How like a winter hath my absence been
From Thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!
What freezings have I felt; what dark days seen,
What old December’s bareness everywhere!
And yet this time removed was summer’s time:
The teeming autumn big with rich increase,
Bearing the wanton burden of the prime
Like widow’d wombs after their lords’ decease;
Yet this abundant issue seem’d to me
But hope of orphans, and unfather’d fruit;
For summer and his pleasures wait on thee,
And, thou away, the very birds are more;
Or if they sing, ’tis with so dull a cheer,
That leaves look pale, dreading the winter’s near.