Sonnet 23: As an unperfect actor on the stage

As an unperfect actor on the stage

Who with his fear is put beside his part,

Or some fierce thing replete with too much rage,

Whose strength's abundance weakens his own heart,

So I, for fear of trust, forget to say

The perfect ceremony of love's rite,

And in mine own love's strength seem to decay,

O'ercharged with burden of mine own love's might.

O, let my books be then the eloquence

And dumb presagers of my speaking breast,

Who plead for love, and look for recompense

More than that tongue that more hath more expressed.

O, learn to read what silent love hath writ,

To hear with eyes belongs to love's fine wit.

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