Single sonnet


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NB: Sonnet 99 is one of only three irregular sonnets in Shakespeare's sequence (the others being Sonnet 126 which structurally is not a sonnet at all but rather a poem of six pentameter couplets, and Sonnet 145 which has the typical rhyme scheme but is written in iambic tetrameter). Whereas a typical English or Shakespearean sonnet has three quatrains, followed by a final rhyming couplet, with the rhyme scheme ABAB CDCD EFEF GG, this sonnet begins with a quintain yielding the rhyme scheme ABABA CDCD EFEF GG. Like the other sonnets (except Sonnet 145) it is composed in iambic pentameter, a type of poetic metre based on five pairs of metrically weak/strong syllabic positions.
The forward violet thus did I chide:
Sweet thief, whence didst thou steal thy sweet that smells,
If not from my love's breath? The purple pride
Which on thy soft cheek for complexion dwells
In my love's veins thou hast too grossly dyed.
The lily I condemned for thy hand,
And buds of marjoram had stol'n thy hair:
The roses fearfully on thorns did stand,
One blushing shame, another white despair;
A third, nor red nor white, had stol'n of both
And to his robbery had annex'd thy breath;
But, for his theft, in pride of all his growth
A vengeful canker eat him up to death.
More flowers I noted, yet I none could see
But sweet or colour it had stol'n from thee.


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