Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Elizabethan Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Elizabethan Verse.  1907.
 
Being Your Slave
By William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
 
BEING 1 your slave, what should I do but tend
Upon the hours and times of your desire?
I have no precious time at all to spend,
Nor services to do, till you require.
Nor dare I chide the world-without-end hour 2        5
Whilst I, my sovereign, watch the clock for you,
Nor think the bitterness of absence sour
When you have bid your servant once adieu:
Nor dare I question with my jealous thought
Where you may be, or your affairs suppose,        10
But, like a sad slave, stay and think of nought
Save, where you are how happy you make those!
  So true a fool is love, that in your Will 3
  Though you do anything, he thinks no ill.
 
Note 1. Sonnet lvii. Shake-speare’s Sonnettes, 1609. The absence spoken of in this sonnet seems to be voluntary absence on the part of Shakespeare’s friend. [back]
Note 2. World-without-end hour: the tedious hour, that seems as if it would never end. (Dowden.) Cf. Love’s Labour’s Lost, act v. sc. 2. “A world-without-end bargain.” [back]
Note 3. That in your Will: Prof. Dowden says of this phrase: “The Quarto has Will (capital ‘W,’ but not italics). If a play on words is intended, it must be ‘Love in your Will (i.e., your Will Shakespeare) can think no evil of you, do what you please;’ and also ‘Love can discover no evil in your will.’” [back]
 
 
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