In Shakespeare's English
From fairest creatures we desire increase,
That thereby beauty's rose might never die,
But as the riper should by time decease,
His tender heir might bear his memory:
But thou, contracted to thine own bright eyes,
Feed'st thy light's flame with self-substantial fuel,
Making a famine where abundance lies,
Thyself thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel.
Thou that art now the world's fresh ornament
And only herald to the gaudy spring,
Within thine own bud buriest thy content
And, tender churl, mak'st waste in niggarding.
Pity the world, or else this glutton be,
To eat the world's due, by the grave and thee.
When forty winters shall besiege thy brow,
And dig deep trenches in thy beauty's field,
Thy youth's proud livery, so gaz'd on now,
Will be a tatter'd weed, of small worth held:
Then being ask'd where all thy beauty lies,
Where all the treasure of thy lusty days,
To say, within thine own deep-sunken eyes,
Were an all-eating shame and thriftless praise.
How much more praise deserv'd thy beauty's use,
If thou couldst answer, 'This fair child of mine
Shall sum my count, and make my old excuse,'
Proving his beauty by succession thine!
This were to be new made when thou art old,
And see thy blood warm when thou feel'st it cold.
Look in thy glass, and tell the face thou viewest
Now is the time that face should form another;
Whose fresh repair if now thou not renewest,
Thou dost beguile the world, unbless some mother,
For where is she so fair whose unear'd womb
Disdains the tillage of thy husbandry?
Or who is he so fond will be the tomb
Of his self-love, to stop posterity?
Thou art thy mother's glass, and she in thee
Calls back the lovely April of her prime;
So thou through windows of thine age shalt see,
Despite of wrinkles, this thy golden time.
But if thou live, remember'd not to be,
Die single, and thine image dies with thee.
Unthrifty loveliness, why dost thou spend
Upon thyself thy beauty's legacy?
Nature's bequest gives nothing, but doth lend,
And being frank, she lends to those are free:
Then, beauteous niggard, why dost thou abuse
The bounteous largess given thee to give?
Profitless usurer, why dost thou use
So great a sum of sums, yet canst not live?
For having traffic with thyself alone,
Thou of thyself thy sweet self dost deceive:
Then how, when Nature calls thee to be gone,
What acceptable audit canst thou leave?
Thy unus'd beauty must be tomb'd with thee,
Which, used, lives th' executor to be.
Those hours, that with gentle work did frame
The lovely gaze where every eye doth dwell,
Will play the tyrants to the very same
And that unfair which fairly doth excel;
For never-resting time leads summer on
To hideous winter, and confounds him there;
Sap check'd with frost, and lusty leaves quite gone,
Beauty o'ersnow'd and bareness every where:
Then, were not summer's distillation left,
A liquid prisoner pent in walls of glass,
Beauty's effect with beauty were bereft,
Nor it, nor no remembrance what it was;
But flowers distill'd, though they with winter meet,
Leese but their show; their substance still lives sweet.
Then let not winter's ragged hand deface
In thee thy summer, ere thou be distill'd:
Make sweet some vial; treasure thou some place
With beauty's treasure, ere it be self-kill'd.
That use is not forbidden usury,
Which happies those that pay the willing loan;
That's for thyself to breed another thee,
Or ten times happier, be it ten for one;
Ten times thyself were happier than thou art,
If ten of thine ten times refigur'd thee;
Then what could death do, if thou shouldst depart,
Leaving thee living in posterity?
Be not self-will'd, for thou art much too fair
To be death's conquest and make worms thine heir.
Lo! in the orient when the gracious light
Lifts up his burning head, each under eye
Doth homage to his new-appearing sight,
Serving with looks his sacred majesty;
And having climb'd the steep-up heavenly hill,
Resembling strong youth in his middle age,
Yet mortal looks adore his beauty still,
Attending on his golden pilgrimage;
But when from highmost pitch, with weary car,
Like feeble age, he reeleth from the day,
The eyes, 'fore duteous, now converted are
From his low tract, and look another way,
So thou, thyself outgoing in thy noon,
Unlook'd on diest, unless thou get a son.
Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?
Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy:
Why lov'st thou that which thou receiv'st not gladly,
Or else receiv'st with pleasure thine annoy?
If the true concord of well-tuned sounds,
By unions married, do offend thine ear,
They do but sweetly chide thee, who confounds
In singleness the parts that thou shouldst bear.
Mark how one string, sweet husband to another,
Strikes each in each by mutual ordering;
Resembling sire and child and happy mother,
Who, all in one, one pleasing note do sing:
Whose speechless song, being many, seeming one,
Sings this to thee: 'Thou single wilt prove none.'
Is it for fear to wet a widow's eye
That thou consum'st thyself in single life?
Ah! if thou issueless shalt hap to die,
The world will wail thee, like a makeless wife;
The world will be thy widow, and still weep
That thou no form of thee hast left behind,
When every private widow well may keep
By children's eyes her husband's shape in mind.
Look! what an unthrift in the world doth spend
Shifts but his place, for still the world enjoys it;
But beauty's waste hath in the world an end,
And kept unus'd, the user so destroys it.
No love toward others in that bosom sits
That on himself such murderous shame commits.
For shame, deny that thou bear'st love to any,
Who for thyself art so unprovident.
Grant, if thou wilt, thou art belov'd of many,
But that thou none lov'st is most evident;
For thou art so possess'd with murderous hate
That 'gainst thyself thou stick'st not to conspire,
Seeking that beauteous roof to ruinate
Which to repair should be thy chief desire.
O, change thy thought, that I may change my mind:
Shall hate be fairer lodg'd than gentle love?
Be, as thy presence is, gracious and kind,
Or to thyself at least kind-hearted prove.
Make thee another self, for love of me,
That beauty still may live in thine or thee.
As fast as thou shalt wane, so fast thou grow'st
In one of thine, from that which thou departest;
And that fresh blood which youngly thou bestow'st
Thou mayst call thine when thou from youth convertest.
Herein lives wisdom, beauty, and increase;
Without this, folly, age and cold decay:
If all were minded so, the times should cease
And threescore year would make the world away.
Let those whom Nature hath not made for store,
Harsh, featureless and rude, barrenly perish:
Look, whom she best endow'd she gave the more;
Which bounteous gift thou shouldst in bounty cherish:
She carv'd thee for her seal, and meant thereby
Thou shouldst print more, nor let that copy die.
When I do count the clock that tells the time,
And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;
When I behold the violet past prime,
And sable curls, all silver'd o'er with white;
When lofty trees I see barren of leaves,
Which erst from heat did canopy the herd,
And summer's green all girded up in sheaves,
Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard,
Then of thy beauty do I question make,
That thou among the wastes of time must go,
Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake
And die as fast as they see others grow;
And nothing 'gainst Time's scythe can make defence
Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence.
O! that you were yourself; but, love, you are
No longer yours than you yourself here live:
Against this coming end you should prepare,
And your sweet semblance to some other give:
So should that beauty which you hold in lease
Find no determination; then you were
Yourself again, after yourself's decease,
When your sweet issue your sweet form should bear.
Who lets so fair a house fall to decay,
Which husbandry in honour might uphold
Against the stormy gusts of winter's day
And barren rage of death's eternal cold?
O! none but unthrifts. Dear my love, you know
You had a father: let-your son say so.
Not from the stars do I my judgment 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.
When I consider every thing that grows
Holds in perfection but a little moment,
That this huge stage presenteth nought but shows
Whereon the stars in secret influence comment;
When I perceive that men as plants increase,
Cheered and check'd e'en by the self-same sky,
Vaunt in their youthful sap, at height decrease,
And wear their brave state out of memory;
Then the conceit of this inconstant stay
Sets you most rich in youth before my sight,
Where wasteful Time debateth with Decay,
To change your day of youth to sullied night;
And, all in war with Time for love of you,
As he takes from you, I engraft you new.
