William Shakespeare. 1564–1616

Sonnet LXIV.

“When I have seen by Time’s fell hand defac’d”

WHEN I have seen by Time’s fell hand defac’d  
The rich-proud cost of outworn buried age;  
When sometime lofty towers I see down-raz’d,  
And brass eternal slave to mortal rage;  
When I have seen the hungry ocean gain    5
Advantage on the kingdom of the shore,  
And the firm soil win of the watery main,  
Increasing store with loss, and loss with store;  
When I have seen such interchange of state,  
Or state itself confounded to decay;   10
Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate—  
That Time will come and take my love away.  
  This thought is as a death, which cannot choose  
  But weep to have that which it fears to lose.