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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
Orpheus with his lute made trees   
And the mountain tops that freeze   
  Bow themselves when he did sing:   
To his music plants and flowers   
Ever sprung; as sun and showers 
  There had made a lasting spring.   
  
Every thing that heard him play,   
Even the billows of the sea,   
  Hung their heads and
poem

Marullus speaks to two rejoicing Commoners

Wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings he home?
What tributaries follow him to Rome,
To grace in captive bonds his chariot-wheels?
You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things!
O you hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome,

poem

Brutus speaks

It must be by his death. And for my part
I know no personal cause to spurn at him,
But for the general. He would be crowned:
How that might change his nature, there’s the question.
It is the bright day that brings forth the adder,
And that craves wary walking.