But wherefore do not you a mightier way
Make war upon this bloody tyrant, Time?
And fortify yourself in your decay
With means more blessed than my barren rime?
Now stand you on the top of happy hours,
And many maiden gardens, yet unset,
With virtuous wish would bear you living flowers
Much liker than your painted counterfeit:
So should the lines of life that life repair,
Which this time's pencil or my pupil pen
Neither in inward worth nor outward fair,
Can make you live yourself in eyes of men.
To give away yourself keeps yourself still;
And you must live, drawn by your own sweet skill.
Who will believe my verse in time to come,
If it were fill'd with your most high deserts?
Though yet, heaven knows, it is but as a tomb
Which hides your life and shows not half your parts.
If I could write the beauty of your eyes
And in fresh numbers number all your graces,
The age to come would say, 'This poet lies;
Such heavenly touches ne'er touch'd earthly faces.'
So should my papers, yellow'd with their age,
Be scorn'd, like old men of less truth than tongue,
And your true rights be term'd a poet's rage
And stretched metre of an antique song:
But were some child of yours alive that time,
You should live twice,—in it and in my rime.
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date;
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st;
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
Devouring Time, blunt thou the lion's paws,
And make the earth devour her own sweet brood;
Pluck the keen teeth from the fierce tiger's jaws,
And burn the long-lived phoenix in her blood;
Make glad and sorry seasons as thou fleets,
And do whate'er thou wilt, swift-footed Time,
Fo the wide world and all her fading sweets;
But I forbid thee one most heinous crime:
O! carve not with thy hours my love's fair brow,
Nor draw no lines there with thine antique pen;
Him in thy course untainted do allow
For beauty's pattern to succeeding men.
Yet, do thy worst, old Time: despite thy wrong,
My love shall in my verse ever live young.
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,
Which 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.
So is it not with me as with that Muse,
Stirr'd by a painted beauty to his verse,
Who heaven itself for ornament doth use,
And every fair with his fair doth rehearse,
Making a couplement of proud compare
With sun and moon, with earth and sea's rich gems,
With April's first-born flowers, and all things rare
That heaven's air in this huge rondure hems.
O! let me, true in love, but truly write,
And then believe me, my love is as fair
As any mother's child, though not so bright
As those gold candles fix'd in heaven's air:
Let them say more that like of hear-say well;
I will not praise that purpose not to sell.
My glass shall not persuade me I am old,
So long as youth and thou are of one date;
But when in thee time's furrows I behold,
Then look I death my days should expiate.
For all that beauty that doth cover thee
Is but the seemly raiment of my heart,
Which in thy breast doth live, as thine in me:
How can I then, be elder than thou art?
O! therefore, love, be of thyself so wary
As I, not for myself, but for thee will;
Bearing thy heart, which I will keep so chary
As tender nurse her babe from faring ill.
Presume not on thy heart when mine is slain;
Thou gav'st me thine, not to give back again.
As an unperfect actor on the stage,
Who with his fear is put besides 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'ercharg'd 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 express'd.
O! learn to read what silent love hath writ:
To hear with eyes belongs to love's fine wit.
Mine eye hath play'd the painter and hath stell'd
Thy beauty's form in table of my heart.
My body is the frame wherein 'tis held,
And perspective it is best painter's art.
For through the painter must you see his skill,
To find where your true image pictur'd lies,
Which in my bosom's shop is hanging still,
That hath his windows glazed with thine eyes.
Now see what good turns eyes for eyes have done:
Mine eyes have drawn thy shape, and thine for me
Are windows to my breast, where-through the sun
Delights to peep, to gaze therein on thee;
Yet eyes this cunning want to grace their art,
They draw but what they see, know not the heart.
