William Shakespeare. 1564–1616

Sonnet XXXII.

“If thou survive my well-contented day”

IF thou survive my well-contented day  
When that churl Death my bones with dust shall cover,  
And shalt by fortune once more re-survey  
These poor rude lines of thy deceased lover,  
Compare them with the bettering of the time,    5
And though they be outstripp’d by every pen,  
Reserve them for my love, not for their rime,  
Exceeded by the height of happier men.  
O! then vouchsafe me but this loving thought:  
‘Had my friend’s Muse grown with this growing age,   10
A dearer birth than this his love had brought,  
To march in ranks of better equipage:  
  But since he died, and poets better prove,  
  Theirs for their style I’ll read, his for his love.’