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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Elizabethan Verse. 1907.

Beauty and Rhyme

William Shakespeare (1564–1616)

WHEN in the chronicle of wasted time

I see descriptions of the fairest wights,

And beauty making beautiful old rime

In praise of Ladies dead and lovely Knights;

Then, in the blazon of sweet beauty’s best,

Of hand, of foot, of lip, of eye, of brow,

I see their antique pen would have exprest

Even such a beauty as you master now.

So all their praises are but prophecies

Of this our time, all you prefiguring;

And for they looked but with divining eyes,

They had not skill enough your worth to sing:

For we, who now behold these present days,

Have eyes to wonder, but lack tongues to praise.