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Jorie Graham reading "Sonnet 65" by William Shakespeare, March 13, 1997, at The New School, New York, NY. From the Academy Audio Archive.
About this Poem 

“Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea (Sonnet 65)” was first published in Shake-speares Sonnets (Thomas Thorpe, 1609).

Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea (Sonnet 65)

Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea
But sad mortality o'er-sways their power,
How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea,
Whose action is no stronger than a flower?
O, how shall summer's honey breath hold out
Against the wreckful siege of battering days,
When rocks impregnable are not so stout,
Nor gates of steel so strong, but time decays?
O fearful meditation! where, alack,
Shall time's best jewel from time's chest lie hid?
Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back?
Or who his spoil of beauty can forbid?
O, none, unless this miracle have might,
That in black ink my love may still shine bright.

This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare, regarded as the foremost dramatist of his time, wrote more than thirty plays and more than one hundred sonnets, all written in the form of three quatrains and a couplet that is now recognized as Shakespearean.

by this poet

poem
Not marble nor the gilded monuments
Of princes shall outlive this powerful rhyme;
But you shall shine more bright in these contents
Than unswept stone, besmear'd with sluttish time.
When wasteful war shall statues overturn,
And broils root out the work of masonry,
Nor Mars his sword nor war's quick fire shall
poem
To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh
poem
How all occasions do inform against me, 
And spur my dull revenge! What is a man, 
If his chief good and market of his time 
Be but to sleep and feed? a beast, no more. 
Sure, he that made us with such large discourse, 
Looking before and after, gave us not 
That capability and god-like reason 
To fust in us