William Shakespeare. 1564–1616

Sonnets to Sundry Notes of Music, II.

“On a day, alack the day!”

ON a day, alack the day!  
Love, whose month was ever May,  
Spied a blossom passing fair,  
Playing in the wanton air:  
Through the velvet leaves the wind,    5
All unseen, ’gan passage find;  
That the lover, sick to death,  
Wish’d himself the heaven’s breath.  
‘Air,’ quoth he, ‘thy cheeks may blow;  
Air, would I might triumph so!   10
But, alas! my hand hath sworn  
Ne’er to pluck thee from thy thorn:  
Vow, alack! for youth unmeet:  
Youth, so apt to pluck a sweet.  
Thou for whom Jove would swear   15
Juno but an Ethiop were;  
And deny himself for Jove,  
Turning mortal for thy love.’