Poem introduction

Here the poet uses a perhaps surprising argument – he says that the fact that he's ageing, reaching the autumn of his years, should make the friend love him more, since he will have to part with him soon. The image of the 'bare ruin'd choirs' is a reminder that in the England of the Reformation there would have been so many ruined monasteries dotting the landscape.

That time of year thou mayst in me behold (Sonnet 73)

That time of year thou mayst in me behold 
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold, 
Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang. 
In me thou seest the twilight of such day 
As after sunset fadeth in the west, 
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest. 
In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire 
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie, 
As the death-bed whereon it must expire 
Consumed with that which it was nourish'd by. 
   This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong,
   To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

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