Shakespeare's Sonnets: Oh how much more doth beauty beaut'ous seem

Sonnet 54

Original Text: 
SHAKE-SPEARES SONNETS (London: G. Eld for T. T. and sold by William Aspley, 1609): d4r.
3The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem
4For that sweet odor which doth in it live:
6As the perfumed tincture of the roses,
7Hang on such thorns, and play as wantonly,
8When summer's breath their masked buds discloses:
9But for their virtue only is their show,
10They live unwoo'd, and unrespected fade,
11Die to themselves. Sweet roses do not so;
12Of their sweet deaths are sweetest odors made:


1] beaut'ous] beautious Q. Back to Line
2] truth] faithfulness, constancy. Back to Line
5] canker] "A type of wild rose, esp. the dog rose, Rosa canina; (also) the fruit of this plant" (OED, "canker," 8b). Back to Line
13] beaut'ous] beautious Q. Back to Line
14] that] beauty (cf. line 1). vade] fade. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: