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


William Shakespeare (1564–1616)

O NEVER say that I was false of heart,

Though absence seem’d my flame to qualify!

As easy might I from myself depart,

As from my soul, which in thy breast doth lie:

That is the home of love; if I have ranged,

Like him that travels I return again,

Just to the time, not with the time exchanged,

So that myself bring water for my stain.

Never believe, though in my nature reign’d

All frailties that besiege all kinds of blood,

That it could so prepost’rously be stain’d,

To leave for nothing all thy sum of good:

For nothing this wide universe I call,

Save thou, my Rose; in it thou art my all.