Poem introduction

The British Council has supported these recordings as part of the Shakespeare Lives in 2016 programme celebrating the work of William Shakespeare on the 400th anniversary of his death.

Sonnet 11

As fast as thou shalt wane, so fast thou grow'st

In one of thine, from that which thou departest;

And that fresh blood which youngly thou bestow'st,

Thou mayst call thine when thou from youth convertest.

Herein lives wisdom, beauty, and increase;

Without this folly, age, and cold decay:

If all were minded so, the times should cease

And threescore year would make the world away.

Let those whom nature hath not made for store,

Harsh, featureless, and rude, barrenly perish:

Look whom she best endowed, she gave the more;

Which bounteous gift thou shouldst in bounty cherish:

She carved thee for her seal, and meant thereby,

Thou shouldst print more, not let that copy die.

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Recordings

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare Downloads read by James Fenton

1Sonnet 116: Let me not to the marriage

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2Sonnet 130: My Mistress' Eyes are Nothing Like the Sun

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3Sonnet 18: Shall I compare thee

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4Sonnet 73: That time of year thou mayst in me behold

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5Sonnet 65: Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea

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6Sonnet 19: Devouring Time, blunt thou the lion's paws

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7Sonnet 147: My love is like a fever, longing still

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8Sonnet 20

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Books by William Shakespeare