Shakespeare's Sonnets - Sonnet 9
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Last updated: Fri, Jul 31, 2015
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The poet argues that if the young man refuses to marry for fear of someday leaving behind a grieving widow, he is ignoring the worldwide grief that will be caused if he dies single, leaving behind no heir to his beauty.
Is it for fear to wet a widow’s eye
That thou consum’st thyself in single life?
Ah, if thou issueless shalt hap to die,
4The world will wail thee like a makeless wife;
The world will be thy widow and still weep
That thou no form of thee hast left behind,
When every private widow well may keep,
8By children’s eyes, her husband’s shape in mind.
Look what an unthrift in the world doth spend
Shifts but his place, for still the world enjoys it;
But beauty’s waste hath in the world an end,
12And, kept unused, the user so destroys it.
No love toward others in that bosom sits
That on himself such murd’rous shame commits.