Let those who are in favour with their stars
Of public honour and proud titles boast,
Whilst I, whom fortune of such triumph bars,
Unlook'd-for joy in that I honour most.
Great princes' favourites their fair leaves spread
But as the marigold at the sun's eye,
And in themselves their pride lies buried,
For at a frown they in their glory die.
The painful warrior famoused for fight,
After a thousand victories once foil'd,
Is from the book of honour razed quite,
And all the rest forgot for which he toil'd:
Then happy I, that love and am belov'd,
Where I may not remove nor be removed.
In Plain English
We desire all beautiful things to grow more plentiful,
So that nature's beauty may not die out,
But as an old man dies at the hand of time,
He leaves an heir to carry on his memory:
But you, interested only in your own beauty,
Feed the radiant light of life with self-regarding fuel,
Making a void of beauty by obsessing over your looks,
With this behavior you are being cruel to yourself.
You are now the beautiful, newest ornament in the world,
And the chief messenger of the gaudy spring,
But you bury the gifts you have been given within yourself
And, dearest, you waste your beauty when you hoard it.
Take pity on the world, or be regarded as a selfish glutton
Taking what the world offers then taking it all to the grave.
When 40 years have carved deep wrinkles in your forehead,
And dug deep trenches in what was once your beauty,
Your youth's proud appearance, so looked upon now,
Will be a tattered weed, and of little worth:
Then, upon being asked where all your beauty went,
and all the treasures of your virile youth,
To say they are within your own deep-sunken eyes,
That'd be an all-consuming shame nothing to be proud of.
How much more praise would your beauty elicit,
If you could reply, "Raising this fair child of mine
Is the reason for my age, why I look so old."
Proving that you have passed your beauty unto your child.
The child will be the new you when you are old,
And there you'll see the warmth of blood when yours is cold.
Look in the mirror and tell the face you see,
Now is the time for that face to father a child.
While it is fresh and healthy, if you don't renew it,
You'll cheat the world, deprive a woman of such blessing,
Because what beautiful woman, whose womb is available,
Would look upon with scorn the acceptance of your seed?
And who is the self-absorbed fool that entombs,
By indulging self-love, all future generations?
You are the mirror image of your mother, and seeing you
brings her back memories of when she was young,
And you too, through your eyes of old age will do the
same,despite all of your wrinkles, because this is your
golden time. But if live without children to remember you,
Then you'll die alone, and your image will perish as well.
You wasteful lovely person, why do you spend
Upon yourself the beauty you should pass on?
Nature gives nothing; she lends to us,
And being generous, she lends to those who are generous:
Then, beautiful hoarder, why do you abuse (waste)
the bountiful gifts you've been given?
Profitless consumer, why do you use
So much of your treasure, yet you can't perpetuate?
Having to do with yourself alone,
You are cheating yourself out of the best part of yourself.
How then, when nature asks you to pass away,
What acceptable account of yourself will you leave?
Your unused beauty will be entombed with you,
Which, used, would leave an heir to be named in your will.
Those hours that, over time, gently shaped
Your lovely face, which everyone now likes to look at,
Will eventually, by the same process, ruin your good looks
and make ugly what once excelled in beauty;
For never-resting Time will move summer forward
Onto hideous winter, until they are indistinguishable;
Flow of sap stopped by frost, and radiant leaves all gone,
Beauty covered by snow and everything becoming bare:
Then, if summer's essence, its perfume were not left,
a liquid prisoner in a perfume bottle,
Beauty's effects would vanish with the beauty of summer,
Nor summer, would we remember what it was;
But flowers reduced to essence, though they meet winter,
Though they lose their show, their aroma still smells sweet.
So don't let the hand of old age destroy
The beauty in you, before your essence is preserved.
Make a woman pregnant, find a place for your treasure,
Put beauty's treasure there, before it dies with you.
Using treasure in this manner to gain interest isn't forbidden,
It makes happy anyone who is willing to pay the interest;
That form of usury is when you make another you,
Or make ten more like you, gaining ten for the price of one,
Ten of you will be much happier than one of you,
If ten of you make ten more of you;
Then what could death do, if you should die
Leaving your self (children) living in future generations?
Don't be narcissistic, because you are too beautiful
To be extinguished by death making worms your only heirs.
Look! In the east when the gracious light
Lifts its burning head, each person on earth
Pays homage to its reappearing light
By gazing upon all its sacred majesty;
And once the sun has climbed to its highest peak,
Quite resembling a strong youth though middle-aged,
Still, human beings will gaze and adore its beauty,
Watch it pass on its golden pilgrimage like a king.
But when from holding the highest peak it tires,
It reels, like an old man, from this hight,
And those who dutifully gazed before are changed,
due to his descent, and look the other way.
So you, when you've moved past your own noon,
Will die with no one to gaze at you unless you have a son.
You are music to hear, so why does music make you sad?
Sweets do not fight sweets, joy finds pleasure in joy:
Why do you love those things that make you unhappy,
Or enjoy those things that are not good for you?
If the peaceful coexistence of precise sounds,
Played well together, offends your ear,
They are lovingly scolding you, you who confuses
Being single with playing your music in harmony.
Notice how one string, played in harmony with another,
Vibrates well when played in the proper order,
Resembling a father and child and a happy mother,
Who, in unison,sound out one pleasing chord:
Though your song wordlesss, your voices sound like one,
And they warn you: "If you stay single you'll have no music."
Is it for fear of making your widow cry if you die
That you use up your life in a state of singleness?
Oh! If you should happen to die childless,
The world will cry for you, just like a wife would:
The world will be your widow, and still cry
Because you left behind nothing of yourself,
But if a widow were left behind, she would keep alive,
by looking at her children, the memory of her husband.
Look! An extravagant person who wastes his money
Is shifting money around, and the world still enjoys it;
But wasted beauty has in the world an end,
And if kept unused, the user ends up destroying it.
The person has no love for others in his heart
When he commits such a murderous outrage upon himself.
Avoid shame and deny that you have love for anyone,
You who are unprepared for the future.
I'll admit, if you like, that you are loved by many,
But that you love no one is quite evident,
For you are so possessed with murderous hatred
That you don't hesitate to conspire against yourself,
Seeking to ruin the beautiful roof of your house
When your main concern should be to repair it.
Oh, change this thought so I can change my mind about
you.Will hate have a more beautiful home than love?
Be, like your appearance, gracious and kind,
Or at least prove to be kind-hearted to yourself.
Have a child, for the love of me,
So that beauty may still live in your children if not in you.
As fast as you will grow old, so fast will you grow
In one of your children, made from that which you give away;
And that new child you made while still young
You may call your own when you are no longer young.
Here lives wisdom, beauty, and reproduction;
Without this, foolishness, old age and cold decay of death:
If everyone thought the same way as you, all would end
And sixty years would see the world perish.
Let those Nature didn't intend as a source to be drawn from,
The rough, ugly and disagreeable, die without children:
Look, those she gave good qualities she blessed the most;
And you should cherish a generous gift by being generous:
Nature made you as a stamp, and she intended
You should print more of yourself, so your copy doesn't die.
When I look at the clock that marks the time,
And see the splendid day sink into the ugly night;
When I see the violet wilting away,
And black curls, all silvered over with white;
When I see tall trees stripped of their leaves,
Which a long time ago provided shade for the herd,
And summer's crop bundled up and stored,
Carried on a coffin transport, white and rough bearded,
Then I have doubts about the fate of your beauty,
Because you will also undergo the ravages of time,
Since sweet and beautiful people don't stay that way
and die as fast as they see others grow;
And there is no defense against Time's aging blade
Except to have children, to so defy death when he takes you.
