The Sonnets by William Shakespeare

Sonnet 80

read by Harriet Walter

O how I faint when I of you do write,

Knowing a better spirit doth use your name,

And in the praise thereof spends all his might,

To make me tongue-tied speaking of your fame.

5But since your worth, wide as the ocean is,

The humble as the proudest sail doth bear,

My saucy bark, inferior far to his,

On your broad main doth wilfully appear.

Your shallowest help will hold me up afloat,

10Whilst he upon your soundless deep doth ride;

Or, being wracked, I am a worthless boat,

He of tall building, and of goodly pride.

Then if he thrive, and I be cast away,

The worst was this: my love was my decay.

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154 specially filmed performances by a stellar cast of actors, poets and scholars including Sir Patrick Stewart, David Tennant, Fiona Shaw, Dame Harriet Walter, Stephen Fry, and Sir Andrew Motion.

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