The Sonnets by William Shakespeare

Sonnet 97

read by Siân Phillips

How like a winter hath my absence been

From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!

What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen,

What old December’s bareness everywhere!

5And yet this time removed was summer’s time,

The teeming autumn big with rich increase

Bearing the wanton burden of the prime,

Like widowed wombs after their lords’ decease:

Yet this abundant issue seemed to me

10But hope of orphans, and unfathered fruit;

For summer and his pleasures wait on thee,

And thou away, the very birds are mute;

Or if they sing, ’tis with so dull a cheer

That leaves look pale, dreading the winter’s near.

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