Oh! If you were only yourself, but, my love, you are
Not yours for any longer than the time you live:
You should make preparations for when you die,
And pass your beauty onto someone else:
So that the beauty which you hold on borrowed time
Wouldn't have to end; then you would
Be yourself again, even after you're dead,
When your sweet offspring inherits your sweet form.
Who lets such a beautiful house become run down,
When good housekeeping might provide defense
Against the stormy gusts of a winter's day
and the raging barrenness of the cold hand of death?
Oh! Only those who are extravagant. You know, Dear Love,
You had a father: Now let your son be able to say the same.
I don't base my judgment on the stars,
And yet it seems to me I know astrology,
But not to predict good or bad events,
Or plagues, or famines, or what a season will bring;
Nor can I predict anything, down to the minute,
What each individual person's misfortunes will be,
Or tell princes that things will go well,
By what I see when I look at the stars:
But from your very eyes I derive my knowledge,
And, by the fixed stars, I can read in your eyes
That 'Truth and beauty together will thrive,
If you were to pass on these attributes (to a child),
Or else this is what I predict will happen:
When you die, truth and beauty will die with you.
When I consider every thing that grows
Is perfect only for a brief time,
That this huge stage presents nothing but shows
That in secret the stars control everything;
When I comprehend that men grow like plants,
Encouraged and stopped suddenly by the same stars,
Boastful in their youthful vigor, which then declines,
Wearing out their glory until no one remembers;
Then the thought of this fleeting quality
Making you look quite youthful before my eyes,
Where passing Time is in a contest with Decay,
To cause your days of youth to spoil as you get older;
And, utterly at war with Time because I love you,
As he takes from you, I will give you new life with my verses.
But why don't you find a more powerful way (than my verses)
To make war against this bloody tyrant, Time?
And strengthen yourself in your old age
With a method more blessed than my barren verses?
Take advantage while you're at your peak,
And many virtuous women, not yet in a motherly way,
With moral integrity (marriage) would bear you many
childrenWhich would look more like you than your painted
So should these blood lines by having children continue,
Which this time's pencil or my inexperienced pen (verses)
Can neither in your inner beauty or external beauty
Make you immortal in the eyes of men.
By giving of yourself (having children) you will live on;
And you must live on, by making a copy of yourself.
Who in the future will believe my poetry
If it were filled with my most highest praises of you?
Although, heaven knows, it is but a tomb
Which hides you and shows less than half your true value.
If I could capture in writing the beauty of your eyes
And with new verses list all of your wonderful attributes,
The next generation would say, "This poet is lying;
Such divine beauty never graced human faces."
This is the way my pages of poetry, yellow with age,
Would be scorned, like old men so prone to tell tall tales,
Your true beauty being called the ravings of a madman
And the stretching of truth put to music in an old tune:
But if your child were to live in that time,
You would live twice,---in that child and in my verses.
Should I compare you to a summer's day?
You are more lovely and more reserved.
Rough winds do shake the pretty buds of May,
And summer doesn't last nearly long enough;
Sometimes the sun shines too brightly (hot),
And often its golden complexion is dimmed by clouds,
And sooner or later everything beautiful loses its beauty,
Either by accident, or simply by nature taking its course;
But your eternal summer will not fade
Nor will you lose possession of your beauty,
Nor will death brag that you walk in his shadow,
When in my eternal verses you are given life for all time;
As long as men (women) live, or have eyes to see with,
So will this poem live, and this poem gives life to you.
Devouring Time, go ahead and blunt the lion's paws,
And make the earth swallow up her own sweet creatures;
Pluck the sharp teeth out of the fierce tiger's jaws,
And burn the long-lived phoenix in its own blood;
Make happy and sad times as you move on,
And do whatever you like, swift-footed Time,
To the wide world and all of her vanishing delights;
But I forbid you from doing this most horrible crime:
Oh! do not make old with time my love's beautiful brow,
Nor put wrinkles there with your old pen;
Allow him to be with your passing untouched
To serve as an example for the men who come after.
