That time of year thou mayst in me behold,
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou seest the twilight of such day,
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou seest the glowing of such fire,
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire,
Consumed with that which it was nourished by.
This thou perceiv'st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
The images in this sonnet are simple and striking and apt: autumn, twilight, and the dying embers of a fire to symbolize one's later years. I realize others may differ, but I consider the first four lines-- autumn--to be among the best, if not the very best, in Shakespeare's sonnets.
What are your favorite lines from Shakespeare?