In Shakespeare's English
Thus can my love excuse the slow offence
Of my dull bearer when from thee I speed:
From where thou art why should I haste me thence?
Till I return, of posting is no need.
O! what excuse will my poor beast then find,
When swift extremity can seem but slow?
Then should I spur, though mounted on the wind,
In winged speed no motion shall I know:
Then can no horse with my desire keep pace;
Therefore desire, of perfect'st love being made,
Shall neigh no dull flesh in his fiery race;
But love, for love, thus shall excuse my jade:
'Since from thee going he went wilful-slow,
Towards thee I'll run and give him leave to go.'
So am I as the rich, whose blessed key
Can bring him to his sweet up-locked treasure,
The which he will not every hour survey,
For blunting the fine point of seldom pleasure.
Therefore are feasts so solemn and so rare,
Since, seldom coming, in the long year set,
Like stones of worth they thinly placed are,
Or captain jewels in the carconet.
So is the time that keeps you as my chest,
Or as the wardrobe which the robe doth hide,
To make some special instant special blest
By new unfolding his imprison'd pride.
Blessed are you, whose worthiness gives scope,
Being had, to triumph; being lack'd, to hope.
What is your substance, whereof are you made,
That millions of strange shadows on you tend?
Since every one hath, every one, one shade,
And you, but one, can every shadow lend.
Describe Adonis, and the counterfeit
Is poorly imitated after you;
On Helen's cheek all art of beauty set,
And you in Grecian tires are painted new:
Speak of the spring and foison of the year,
The one doth shadow of your beauty show,
The other as your bounty doth appear;
And you in every blessed shape we know.
In all external grace you have some part,
But you like none, none you, for constant heart.
O! how much more doth beauty beauteous seem
By that sweet ornament which truth doth give!
The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem
For that sweet odour which doth in it live.
The canker-blooms have full as deep a dye
As the perfumed tincture of the roses,
Hang on such thorns, and play as wantonly
When summer's breath their masked buds discloses;
But, for their virtue only is their show,
They live unwoo'd, and unrespected fade;
Die to themselves. Sweet roses do not so;
Of their sweet deaths are sweetest odours made:
And so of you, beauteous and lovely youth,
When that shall vade, my verse distils your truth.
Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
Of princes shall outlive this powerful rime;
But you shall shine more bright in these contents
Than unswept stone, besmear'd with sluttish time.
When wasteful war shall statues overturn,
And broils root out the work of masonry,
Nor Mars his sword nor war's quick fire shall burn
The living record of your memory.
'Gainst death and all-oblivious enmity
Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room
Even in the eyes of all posterity
That wear this world out to the ending doom.
So, till the judgment that yourself arise,
You live in this, and dwell in lovers' eyes.
Sweet love, renew thy force; be it not said
Thy edge should blunter be than appetite,
Which but to-day by feeding is allay'd,
To-morrow sharpen'd in his former might:
So, love, be thou; although to-day thou fill
Thy hungry eyes, even till they wink with fulness,
To-morrrow see again, and do not kill
The spirit of love with a perpetual dulness.
Let this sad interim like the ocean be
Which parts the shore, where two contracted new
Come daily to the banks, that, when they see
Return of love, more bless'd may be the view;
Or call it winter, which, being full of care,
Makes summer's welcome thrice more wish'd, more rare.
Being your slave, what should I do but tend
Upon the hours and times of your desire?
I have no precious time at all to spend,
Nor services to do, till you require.
Nor dare I chide the world-without-end hour
Whilst I, my sovereign, watch the clock for you,
Nor think the bitterness of absence sour
When you have bid your servant once adieu;
Nor dare I question with my jealous thought
Where you may be, or your affairs suppose,
But, like a sad slave, stay and think of nought,
Save, where you are how happy you make those.
So true a fool is love that in your will,
Though you do anything, he thinks no ill.
That god forbid, that made me first your slave,
I should in thought control your times of pleasure,
Or at your hand the account of hours to crave,
Being your vassal, bound to stay your leisure!
O! let me suffer, being at your beck,
The imprison'd absence of your liberty;
And patience, tame to sufferance, bide each check,
Without accusing you of injury.
Be where you list, your charter is so strong
That you yourself may privilege your time
To what you will; to you it doth belong
Yourself to pardon of self-doing crime.
I am to wait, though waiting so be hell,
Not blame your pleasure, be it ill or well.
If there be nothing new, but that which is
Hath been before, how are our brains beguil'd,
Which, labouring for invention, bear amiss
The second burden of a former child!
