William Shakespeare. 1564–1616

Sonnet LIX.

“If there be nothing new, but that which is”

IF there be nothing new, but that which is  
Hath been before, how are our brains beguil’d,  
Which, labouring for invention, bear amiss  
The second burden of a former child!  
O! that record could with a backward look,    5
Even of five hundred courses of the sun,  
Show me your image in some antique book,  
Since mind at first in character was done!  
That I might see what the old world could say  
To this composed wonder of your frame;   10
Whe’r we are mended, or whe’r better they,  
Or whether revolution be the same.  
  O! sure I am, the wits of former days  
  To subjects worse have given admiring praise.