Sonnet 99 (The Forward Violet Thus Did I Chide)
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 check 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 eat him up to death.
More flowers I noted, yet I none could see,
But sweet or colour it had stol’n from thee.