William Shakespeare. 1564–1616

Sonnet XCVII.

“How like a winter hath my absence been”

HOW like a winter hath my absence been  
From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!  
What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen!  
What old December’s bareness every where!  
And yet this time remov’d was summer’s time;    5
The teeming autumn, big with rich increase,  
Bearing the wanton burden of the prime,  
Like widow’d wombs after their lords’ decease:  
Yet this abundant issue seem’d to me  
But hope of orphans and unfather’d fruit;   10
For summer and his pleasures wait on thee,  
And, thou away, the very birds are mute:  
  Or, if they sing, ’tis with so dull a cheer,  
  That leaves look pale, dreading the winter’s near.