The Sonnets

by William Shakespeare

Sonnet 23

Additional Information
  • Year Published: 1609
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: England
  • Source: Shakespeare, W. The sonnets. In R. G. White (Ed.), The complete works of William Shakespeare. New York: Sully and Kleinteich.
  • Readability:
    • Flesch–Kincaid Level: 11.0
  • Word Count: 132
  • Genre: Poetry
  • Keywords: 17th century literature, british literature, poetry, william shakespeare
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As an unperfect actor on the stage,
Who with his fear is put beside his part,
Or some fierce thing replete with too much rage,
Whose strength’s abundance weakens his own heart;
So I for fear of trust, forget to say,
The perfect ceremony of love’s rite,
And in mine own love’s strength seem to decay,
O’ercharged with burthen of mine own love’s might:
O let my looks be then the eloquence,
And dumb presagers of my speaking breast,
Who plead for love, and look for recompense,
More than that tongue that more hath more expressed.
    O learn to read what silent love hath writ,
    To hear with eyes belongs to love’s fine wit.