William Shakespeare. 1564–1616

Sonnet LIV.

“O! how much more doth beauty beauteous seem”

O! HOW much more doth beauty beauteous seem  
By that sweet ornament which truth doth give!  
The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem  
For that sweet odour which doth in it live.  
The canker-blooms have full as deep a dye    5
As the perfumed tincture of the roses,  
Hang on such thorns, and play as wantonly  
When summer’s breath their masked buds discloses:  
But, for their virtue only is their show,  
They live unwoo’d, and unrespected fade;   10
Die to themselves. Sweet roses do not so;  
Of their sweet deaths are sweetest odours made:  
  And so of you, beauteous and lovely youth,  
  When that shall vade, by verse distils your truth.