Sonnet 106

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Sonnet 106

When in the chronicle of wasted time
I see descriptions of the fairest wights,
And beauty making beautiful old rhyme,
In praise of ladies dead and lovely knights,
Then, in the blazon of sweet beauty's best,
Of hand, of foot, of lip, of eye, of brow,
I see their antique pen would have express'd
Even such a beauty as you master now.
So all their praises are but prophecies
Of this our time, all you prefiguring;
And for they looked but with divining eyes,
They had not skill enough your worth to sing:
For we, which now behold these present days,
Have eyes to wonder, but lack tongues to praise.

–William Shakespeare

Sonnet 106 is one of 154 sonnets written by the English playwright and poet William Shakespeare. It is a member of the Fair Youth sequence, in which the poet expresses his love towards a young woman.


In old chronicles, there are descriptions of handsome knights and beautiful ladies. Had these writers known the youth, they would have expressed it in their work. In fact, their descriptions are prophecies that prefigure the beauty of the youth. Though they had prophetic power, they did not have enough poetic skill. Even we, though we can see the perfection of the youth, lack the words to praise it.