William Shakespeare. 1564–1616

Sonnet LXXXI.

“Or I shall live your epitaph to make”

OR I shall live your epitaph to make  
Or you survive when I in earth am rotten;  
From hence your memory death cannot take,  
Although in me each part will be forgotten.  
Your name from hence immortal life shall have,    5
Though I, once gone, to all the world must die:  
The earth can yield me but a common grave,  
When you entombed in men’s eyes shall lie.  
Your monument shall be my gentle verse,  
Which eyes not yet created shall o’er-read;   10
And tongues to be your being shall rehearse,  
When all the breathers of this world are dead;  
  You still shall live,—such virtue hath my pen,—  
  Where breath most breathes,—even in the mouths of men.