Wainwright, Rufus - Sonnet 129 Lyrics

Th' expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action; and till action, lust
Is perjured, murd'rous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust,
Enjoyed no sooner but despisèd straight,
Past reason hunted; and, no sooner had
Past reason hated as a swallowed bait
On purpose laid to make the taker mad;
Mad in pursuit and in possession so,
Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;
A bliss in proof and proved, a very woe;
Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream.
All this the world well knows; yet none knows well
To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.

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Wainwright, Rufus Sonnet 129 Comments
  1. Iain MacDonald

    My favourite sonnet set to music by a superstar

  2. Angela Connor

    Saw him in Glasgow in April such talent I think he's fabulous x

  3. Nikol Halamová

    Like Your natural expression, tenderness and melancholy..

  4. Victor Von Doom

    You know when you hear people say "that boy has got the voice of an angel". If they were talking about Rufus they could just be right for once.

  5. donatella poma

    Beautiful Voice superboys salotto performance the best anytime

  6. Seth Alvis

    A perfect sonnet

  7. Lys blanc

    Une voix magique..un grand artiste Ruffus...😘😊

  8. xPump

    WOW ! My Wife and I saw Saw Rufus with the St Louis Symphony tonight. (Our Valentines gift to selves)
     This was no -  "pop vocalist sings with symphony"  trope.
    The SLSO arraignments where seamless, complementary and exciting. This combined performance was truly beyond all my expectations - musical excellence on the highest level.
     I was literally awestruck on some of the events in the performance tonight and now feverently hope this gets released as:    "Rufus Wainwright LIVE with the SLSO  2/16/18"  .
    I for one will be the 1st in line for that CD!

    Liz Brian

    xPump, I was at that performance - flew up from SW Florida on February 15, and home on the 17th. I have seen him perform 50+ times, from Florida to Europe to Saint Louis, Canada, and Sioux Falls. In my opinion, Rufus never disappoints and I always want more.

    I saw him last in December at Noel Nights in Montreal twice and I’ll see him next in Amsterdam in April.

  9. donatella poma


  10. Sidney Frederickson

    Thought to be written by Shakespeare about his patron (and possible lover) the Earl of Southampton.

  11. Mary Edwards

    Soulful and very beautiful words sincerely sung

  12. Paul G

    I've heard him sing this live and you could hear a pin drop everyone was just THAT captivated. It was phenomenal, watching him live is like a spiritual experience.

    Katie Beavers

    Paul G Agreed! I saw him some years ago at the Paramount in Austin, and I’m still moved just thinking about it.

    Valerie Kelsey

    Agreed! Best live artist I have EVER seen.

    Salobrena Smith

    @Sage Woodward It was a dream come true for me.. saw him this year in Malaga.. sigh.. I was on a Rufus high for about a week after.

    Sage Woodward

    @Salobrena Smith I'm actually seeing him in Scottsdale, AZ this October! So. Fucking. Excited.

    Angela Connor

    Saw him Glasgow not disappointed the man us phenomenal performer

  13. Noé Zamora Mejía

    Shakespeare? Neruda? Sorry... I don't understand english very well...  

    Lyssa Rumble

    +Noé Zamora Mejía, it´s a Shakespeare's sonnet:

    A woman's face with Nature's own hand painted 
    Hast thou, the master-mistress of my passion; 
    A woman's gentle heart, but not acquainted 
    With shifting change, as is false women's fashion;
    An eye more bright than theirs, less false in rolling,
    Gilding the object whereupon it gazeth; 
    A man in hue, all hues in his controlling,
    Much steals men's eyes and women's souls amazeth.
    And for a woman wert thou first created; 
    Till Nature, as she wrought thee, fell a-doting,
    And by addition me of thee defeated, 
    By adding one thing to my purpose nothing.
    But since she prick'd thee out for women's pleasure,
    Mine be thy love and thy love's use their treasure.

  14. mog

    beautiful and so true!

  15. Heidi Canzanelli

    Love you rufus :) always sound beautiful, soulful, sonorous, existential

    Frank Hughes

    louden wainwright duets

  16. Eniko Gaspar

    Eb G Bb x12
    D F G Bb x4
    C Eb G Bb x4
    Bb D G x4
    Ab C F x4
    G Bb Eb x4
    F Ab C Eb x4
    Bb D F Ab x8
    repeat from the beginning
    Eb G Bb x4
    Db F G Bb x4
    C E G Bb x4
    B D# F# A x4
    repeat that section
    Bb D F Ab x8
    then back to the beginning, play first 4 lines again.

    Rita Henríquez Concepción

    Eniko Gaspar gracias

    Rita Henríquez Concepción

    Gracias. Es muy amable por tu parte compartir esto. Abrazo

    Devin Angelet

    You're the best, thank you!!

  17. Mary Ward

    What a beautiful song!

