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Sonnet 54

Read by Claire Marchionne
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One year in Shakespeare's Life in London

Charles Nicholl's The Lodger, Shakespeare on Silver Street: Shakespeare may be referring to his landlady, Marie Mountjoy's profession as a hairdresser and 'Grecian tire' could refer to clothes or headgear.


O! how much more doth beauty beauteous seem
By that sweet ornament which truth doth give.
The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem
For that sweet odour, which doth in it live.
The canker blooms have full as deep a dye
As the perfumed tincture of the roses,
Hang on such thorns, and play as wantonly
When summer's breath their masked buds discloses:
But, for their virtue only is their show,
They live unwoo'd, and unrespected fade;
Die to themselves. Sweet roses do not so;
Of their sweet deaths are sweetest odours made: 
   And so of you, beauteous and lovely youth,
   When that shall vade, my verse distills your truth.

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