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Shakespeare's Sonnets - Sonnet 97


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Shakespeare's Sonnets - Sonnet 97
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Sonnet 97



In this first of three sonnets about a period of separation from the beloved, the poet remembers the time as bleak winter, though the actual season was warm and filled with nature’s abundance.

How like a winter hath my absence been
From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!
What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen,
4What old December’s bareness everywhere!
And yet this time removed was summer’s time,
The teeming autumn, big with rich increase,
Bearing the wanton burden of the prime,
8Like widowed wombs after their lords’ decease.
Yet this abundant issue seemed to me
But hope of orphans and unfathered fruit;
For summer and his pleasures wait on thee,
12And thou away, the very birds are mute;
 Or if they sing, ’tis with so dull a cheer
 That leaves look pale, dreading the winter’s near.