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That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou seest the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou seest the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the deathbed whereon it must expire
Consumed with that which it was nourished by.
  This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
  To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
When you look at me, you can see an image of those times of year when the leaves are yellow or have fallen, or when the trees have no leaves at all and the bare branches where the sweet birds recently sang shiver in anticipation of the cold. In me you can see the twilight that remains after the sunset fades in the west, which by and by is replaced by black night, the twin of death, which closes up everyone in eternal rest. In me you can see the remains of a fire still glowing atop the ashes of its early stages, as if it lay on its own deathbed, on which it has to burn out, consuming what used to fuel it. You see all these things, and they make your love stronger, because you love even more what you know you’ll lose before long.

Popular pages: Shakespeare’s Sonnets