Still, do your worst, old Time: despite this wrong you do,
My love will live forever young through my verses.
A woman's face painted by Nature's own hand
Have you, the man (or woman) whom I love;
A woman's heart you have, but you are not prone
To cheating, the way untrue women are;
Your eyes more beautiful than theirs, less prone to roving,
Blesses each object it gazes upon;
You are handsome, with control over your handsomeness,
And you get admiration from men, and touch women's souls.
But you were first created to exist as a woman;
Until Nature as she was creating you got carried away,
And by adding something (a penis) ruined my chances,
And this addition (penis) is of no use to me.
But since Nature gave you a penis to pleasure women with,
I'll keep your love, and let them (women) use your body.
So I'm not at all like that other poet,
Stirred by a false beauty when writing a poem,
who compares her to heavenly bodies,
and to every other beautiful thing he sees,
Linking the subject of his praise in fine comparison
With the sun and moon, the rich jewels of the earth and sea,
The newly budding flowers of April, and all rare things
That heaven's grace sews together on this huge world.
Oh! Let me, who loves you truly, write only with truth,
And believe you me, my lover is as beautiful
As any human being, though maybe not as bright
As those stars fixed in the vast expanse of heaven.
Let them say instead that it's very much empty talk;
I won't waste my praises to (convince) sell them to others.
My mirror is not going to convince me I'm old
As long as you and youth are one and the same;
But when I start to see the wrinkles of your old age,
Then I want death to come swiftly and end my life.
Because all of that beauty you possess
Is but the pleasing (to mind or eye) cover over my heart,
Which beats within your chest, as well as in mine;
How can I then, be older than you are?
Oh! Therefore, love, take good care of yourself
As I will take care of myself, not for me, but for your sake,
Caring for your heart, which I will carefully protect
The way a caring nurse prevents a baby from getting ill.
Don't believe in your heart it is true when mine is dead:
You gave me yours (heart), never to be returned.
Like an actor who forgets his lines on the stage,
Who with his fear suffers from stage fright,
Or like some wild animal or human complete with rage,
Whose excessive passions lead to his undoing;
So I, for fear or lack of trust in myself, forget to say
Those things a lover should say to his beloved
and the stronger my love the weaker it seems to get
And I'm burdened with doubts about my love's strength.
Oh let my writings be the eloquent speaker
And silent omens of my speaking heart,
That pleads for love, and looks for love in return,
In a language that has more eloquence than I do.
Oh, learn to read what my unspoken love has written;
To read between the lines is part of love's intuition
My eye has played the role of painter and sketched
Your beautiful image on the ground (center) of my heart.
My body is the frame which holds that image,
And assessed (viewed) to be the work of a master painter.
For via the painter's eye you will acquire the skill
To find out where your true image is hanging,
Which happens to be continually in my heart,
Which has his eyes fixed upon your eyes.
Now see the favors our eyes have done for each other:
My eyes have drawn your image, and for me your eyes
Are windows to my heart, through which the sun
Likes to peek, to look inside and see you.
Yet eyes lack the skill to grace their art,
They can only draw what they see, they can't see the heart
Let those who have the luck of the stars
Boast about their prizes and their titles,
While I, who am not lucky enough for such rewards,
Without expectation delight in the person I honor most.
The favorites of great princes enjoy their high status
The way the marigold enjoys the sun,
And their fragile pride lies buried within themselves,
For at the sight of a frown they would wilt and die.
The pain-filled (pain-causing) warrior, famous for his battles,
Having achieved a thousand victories before being beaten,
Is erased from the great book of honor,
And everything he fought for is soon forgotten.
Then I'll be happy, loving and being loved,
In a place where my love won't change or fall out of favor
|SHAKESPEARE'S SONNETS 1 THRU 25