When I have seen by time’s fell hand defaced
The rich proud cost of outworn buried age,
When sometime lofty towers I see down-ras’d
And brass eternal slave to mortal rage.
When I have seen the hungry ocean gain
Advantage on the kingdom of the shore,
And the firm soil win of the watery main,
Increasing store with loss and loss with store.
When I have seen such interchange of state,
Or state itself confounded to decay,
Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate
That Time will come and take my love away.
This thought is as a death which cannot choose
But weep to have that which it fears to lose.
If you have found this content useful why not read some fascinating facts about the William Shakespeare sonnets? Or, for a list of all 154 Shakespearean sonnets, with links to the full text for each, please click here. Or return to the William Shakespeare facts home page and explore some of the other material we have compiled for your interest, entertainment or education.