Skip to main content
or search all Shakespeare texts
Back to main page

Shakespeare's Sonnets - Sonnet 2


Navigate this work

Shakespeare's Sonnets - Sonnet 2
Jump to

Sonnet 2



The poet challenges the young man to imagine two different futures, one in which he dies childless, the other in which he leaves behind a son. In the first, the young man will waste the uninvested treasure of his youthful beauty. In the other, though still himself subject to the ravages of time, his child’s beauty will witness the father’s wise investment of this treasure.

When forty winters shall besiege thy brow
And dig deep trenches in thy beauty’s field,
Thy youth’s proud livery, so gazed on now,
4Will be a tattered weed of small worth held.
Then being asked where all thy beauty lies,
Where all the treasure of thy lusty days,
To say within thine own deep-sunken eyes
8Were an all-eating shame and thriftless praise.
How much more praise deserved thy beauty’s use
If thou couldst answer “This fair child of mine
Shall sum my count and make my old excuse,”
12Proving his beauty by succession thine.
 This were to be new made when thou art old
 And see thy blood warm when thou feel’st it cold.