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Best Famous William Shakespeare Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous William Shakespeare poems. This is a select list of the best famous William Shakespeare poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous William Shakespeare poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of William Shakespeare poems.

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by William Shakespeare | |

Sonnet 29

When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man's art and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee—and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;
   For thy sweet love rememb'red such wealth brings
   That then I scorn to change my state with kings.


by William Shakespeare | |

Sonnet 71

No longer mourn for me when I am dead
Then you shall hear the surly sullen bell
Give warning to the world that I am fled
From this vile world, with vilest worms to dwell:
Nay, if you read this line, remember not
The hand that writ it; for I love you so
That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot
If thinking on me then should make you woe.
O, if, I say, you look upon this verse When I perhaps compounded am with clay, Do not so much as my poor name rehearse.
But let your love even with my life decay, Lest the wise world should look into your moan And mock you with me after I am gone


by William Shakespeare | |

Sonnet 55

Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme;
But you shall shine more bright in these contènts
Than unswept stone, besmeared with sluttish time.
When wasteful war shall statues overturn, And broils root out the work of masonry, Nor Mars his sword nor war's quick fire shall burn The living record of your memory.
'Gainst death and all-oblivious enmity Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room Even in the eyes of all posterity That wear this world out to the ending doom.
So, till the judgment that yourself arise, You live in this, and dwell in lovers' eyes.


More great poems below...

by William Shakespeare | |

Blow Blow Thou Winter Wind

Blow, blow, thou winter wind,
Thou art not so unkind
As man's ingratitude;
Thy tooth is not so keen
Because thou art not seen,
Although thy breath be rude.
Heigh-ho! sing heigh-ho! unto the green holly: Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly: Then, heigh-ho! the holly! This life is most jolly.
Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky, Thou dost not bite so nigh As benefits forgot: Though thou the waters warp, Thy sting is not so sharp As friend remember'd not.
Heigh-ho! sing heigh-ho! unto the green holly: Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly: Then, heigh-ho! the holly! This life is most jolly.


by William Topaz McGonagall | |

An Address to Shakespeare

 Immortal! William Shakespeare, there's none can you excel,
You have drawn out your characters remarkably well,
Which is delightful for to see enacted upon the stage
For instance, the love-sick Romeo, or Othello, in a rage;
His writings are a treasure, which the world cannot repay,
He was the greatest poet of the past or of the present day
Also the greatest dramatist, and is worthy of the name,
I'm afraid the world shall never look upon his like again.
His tragedy of Hamlet is moral and sublime, And for purity of langucge, nothing can be more fine For instance, to hear the fair Ophelia making her moan, At her father's grave, sad and alone.
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In his beautiful play, "As You Like If," one passage is very fine, Just for instance in fhe forest of Arden, the language is sublime, Where Orlando speaks of his Rosilind, most lovely and divine, And no other poet I am sure has written anything more fine; His language is spoken in the Church and by the Advocate at the bar, Here and there and everywhere throughout the world afar; His writings abound with gospel truths, moral and sublime, And I'm sure in my opinion they are surpassing fine; In his beautiful tragedy of Othello, one passage is very fine, Just for instance where Cassio looses his lieutenancy .
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By drinking too much wine; And in grief he exclaims, "Oh! that men should put an Enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains.
" In his great tragedy of Richard the III, one passage is very fine Where the Duchess of York invokes the aid of the Divine For to protect her innocent babes from the murderer's uplifted hand, And smite him powerless, and save her babes, I'm sure 'tie really grand.
Immortal! Bard of Avon, your writings are divine, And will live in the memories of you admirers until the end of time; Your plays are read in family ciFcles with wonder and delight, While seated around the fireside on a cold winter's night.


by Algernon Charles Swinburne | |

William Shakespeare

 Not if men's tongues and angels' all in one
Spake, might the word be said that might speak thee.
Streams, winds, woods, flowers, fields, mountains, yea, the sea, What power is in them all to praise the sun? His praise is this--he can be praised of none.
Man, woman, child, praise God for him; but he Exults not to be worshiped, but to be.
He is; and, being, beholds his work well done.
All joy, all glory, all sorrow, all strength, all mirth, Are his; without him, day were night on earth.
Time knows not his from time's own period.
All lutes, all harps, all viols, all flutes, all lyres, Fall dumb before him ere one string suspires.
All stars are angels; but the sun is God.


by Delmore Schwartz | |

Sonnet On Famous And Familiar Sonnets And Experiences

 (With much help from Robert Good, William Shakespeare, 
John Milton, and little Catherine Schwartz) 


Shall I compare her to a summer play?
She is too clever, too devious, too subtle, too dark:
Her lies are rare, but then she paves the way
Beyond the summer's sway, within the jejune park
Where all souls' aspiration to true nobility
Obliges Statues in the Frieze of Death
And when this pantomime and Panama of Panorama Fails,
"I'll never speak to you agayne" -- or waste her panting breath.
When I but think of how her years are spent Deadening that one talent which -- for woman is -- Death or paralysis, denied: nature's intent That each girl be a mother -- whether or not she is Or has become a lawful wife or bride -- 0 Alma Magna Mater, deathless the living death of pride.


