Sonnet 129: Th' expense of spirit in a waste of shame

William Shakespeare 1564 (Stratford-upon-Avon) – 1616 (Stratford-upon-Avon)

Th' expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action; and, till action, lust
Is perjured, murderous, bloody full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust,
Enjoyed no sooner but despisèd straight,
Past reason hunted, and no sooner had
Past reason hated as a swallowed bait
On purpose laid to make the taker mad.
Mad in pursuit, and in possession so;
Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;
A bliss in proof, and proved, a very woe,
Before a joy proposed; behind, a dream.
  All this the world well knows, yet none knows well
  To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare was an English playwright, poet, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon". more…

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