Sonnet XX: "A woman’s face with nature’s own hand painted"

By William Shakespeare 1564–1616 William Shakespeare
A woman’s face with nature’s own hand painted
Hast thou, the master-mistress of my passion;
A woman’s gentle heart, but not acquainted
With shifting change as is false women’s fashion;
An eye more bright than theirs, less false in rolling,
Gilding the object whereupon it gazeth;
A man in hue, all hues in his controlling,
Which steals men’s eyes and women’s souls amazeth.
And for a woman wert thou first created,
Till nature as she wrought thee fell a-doting,
And by addition me of thee defeated
By adding one thing to my purpose nothing.
      But since she pricked thee out for women's pleasure,
      Mine be thy love and thy love’s use their treasure.

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Poet William Shakespeare 1564–1616

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

Subjects Love, Romantic Love, Infatuation & Crushes

 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 . . .

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Poems by William Shakespeare

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Romantic Love, Infatuation & Crushes

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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