by William Shakespeare | |

Sonnet 70: That thou art blamed shall not be thy defect

 That thou art blamed shall not be thy defect,
For slander's mark was ever yet the fair;
The ornament of beauty is suspect,
A crow that flies in heaven's sweetest air.
So thou be good, slander doth but approve Thy worth the greater being wooed of time, For canker vice the sweetest buds doth love, And thou present'st a pure unstainèd prime.
Thou hast passed by the ambush of young days, Either not assailed, or victor being charged; Yet this thy praise cannot be so thy praise, To tie up envy, evermore enlarged.
If some suspect of ill masked not thy show, Then thou alone kingdoms of hearts shouldst owe.


by William Shakespeare | |

Sonnet XLIII

 When most I wink, then do mine eyes best see,
For all the day they view things unrespected;
But when I sleep, in dreams they look on thee,
And darkly bright are bright in dark directed.
Then thou, whose shadow shadows doth make bright, How would thy shadow's form form happy show To the clear day with thy much clearer light, When to unseeing eyes thy shade shines so! How would, I say, mine eyes be blessed made By looking on thee in the living day, When in dead night thy fair imperfect shade Through heavy sleep on sightless eyes doth stay! All days are nights to see till I see thee, And nights bright days when dreams do show thee me.


by William Shakespeare | |

Sonnets XVIII: Shall I compare thee to a summers day?

 Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer's lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimm'd; And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd; But thy eternal summer shall not fade Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st; Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade, When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st: So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.


by William Shakespeare | |

Under the Greenwood Tree

 Under the greenwood tree
Who loves to lie with me,
And turn his merry note
Unto the sweet bird's throat,
Come hither, come hither, come hither:
Here shall he see
No enemy
But winter and rough weather.
Who doth ambition shun, And loves to live i' the sun, Seeking the food he eats, And pleas'd with what he gets, Come hither, come hither, come hither: Here shall he see No enemy But winter and rough weather.


by William Shakespeare | |

Sonnet XXXII: If thou survive my well-contented day

 If thou survive my well-contented day,
When that churl Death my bones with dust shall cover,
And shalt by fortune once more re-survey
These poor rude lines of thy deceased lover,
Compare them with the bettering of the time,
And though they be outstripp'd by every pen,
Reserve them for my love, not for their rhyme,
Exceeded by the height of happier men.
O then vouchsafe me but this loving thought: "Had my friend's Muse grown with this growing age A dearer birth than this his love had brought, To march in ranks of better equipage: But since he died and poets better prove, Theirs for their style I'll read, his for his love.
"


by William Shakespeare | |

Sonnet XXXIII

 Full many a glorious morning have I seen
Flatter the mountain-tops with sovereign eye,
Kissing with golden face the meadows green,
Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy;
Anon permit the basest clouds to ride
With ugly rack on his celestial face,
And from the forlorn world his visage hide,
Stealing unseen to west with this disgrace:
Even so my sun one early morn did shine
With all triumphant splendor on my brow;
But out, alack! he was but one hour mine;
The region cloud hath mask'd him from me now.
Yet him for this my love no whit disdaineth; Suns of the world may stain when heaven's sun staineth.


by William Shakespeare | |

Sonnet XXXVIII

 How can my Muse want subject to invent,
While thou dost breathe, that pour'st into my verse
Thine own sweet argument, too excellent
For every vulgar paper to rehearse?
O, give thyself the thanks, if aught in me
Worthy perusal stand against thy sight;
For who's so dumb that cannot write to thee,
When thou thyself dost give invention light?
Be thou the tenth Muse, ten times more in worth
Than those old nine which rhymers invocate;
And he that calls on thee, let him bring forth
Eternal numbers to outlive long date.
If my slight Muse do please these curious days, The pain be mine, but thine shall be the praise.


by William Shakespeare | |

Sonnets iii

 WHEN to the Sessions of sweet silent thought 
I summon up remembrance of things past, 
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought, 
And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste: 
Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow, 
For precious friends hid in death's dateless night, 
And weep afresh love's long-since-cancell'd woe, 
And moan th' expense of many a vanish'd sight: 
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone, 
And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er 
The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan, 
Which I new pay as if not paid before.
But if the while I think on thee, dear friend, All losses are restored and sorrows end.


by William Shakespeare | |

Sonnets xii

 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 everywhere! 
And yet this time removed was summer's time; 
The teeming Autumn, big with rich increase, 
Bearing the wanton burden of the prime 
Like widow'd wombs after their Lord's decease: 
Yet this abundant issue seem'd to me 
But hope of orphans and unfather'd fruit; 
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.


by William Shakespeare | |

Sonnet XLII

 That thou hast her, it is not all my grief,
And yet it may be said I loved her dearly;
That she hath thee, is of my wailing chief,
A loss in love that touches me more nearly.
Loving offenders, thus I will excuse ye: Thou dost love her, because thou knowst I love her; And for my sake even so doth she abuse me, Suffering my friend for my sake to approve her.
If I lose thee, my loss is my love's gain, And losing her, my friend hath found that loss; Both find each other, and I lose both twain, And both for my sake lay on me this cross: But here's the joy; my friend and I are one; Sweet flattery! then she loves but me alone.


