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Sonnet 99

a cornucopia of a book

This sonnet has an additional opening line.

A. L. Rowse in his Shakespeare's Sonnets writes: It has been suggested that is an unfinished draft, not properly reduced to shape. I do not think so; for, notice, the foirst line is a prelude, an announcement; then follows the sonnet.

The forward violet thus did I chide:
Sweet thief, whence didst thou steal thy sweet that smells,
If not from my love's breath? The purple pride
Which on thy soft cheek for complexion dwells
In my love's veins thou hast too grossly dy'd.
The lily I condemned for thy hand,
And buds of marjoram had stol'n thy hair;
The roses fearfully on thorns did stand,
One blushing shame, another white despair;
A third, nor red nor white, had stol'n of both,
And to his robbery had annex'd thy breath;
But, for his theft, in pride of all his growth 
A vengeful canker eat him up to death.
  More flowers I noted, yet I none could see,
  But sweet, or colour it had stol'n from thee.
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