Shakespeare's Sonnets Navigator Summary of Sonnet 54 in the Table of Contents Notes for Sonnet 54

Shakespeare's Sonnet 54


  1    O, how much more doth beauty beauteous seem
  2    By that sweet ornament which truth doth give!
  3    The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem
  4    For that sweet odour which doth in it live.
  5    The canker-blooms have full as deep a dye
  6    As the perfumed tincture of the roses,
  7    Hang on such thorns and play as wantonly
  8    When summer's breath their masked buds discloses.
  9    But, for their virtue only is their show,
 10    They live unwoo'd and unrespected fade,
 11    Die to themselves. Sweet roses do not so;
 12    Of their sweet deaths are sweetest odours made:
 13      And so of you, beauteous and lovely youth,
 14      When that shall fade, my verse distills your truth.

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