by William Shakespeare | |

Sonnet 141: In faith I do not love thee with mine eyes

 In faith, I do not love thee with mine eyes,
For they in thee a thousand errors note;
But 'tis my heart that loves what they despise,
Who in despite of view is pleased to dote.
Nor are mine cars with thy tongue's tune delighted, Nor tender feeling to base touches prone, Nor taste, nor smell, desire to be invited To any sensual feast with thee alone; But my five wits, nor my five senses can Dissuade one foolish heart from serving thee, Who leaves unswayed the likeness of a man, Thy proud heart's slave and vassal wretch to be.
Only my plague thus far I count my gain, That she that makes me sin awards me pain.


by William Shakespeare | |

Sonnet XLVIII

 How careful was I, when I took my way,
Each trifle under truest bars to thrust,
That to my use it might unused stay
From hands of falsehood, in sure wards of trust!
But thou, to whom my jewels trifles are,
Most worthy of comfort, now my greatest grief,
Thou, best of dearest and mine only care,
Art left the prey of every vulgar thief.
Thee have I not lock'd up in any chest, Save where thou art not, though I feel thou art, Within the gentle closure of my breast, From whence at pleasure thou mayst come and part; And even thence thou wilt be stol'n, I fear, For truth proves thievish for a prize so dear.


by William Shakespeare | |

Sonnet XV

 When I consider every thing that grows
Holds in perfection but a little moment,
That this huge stage presenteth nought but shows
Whereon the stars in secret influence comment;
When I perceive that men as plants increase,
Cheered and cheque'd even by the self-same sky,
Vaunt in their youthful sap, at height decrease,
And wear their brave state out of memory;
Then the conceit of this inconstant stay
Sets you most rich in youth before my sight,
Where wasteful Time debateth with Decay,
To change your day of youth to sullied night;
And all in war with Time for love of you,
As he takes from you, I engraft you new.


by William Shakespeare | |

Sonnet XXII

 My glass shall not persuade me I am old,
So long as youth and thou are of one date;
But when in thee time's furrows I behold,
Then look I death my days should expiate.
For all that beauty that doth cover thee Is but the seemly raiment of my heart, Which in thy breast doth live, as thine in me: How can I then be elder than thou art? O, therefore, love, be of thyself so wary As I, not for myself, but for thee will; Bearing thy heart, which I will keep so chary As tender nurse her babe from faring ill.
Presume not on thy heart when mine is slain; Thou gavest me thine, not to give back again.


by William Shakespeare | |

Sonnet XXIII

 Full many a glorious morning have I seen
Flatter the mountain-tops with sovereign eye,
Kissing with golden face the meadows green,
Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy;
Anon permit the basest clouds to ride
With ugly rack on his celestial face,
And from the forlorn world his visage hide,
Stealing unseen to west with this disgrace:
Even so my sun one early morn did shine
With all triumphant splendor on my brow;
But out, alack! he was but one hour mine;
The region cloud hath mask'd him from me now.
Yet him for this my love no whit disdaineth; Suns of the world may stain when heaven's sun staineth.


by William Shakespeare | |

Sonnet XXVIII

 How can I then return in happy plight,
That am debarr'd the benefit of rest?
When day's oppression is not eased by night,
But day by night, and night by day, oppress'd?
And each, though enemies to either's reign,
Do in consent shake hands to torture me;
The one by toil, the other to complain
How far I toil, still farther off from thee.
I tell the day, to please them thou art bright And dost him grace when clouds do blot the heaven: So flatter I the swart-complexion'd night, When sparkling stars twire not thou gild'st the even.
But day doth daily draw my sorrows longer And night doth nightly make grief's strength seem stronger.


by William Shakespeare | |

Sonnet LXXXII

 I grant thou wert not married to my Muse
And therefore mayst without attaint o'erlook
The dedicated words which writers use
Of their fair subject, blessing every book
Thou art as fair in knowledge as in hue,
Finding thy worth a limit past my praise,
And therefore art enforced to seek anew
Some fresher stamp of the time-bettering days
And do so, love; yet when they have devised
What strained touches rhetoric can lend,
Thou truly fair wert truly sympathized
In true plain words by thy true-telling friend;
And their gross painting might be better used
Where cheeks need blood; in thee it is abused.


by William Shakespeare | |

Sonnet LXXXIII

 I never saw that you did painting need
And therefore to your fair no painting set;
I found, or thought I found, you did exceed
The barren tender of a poet's debt;
And therefore have I slept in your report,
That you yourself being extant well might show
How far a modern quill doth come too short,
Speaking of worth, what worth in you doth grow.
This silence for my sin you did impute, Which shall be most my glory, being dumb; For I impair not beauty being mute, When others would give life and bring a tomb.
There lives more life in one of your fair eyes Than both your poets can in praise devise.