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 65

Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea,

But sad mortality o'er-sways their power,

How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea,

Whose action is no stronger than a flower?

O, how shall summer's honey breath hold out

Against the wreckful siege of battering days,

When rocks impregnable are not so stout,

Nor gates of steel so strong, but Time decays?

O fearful meditation! where, alack,

Shall Time's best jewel from Time's chest lie hid?

Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back?

Or who his spoil of beauty can forbid?

O, none, unless this miracle have might,

That in black ink my love may still shine bright.

Sponsor this poem

Would you like to sponsor this poem? Find out how here.

Recordings

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare Downloads read by James Fenton

1Sonnet 116: Let me not to the marriage

£0.89

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

£0.89

3Sonnet 18: Shall I compare thee

£0.89

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

£0.89

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

£0.89

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

£0.89

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

£0.89

8Sonnet 20

£0.89

Books by William Shakespeare