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 condemnèd 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 annexed thy breath;
But, for his theft, in pride of all his growth
A vengeful canker ate him up to death.
More flowers I noted, yet I none could see
But sweet or color it had stol’n from thee.
Reading of Sonnet 99
The images in the YouTube video are from an original 1609 edition of Shake-speares Sonnets held by the British Library. It is one of only thirteen copies in existence. Images courtesy of the Octavo Corporation.
Text from Original 1609 Quarto
Transcription courtesy of University of Virginia Library:
The forward violet thus did I chide,
*Sweet theefe whence didst thou steale thy sweet that |(smels
If not from my loues breath, the purple pride,
Which on thy soft cheeke for complexion dwells?
In my loues veines thou hast too grosely died,
The Lillie I condemned for thy hand,
And buds of marierom had stolne thy haire,
The Roses fearefully on thornes did stand,
Our¹ blushing shame, an other white dispaire:
A third nor red, nor white, had stolne of both,
And to his robbry had annext thy breath,
But for his theft in pride of all his growth
A vengfull canker eate him vp to death.
More flowers I noted, yet I none could see,
But sweet, or culler it had stolne from thee.
* indicates fully justified line, compositor may have adjusted spelling to fit the line.
Wording differences between the text and the reading are noted with a superscript: