William Shakespeare. 1564–1616

Sonnet XV.

“When I consider every thing that grows”

WHEN I consider every thing that grows  
Holds in perfection but a little moment,  
That this huge stage presenteth nought but shows  
Whereon the stars in secret influence comment;  
When I perceive that men as plants increase,    5
Cheered and check’d e’en by the self-same sky,  
Vaunt in their youthful sap, at height decrease,  
And wear their brave state out of memory;  
Then the conceit of this inconstant stay  
Sets you most rich in youth before my sight,   10
Where wasteful Time debateth with Decay,  
To change your day of youth to sullied night;  
  And, all in war with Time for love of you,  
  As he takes from you, I engraft you new.