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Shakespeare's Sonnets - Sonnet 99


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Shakespeare's Sonnets - Sonnet 99
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Sonnet 99



This third poem about the beloved’s absence is closely linked to s. 98. In the present sonnet, the poet accuses spring flowers and herbs of stealing color and fragrance from the beloved. The sonnet is unusual in that the first “quatrain” has five lines; the poem therefore has 15 lines, the only such sonnet in the sequence.

The forward violet thus did I chide:
“Sweet thief, whence didst thou steal thy sweet that smells,
If not from my love’s breath? The purple pride
4Which on thy soft cheek for complexion dwells
In my love’s veins thou hast too grossly dyed.”
The lily I condemnèd for thy hand,
And buds of marjoram had stol’n thy hair;
8The roses fearfully on thorns did stand,
One blushing shame, another white despair;
A third, nor red nor white, had stol’n of both,
And to his robb’ry had annexed thy breath;
12But, for his theft, in pride of all his growth
A vengeful canker ate him up to death.
 More flowers I noted, yet I none could see
 But sweet or color it had stol’n from thee.