Sonnet: Brief Candles

These two sweet lights so lovely, do I bear
To watch them fade? Each to each as fair,
Such rapt attention weighed. So adored,
But see the other dim, must each prepare?

Must I accept their fate without despair
As once I disobeyed? Lit so rare,
Have black and auburn greyed?  What reward,
If these and all Thy countless lights repair?

I’m not my mind nor body? Tell this lie
When you are old; and you will not believe.
Behold, within the mirror: Is it I?
Or this, within my portrait? Should I grieve
That I, decay within the mirror, see;
When bright, within my portrait light, is me?

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Intro: Do not gently go

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death.  Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

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Sonnet II:

But shall thy youth’s proud beauty not yet wane,
Though fifty winters shall thy brow besiege;
Each furrow earned, a worthy harvest; gaining
Greater beauty each, for youth’s unease.

Thy treasure lieth deep in Wisdom’s care;
For all shall see, as bright as doth remain
Fair beauty’s lustful youth: Beyond compare,
Shall count thy beauty’s truth; and fond sustain

Those many or those few who might impute
Thee wisdom, beauty’s blood to thee compare;
Let thy succession, warm or aught, repute
Thee not, the better to be taught; for where

May please thy children wisdom to dilute;
Yet these, thy words, made wisdom beauty’s fruit.

This sonnet is part of a short, or
possibly at some point, very long
sequence; click here to read it all: