William Shakespeare. 1564–1616

Sonnet XII.

“When I do count the clock that tells the time”

WHEN I do count the clock that tells the time  
And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;  
When I behold the violet past prime,  
And sable curls, all silver’d o’er with white;  
When lofty trees I see barren of leaves,    5
Which erst from heat did canopy the herd,  
And summer’s green all girded up in sheaves,  
Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard,  
Then of thy beauty do I question make,  
That thou among the wastes of time must go,   10
Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake  
And die as fast as they see others grow;  
  And nothing ’gainst Time’s scythe can make defence  
  Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence.