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Shakespeare's Sonnets - Sonnet 15


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Shakespeare's Sonnets - Sonnet 15
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Sonnet 15



In the first of two linked sonnets, the poet once again examines the evidence that beauty and splendor exist only for a moment before they are destroyed by Time. Here the poet suggests—through wordplay on engraft—that the young man can be kept alive not only through procreation but also in the poet’s verse.

When I consider everything that grows
Holds in perfection but a little moment,
That this huge stage presenteth nought but shows
4Whereon the stars in secret influence comment;
When I perceive that men as plants increase,
Cheerèd and checked even by the selfsame sky,
Vaunt in their youthful sap, at height decrease,
8And wear their brave state out of memory;
Then the conceit of this inconstant stay
Sets you most rich in youth before my sight,
Where wasteful Time debateth with Decay
12To change your day of youth to sullied night;
 And, all in war with Time for love of you,
 As he takes from you, I engraft you new.