Sonnet XV: When I Consider everything that Grows

By William Shakespeare 1564–1616 William Shakespeare
When I consider everything that grows
Holds in perfection but a little moment,
That this huge stage presenteth nought but shows
Whereon the stars in secret influence comment;
When I perceive that men as plants increase,
Cheered and check'd even by the selfsame sky,
Vaunt in their youthful sap, at height decrease,
And wear their brave state out of memory;
Then the conceit of this inconstant stay
Sets you most rich in youth before my sight,
Where wasteful Time debateth with Decay
To change your day of youth to sullied night;
And all in war with Time for love of you,
As he takes from you, I engraft you new.

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet William Shakespeare 1564–1616

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

Subjects Time & Brevity, Relationships, Living, Love, Youth, Romantic Love, Realistic & Complicated

Poetic Terms Sonnet

 William  Shakespeare

Biography

While William Shakespeare's reputation is based primarily on his plays, he became famous first as a poet. With the partial exception of the Sonnets (1609), quarried since the early nineteenth century for autobiographical secrets allegedly encoded in them, the nondramatic writings have traditionally been pushed to the margins of the Shakespeare industry. Yet the study of his nondramatic poetry can illuminate Shakespeare's . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poems by William Shakespeare

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Time & Brevity, Relationships, Living, Love, Youth, Romantic Love, Realistic & Complicated

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

Poetic Terms Sonnet

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.