SONNET NO. 54
0, how much more doth beauty beauteous seem
By that sweet ornament which truth doth give!
The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem
For that sweet odour which doth in it live.
The canker blooms have full as deep a dye
As the perfumed tincture of the roses.
Hang on such thorns and play as wantonly,
When summer's breath their masked buds discloses:
But for their virtue only is their show
They live unwoo'd and unrespected fade,
Die to themselves: sweet roses do not so;
Of their sweet deaths are sweetest odours made.
And so of you-beauteous and lovely youth
When that shall fade, by verse distils your truth.
Note the repetition of the following words, we find-rose,
roses, roses, beauteous, beauteous, odour, odours.
2nd Line. Truth = constancy.
5th Line. Canker blooms = the dog roses, which are red but
scentless, they die unwoo'd.
This sonnet appears to be addressed to Adonis whose name
is spelt out in the margin of the preceding sonnet. The poet
writes that when roses die-sweetest odours are made-that is
pot pourri, which I do not suppose that Will Shakspere had
ever seen or heard of.