O! that record could with a backward look,
Even of five hundred courses of the sun,
Show me your image in some antique book,
Since mind at first in character was done!
That I might see what the old world could say
To this composed wonder of your frame;
Whe'r we are mended, or whe'r better they,
Or whether revolution be the same.
O! sure I am, the wits of former days
To subjects worse have given admiring praise.
Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore,
So do our minutes hasten to their end;
Each changing place with that which goes before,
In sequent toil all forwards do contend.
Nativity, once in the main of light,
Crawls to maturity, wherewith being crown'd,
Crooked eclipses 'gainst his glory fight,
And Time that gave doth now his gift confound.
Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth
And delves the parallels in beauty's brow,
Feeds on the rarities of nature's truth,
And nothing stands but for his scythe to mow:
And yet to times in hope my verse shall stand,
Praising thy worth, despite his cruel hand.
Is it thy will thy image should keep open
My heavy eyelids to the weary night?
Dost thou desire my slumbers should be broken,
While shadows, like to thee, do mock my sight?
Is it thy spirit that thou send'st from thee
So far from home, into my deeds to pry,
To find out shames and idle hours in me,
The scope and tenour of thy jealousy?
O, no! thy love, though much, is not so great:
It is my love that keeps mine eye awake;
Mine own true love that doth my rest defeat,
To play the watchman ever for thy sake:
For thee watch I whilst thou dost wake elsewhere,
From me far off, with others all too near.
Sin of self-love possesseth all mine eye
And all my soul and all my every part;
And for this sin there is no remedy,
It is so grounded inward in my heart.
Methinks no face so gracious is as mine,
No shape so true, no truth of such account;
And for myself mine own worth do define,
As I all other in all worths surmount.
But when my glass shows me myself indeed,
Beated and chopp'd with tann'd antiquity,
Mine own self-love quite contrary I read;
Self so self-loving were iniquity.
'Tis thee, myself,—that for myself I praise,
Painting my age with beauty of thy days.
Against my love shall be, as I am now,
With Time's injurious hand crush'd and o'erworn;
When hours have drain'd his blood and fill'd his brow
With lines and wrinkles; when his youthful morn
Hath travell'd on to age's steepy night;
And all those beauties whereof now he's king
Are vanishing or vanish'd out of sight,
Stealing away the treasure of his spring;
For such a time do I now fortify
Against confounding age's cruel knife,
That he shall never cut from memory
My sweet love's beauty, though my lover's life:
His beauty shall in these black lines be seen,
And they shall live, and he in them still green.
When I have seen by Time's fell hand defac'd
The rich-proud cost of outworn buried age;
When sometime lofty towers I see down-raz'd,
And brass eternal slave to mortal rage;
When I have seen the hungry ocean gain
Advantage on the kingdom of the shore,
And the firm soil win of the watery main,
Increasing store with loss, and loss with store;
When I have seen such interchange of state,
Or state itself confounded to decay;
Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate—
That Time will come and take my love away.
This thought is as a death, which cannot choose
But weep to have that which it fears to lose.
Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea,
But sad mortality o'ersways their power,
How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea,
Whose action is no stronger than a flower?
O! how shall summer's honey breath hold out
Against the wrackful siege of battering days,
When rocks impregnable are not so stout,
Nor gates of steel so strong, but Time decays?
O fearful meditation! where, alack,
Shall Time's best jewel from Time's chest lie hid?
Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back?
Or who his spoil of beauty can forbid?
O! none, unless this miracle have might,
That in black ink my love may still shine bright.
Tir'd with all these, for restful death I cry
As to behold desert a beggar born,
And needy nothing trimm'd in jollity,
And purest faith unhappily forsworn,
And gilded honour shamefully misplac'd,
And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted,
And right perfection wrongfully disgrac'd,
And strength by limping sway disabled,
And art made tongue-tied by authority,
And folly—doctor-like—controlling skill,
And simple truth miscall'd simplicity,
And captive good attending captain ill:
Tir'd with all these, from these would I be gone,
Save that, to die, I leave my love alone.
Ah! wherefore with infection should he live,
And with his presence grace impiety,
That sin by him advantage should achieve,
And lace itself with his society?
Why should false painting imitate his cheek,
And steal dead seeming of his living hue?
Why should poor beauty indirectly seek
Roses of shadow, since his rose is true?
Why should he live, now Nature bankrupt is,
Beggar'd of blood to blush through lively veins?
For she hath no exchequer now but his,
And, proud of many, lives upon his gains?
O! him she stores, to show what wealth she had
In days long since, before these last so bad.
