This beautiful sonnet by Shakespeare reminds us how fleeting life is, even if we live to old age. From life’s late autumn, just before reaching winter and death, the poet looks back at years of living and urges us to “love that well which thou must leave e’er long.”
Sonnet 73 Complete Text
Here is the complete text of this justly famous poem:
by William Shakespeare
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 see’st 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 see’st 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.