  18. runescape hg

    Can someone please tell me the chords??

  19. gnilttbs

    The way you spelt "else" was a most fascinating one.

  20. Shari Wilkerson

    Candy behind the counter....... Why, God?

  21. Alexandra Nicholson

    You were absolutely amazing in Santa Barbara last night <3 This song particularly stood out. So beautiful and moving, thank you

  22. Marcel d'Olive

    Pure poetry!

  23. geelaka

    Why does his sexual orientation even need to be an issue? The guy's an amazing talent...period!

    Alan Hope

    Sonnet 20 is one of the sonnets that lead people to think that at least some of the poems are addressed to a a male object of the poet's love, if not an actual lover. Personally, I find tihs one fairly overt, with the master-mistress of my passion line, and the last six lines of the sonnet. "And for a womaqn wert thou first created" etc.

    It's fairly well established that Rufus is gay, given that he's maried to a bloke. So this sonnet will almost certainly have touched him especially. HIs sexual orientation is an issue because it allows him to identify with the subject of the sonnet. Get off your prickly right-wing horse and think about learning something from peope who are not you.

  24. Angharad Proust

    Excellent music for Shakespeare! Excellent singer and composer, love u Rufus.

  25. Communist Hippie

    im happy hes gay. or ells he would have taken all the good girls with hes heavenly voice. and left us mediocre guys empty handed.

  26. Barbara Bannon

    , God this guy is the bizz, A voice given by god and the generousity to share it to us mortal souls. xxxxxxxx

  27. Shaun Barry

    This is all that is good about humanity.

  28. Ola Elnaggar

    But since she prick'd thee out for women's pleasure,
    Mine be thy love and thy love's use their treasure.<33

  29. Epic games

    The sonnet his is about to go into at the end of the video is genius!!

  30. starkid77

    @smartyeh Yeah, that did seem to end very sudden, wth?

  31. deborah elliott

    @Zeno931 when you have his amount of talent you could sing a nurser rhyme and it would be brilliant . the man is agenius.

  32. smartyeh

    at 2:50
    does the music end? or it just be cut ?
    hope someone can share the complete version . :)

  33. anotherellisd

    only rufus could turn a sonnet into a song

  34. jasonalexanderbutler

    SickNewMusicArtist. com
    Good jam!!

  35. Jennifer Peak

    Who cares if he's gay? He makes great music.

    Jon Walker

    Jennifer Peak stop at “who cares if he is gay.”

  36. LemDaGreat

    Long live Shakespeare!

  37. bluzebaby

    @DemoraX So agree with you. Treasure is a good choice of a word.

  38. Rebeckle

    @ForeverKatie Guessing so, since Rufus is gay.

  39. Raptor Jesus

    a beautiful piece of treasure ontop of the pile of trash music we have today :)

  40. Katie Daubert

    Does he know that this Sonnet pertains to Shakespeare's love for a man???

    Liz Brian

    Katie Daubert, he certainly does.

    Liz Brian

    No doubt he does.

  41. Ogidni

    Dear Vevo, Let me start by saying get your corporate asses off YouTube! Ever since these big companies started paying off YouTube so they could post their freaking videos we can't post ours. We are flagged for infringement every time we include a song we like in our videos.

    This is YOUtube, the place where we can post OUR videos. If we wanted to listen to music from you wed go to your damn website.To all people who want greedy corporates gone copy and paste this

  42. Arielle363

    This song always gives me goosebumps. It's so beautiful. this is also one of my favourite poems!

  43. reiding mind

    listen to it over and over again, love it

  44. reiding mind

    love love love it so much......THANK YOU

  45. Julie Hanson

    My absolute favourite at the moment - hands down! Such talent and such an awesome mix of audacity and vulnerability.... so glad I discovered his work.

  46. Nuna Poulos


  47. 73cupcake

    Going to see him in 10 days! :)

  48. momoniku428


  49. Roberto Alexander

    Belíssimo como sempre :)

  50. Ian Monaco

    This is beautiful as usual. Does Rufus look like John Stamos in this or am i nuts?

    Liz Brian

    Ian Monaco, I don’t know who he looks like, only that he is beautiful.

  51. Juan Carlos Saenz


  52. tony bordonaro

    love it

  53. MontgomeryMonteiro

    Wow Dude! This song is perfect. Great Rufus.

  54. Sherexade81


  55. Celia Moore

    Rufus has a unique talent. It's hard to put into words. It's a mixture of honesty,natural ability and good old fashion hard work. If he ever gets fed up of touring, he should take up teaching.

  56. NELL-mostly10

    This is my favourite song on the new album. A beloved sonnet takes on new life and a whole new level of melancholy. Perfection. ♥

  57. therarub

    Such a singer. With his help I can go places that I couldn't go alone. Thanks

    Alan Hope

    That's great. Best of luck. I think you picked a good guide.