Poem Activity

British Library

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From fairest creatures we desire increase

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Poem Activity

Have fun with the poem by trying this...

The first 17 sonnets share a similar theme – go forth and multiply. Sonnet 1 combines lavish compliments with accusations and warnings. Imagine you’re the recipient of the sonnet. Construct your own response to the sonnet. If you are feeling ambitious use the sonnet form or write your reply as a letter of 200 words. Adopt a tone of your choice: witty, serious, offended, appreciative or steam coming out of your ears angry.

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Modern English Original spelling

Oxford English Dictionary (OED) Links Off

From fairest creatures we desire increase,
That thereby beauty’s rose might never die,
But as the riper should by time decease,
His tender heir might bear his memory:

But thou, contracted to thine own bright eyes,
Feed’st thy light’s flame with self-substantial fuel,
Making a famine where abundance lies,
Thy self thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel.

Thou that art now the world’s fresh ornament,
And only herald to the gaudy spring,
Within thine own bud buriest thy content,
And tender churl mak’st waste in niggarding:

Pity the world, or else this glutton be,
To eat the world’s due, by the grave and thee.

FRom fairest creatures we desire increase,
That thereby beauties Rose might neuer die,
But as the riper should by time decease,
His tender heire might beare his memory:
But thou contracted to thine owne bright eyes,
Feed’st thy lights flame with selfe substantiall fewell,
Making a famine where aboundance lies,
Thy selfe thy foe, to thy sweet selfe too cruell:
Thou that art now the worlds fresh ornament,
And only herauld to the gaudy spring,
Within thine owne bud buriest thy content,
And tender chorle makst wast in niggarding:
Pitty the world, or else this glutton be,
To eate the worlds due, by the graue and thee.