Not from the stars
do I my judgement pluck;
And yet methinks I have Astronomy,
But not to tell of good or evil luck,
Of plagues, of dearths, or seasons' quality;
Nor can I fortune to brief minutes tell,
Pointing to each his thunder, rain and wind,
Or say with princes if it shall go well
By oft predict that I in heaven find:
But from thine eyes my knowledge I derive,
And, constant stars, in them I read such art
As truth and beauty shall together thrive,
If from thyself, to store thou wouldst convert;
Or else of thee this I prognosticate:
Thy end is truth's and beauty's doom and date.
The comparison of stars with eyes is traditional love lore in which the beloved assumes the qualities of everything that is angelic and heavenly. Drayton, Sydney and other contemporary poets made use of it. (See the example from Sidney at the bottom of this page). Shakespeare implies here that the foreknowledge he has from the 'stars' of the youth's eyes surpasses that derived from traditional astrology. He asserts that truth and beauty are doomed forever unless the young man chooses to perpetuate his line by having children.
The 1609 Quarto Version
NOt from the ſtars do I my iudgement plucke,
And yet me thinkes I haue Aſtronomy,
But not to tell of good,or euil lucke,
Of plagues,of dearths,or ſeaſons quallity,
Nor can I fortune to breefe mynuits tell);
Pointing to each his thunder, raine and winde,
Or ſay with Princes if it ſhal go wel
By oft predict that I in heauen finde.
But from thine eies my knowledge I deriue,
And conſtant ſtars in them I read ſuch art
As truth and beautie ſhal together thriue
If from thy ſelfe,to ſtore thou wouldſt conuert:
Or elſe of thee this I prognoſticate,
Thy end is Truthes and Beauties doome and date.