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William Shakespeare
The Sonnets




Sonnet LXXIII (73)

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see'st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west;
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou seest the glowing of such fire,
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire,
Consumed with that which it was nourish'd by.
This thou perceiv'st, which makes thy love more strong, To love that well, which thou must leave ere long.




Sonnet LXXIII (73)
(Modernised with Notes)

That time of year you may in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.(1)
In me you see the twilight of such day
As after sunset fades in the west;
Which by and by black night takes away, (2)
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest. (3)
In me you see the glowing of such fire,
That on the ashes of his youth does lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire,
Consumed with that which it was nourished by. (4)
This you perceive, which makes your love more strong, To love that well, which you must leave before long.(5)

NOTES

(1) You can see autumn in me, that time of year when yellow leaves fall off the trees, trees in which birds sang in summer.

(2) In me you can see the dimming of the day, that twilight between sunset and dark.

(3) Night is "Death's second self" i.e. "sleep" which gives everyone rest (and is akin to death). Sleep is traditionally the brother of Death.

(4) In me you see a dying fire, a fire that dies where it once blazed.

(5) All this you see, and it makes you love all the more what you will soon lose.



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