Methinks I fly, yet want I legs to go,
Wise in conceit, in act a very sot,
Ravish'd with joy amid a hell of woe;
What most I seem, that surest am I not.
I build my hopes a world above the sky,
Yet with the mole I creep into the earth;
In plenty I am starv'd with penury,
And yet I surfeit in the greatest dearth.
I have, I want, despair and yet desire,
Burn'd in a sea of ice and drown'd amidst a fire.
Sonnet XLII: Some Men There Be
Some men there be which like my method well
And much commend the strangeness of my vein;
Some say I have a passing pleasing strain;
Some say that im my humor I excel;
Some, who not kindly relish my conceit,
They say, as poets do, I use to feign,
And in bare words paint out my passion's pain.
Thus sundry men their sundry words repeat;
I pass not, I, how men affected be,
Nor who commends or discommends my verse;
It pleaseth me, if I my woes rehearse,
And in my lines if she my love may see.
Only my comfort still consists in this,
Writing her praise I cannot write amiss.
Sonnet XLVII: In Pride of Wit
In pride of wit when high desire of fame
Gave life and courage to my laboring pen,
And first the sound and virtue of my name
Won grace and credit in the ears of men,
With those the thronged theatres that press
I in the circuit for the laurel strove,
Where the full praise, I freely must confess,
In heat of blood a modest mind might move,
With shouts and claps at every little pause
When the proud round on every side hath rung,
Sadly I sit, unmov'd with the applause,
As though to me it nothing did belong.
No public glory vainly I pursue;
All that I seek is to eternize you.
Sonnet III: Taking My Pen
Taking my pen, with words to cast my woe,
Duly to count the sum of all my cares,
I find my griefs innumerable grow,
The reckonings rise to millions of despairs;
And thus dividing of my fatal hours,
The payments of my love I read and cross,
Subtracting, set my sweets unto my sours,
My joy's arrearage leads me to my loss;
And thus mine eye's a debtor to thine eye,
Which by extortion gaineth all their looks;
My heart hath paid such grievous usury
That all their wealth lies in thy beauty's books,
And all is thine which hath been due to me,
And I a bankrupt, quite undone by thee.
Sonnet XXVII: Is Not Love Here
Is not Love here as 'tis in other climes,
And differeth it, as do the several nations?
Or hath it lost the virtue with the times,
Or in this island altereth with the fashions?
Or have our passions lesser power than theirs,
Who had less art them lively to express?
Is Nature grown less powerful in their heirs,
Or in our fathers did she more transgress?
I am sure my sighs come from a heart as true
As any man's that memory can boast,
And my respects and services to you
Equal with his that loves his mistress most.
Or nature must be partial to my cause,
Or only you do violate her laws.
Sonnet XXXIX: Some, When in Rhyme
Some, when in rhyme they of their loves do tell,
With flames and lightnings their exordiums paint;
Some call on Heav'n, some invocate on Hell,
And Fates and Furies with their woes acquaint.
Elysium is too high a seat for me;
I will not come in Styx or Phlegethon;
The thrice-three Muses but too wanton be;
Like they that lust, I care not; I will none.
Spiteful Erinnys frights me with her looks;
My manhood dares not with foul Ate mell;
I quake to look on Hecate's charming books;
I still fear bugbears in Apollo's cell.
I pass not for Minerva nor Astraea;
Only I call on my divine Idea.
How Many Paltry Foolish Painted Things
How many paltry foolish painted things,
That now in coaches trouble every street,
Shall be forgotten, whom no poet sings,
Ere they be well wrapped in their winding-sheet!
Where I to thee eternity shall give,
When nothing else remaineth of these days,
And queens hereafter shall be glad to live
Upon the alms of thy superfluous praise.
Virgins and matrons, reading these my rhymes,
Shall be so much delighted with thy story
That they shall grieve they lived not in these times,
To have seen thee, their sex's only glory:
So shalt thou fly above the vulgar throng,
Still to survive in my immortal song.