William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare – Sonnet 9

Is it for fear to wet a widow’s eye
That thou consumest thyself in single life?
Ah! if thou issueless shalt hap to die,
The 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
By 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,
And kept unused, the user so destroys it.
No love toward others in that bosom sits
That on himself such murderous shame commits.

Notes

issueless (3): childless.

hap (3): happen.

makeless (4): mateless (thus, widowed). The world will grieve for the friend as a widow wails for her dead husband.

still (5): continually.

form (6): likeness.

Look what (9): whatever.

That on himself…commits (14): soul-killing shame; the same all-eating shame in Sonnet 2 that will devour the friend in his old age, as he regrets not having children.

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