Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > Poems

William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Oxford Shakespeare: Poems.  1914.

Sonnet LXXXI.

“Or I shall live your epitaph to make”

OR I shall live your epitaph to make 
Or you survive when I in earth am rotten; 
From hence your memory death cannot take, 
Although in me each part will be forgotten. 
Your name from hence immortal life shall have,         5
Though I, once gone, to all the world must die: 
The earth can yield me but a common grave, 
When you entombed in men’s eyes shall lie. 
Your monument shall be my gentle verse, 
Which eyes not yet created shall o’er-read;  10
And tongues to be your being shall rehearse, 
When all the breathers of this world are dead; 
  You still shall live,—such virtue hath my pen,— 
  Where breath most breathes,—even in the mouths of men. 



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