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   Sonnet 146

Shakespeare; the poet and his plays

Shakespeare the Poet and his Plays by Stanley Wells: This sonnet is a general meditation on the relationship between body and soul which would be at home in a religious sequence. Its final couplet resembled John Donne's Holy Sonnet no. 10: "Death thou shalt die".

Poor soul, the centre of my sinful earth, 
Thrall to these rebel powers that thee array,
Why dost thou pine within and suffer dearth,
Painting thy outward walls so costly gay?
Why so large cost, having so short a lease,
Dost thou upon thy fading mansion spend?
Shall worms, inheritors of this excess,
Eat up thy charge? Is this thy body's end?
Then soul, live thou upon thy servant's loss,
And let that pine to aggravate thy store;
Buy terms divine in selling hours of dross;
Within be fed, without be rich no more:
  So shall thou feed on Death, that feeds on men,
  And Death once dead, there's no more dying then.
Read by Claire Marchionne
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