How like a winter hath my absence been

(Sonnet 97) by William Shakespeare

How like a winter hath my absence been

From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!

What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen!

What old December’s bareness every where!

And yet this time remov’d was summer’s time;

The teeming autumn, big with rich increase,

Bearing the wanton burden of the prime,

Like widow’d wombs after their lords’ decease:

Yet this abundant issue seem’d to me

But hope of orphans and unfather’d fruit;

For summer and his pleasures wait on thee,

And, thou away, the very birds are mute:

Or, if they sing, ’tis with so dull a cheer,

That leaves look pale, dreading the winter’s near.

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