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Then let not winter’s ragged hand deface
In thee thy summer, ere thou be distilled.
Make sweet some vial; treasure thou some place
With beauty’s treasure, ere it be self-killed.
That use is not forbidden usury
Which happies those that pay the willing loan;
That’s for thyself to breed another thee,
Or ten times happier, be it ten for one.
Ten times thyself were happier than thou art,
If ten of thine ten times refigured thee.
Then what could death do if thou shouldst depart,
Leaving thee living in posterity?
  Be not self-willed, for thou art much too fair
  To be death’s conquest and make worms thine heir.
(Continuing from Sonnet 5) So don’t let wintry old age destroy your summer beauty before your essence has been preserved. Make some woman pregnant and pass on your beauty before it dies with you. It’s unfair to charge exorbitant interest on a loan. But if you lend a woman your body, she’ll be only too happy to pay you back with a child. Having a child—making another version of yourself—will make you happy. Having ten children will make you ten times as happy. What power would death have over you if you left children behind to keep your legacy alive? Don’t be willful and selfish—you’re much too beautiful to be conquered by death, with nothing left of you but a corpse devoured by worms.

Popular pages: Shakespeare’s Sonnets