Thus is his cheek the map of days outworn,
When beauty liv'd and died as flowers do now,
Before these bastard signs of fair were born,
Or durst inhabit on a living brow;
Before the golden tresses of the dead,
The right of sepulchres, were shorn away,
To live a second life on second head;
Ere beauty's dead fleece made another gay:
In him those holy antique hours are seen,
Without all ornament, itself and true,
Making no summer of another's green,
Robbing no old to dress his beauty new;
And him as for a map doth Nature store,
To show false Art what beauty was of yore.
Those parts of thee that the world's eye doth view
Want nothing that the thought of hearts can mend;
All tongues—the voice of souls—give thee that due,
Uttering bare truth, even so as foes commend.
Thy outward thus with outward praise is crown'd;
But those same tongues, that give thee so thine own,
In other accents do this praise confound
By seeing farther than the eye hath shown.
They look into the beauty of thy mind,
And that, in guess, they measure by thy deeds;
Then, churls, their thoughts,although their eyes were kind,
To thy fair flower add the rank smell of weeds:
But why thy odour matcheth not thy show,
The soil is this, that thou dost common grow.
That thou art blam'd shall not be thy defect,
For slander's mark was ever yet the fair;
The ornament of beauty is suspect,
A crow that flies in heaven's sweetest air.
So thou be good, slander doth but approve
Thy worth the greater, being woo'd of time;
For canker vice the sweetest buds doth love,
And thou present'st a pure unstained prime.
Thou hast pass'd by the ambush of young days,
Either not assail'd, or victor being charg'd;
Yet this thy praise cannot be so thy praise,
To tie up envy evermore enlarg'd:
If some suspect of ill mask'd not thy show,
Then thou alone kingdoms of hearts shouldst owe.
No longer mourn for me when I am dead
Than you shall hear the surly sullen bell
Give warning to the world that I am fled
From this vile world, with vilest worms to dwell:
Nay, if you read this line, remember not
The hand that writ it; for I love you so,
That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot,
If thinking on me then should make you woe.
O! if,—I say, you look upon this verse,
When I perhaps compounded am with clay,
Do not so much as my poor name rehearse,
But let your love even with my life decay;
Lest the wise world should look into your moan,
And mock you with me after I am gone.
O! lest the world should task you to recite
What merit lived in me, that you should love
After my death,—dear love, forget me quite,
For you in me can nothing worthy prove;
Unless you would devise some virtuous lie,
To do more for me than mine own desert,
And hang more praise upon deceased I
Than niggard truth would willingly impart:
O! lest your true love may seem false in this,
That you for love speak well of me untrue,
My name be buried where my body is,
And live no more to shame nor me nor you.
For I am sham'd by that which I bring forth,
And so should you, to love things nothing worth.
That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see'st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west;
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest
In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire,
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire
Consum'd with that which it was nourish'd by.
This thou perceiv'st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
But be contented: when that fell arrest
Without all bail shall carry me away,
My life hath in this line some interest,
Which for memorial still with thee shall stay.
When thou reviewest this, thou dost review
The very part was consecrate to thee:
The earth can have but earth, which is his due;
My spirit is thine, the better part of me:
So then thou hast but lost the dregs of life,
The prey of worms, my body being dead;
The coward conquest of a wretch's knife,
Too base of thee to be remembered.
The worth of that is that which it contains,
And that is this, and this with thee remains.
So are you to my thoughts as food to life,
Or as sweet-season'd showers are to the ground;
And for the peace of you I hold such strife
As 'twixt a miser and his wealth is found;
Now proud as an enjoyer, and anon
Doubting the filching age will steal his treasure;
Now counting best to be with you alone,
Then better'd that the world may see my pleasure:
Sometime, all full with feasting on your sight,
And by and by clean starved for a look;
Possessing or pursuing no delight,
Save what is had or must from you be took.
Thus do I pine and surfeit day by day,
Or gluttoning on all, or all away.
In Plain English
This is how my love for you will excuse the slow offense
Of my horse when I journey away from you:
Why should I hurry away from where you are?
Until I return, there is no need for riding fast (posting).
Oh! What excuse will my horse have then,
When extreme speed will seem slow to me?
I'd spur my horse even if he rode like the wind;
Even if he had wings I would not feel myself moving.
Then no horse can keep up with my desire;
Therefore my desire, made of the most perfect love,
Will not hold back any part of his flesh in his fiery race;
But love, for love, I will excuse my horse (jade) in this way:
Since going away from you he intentionally went slow,
I'll run towards you and allow him to walk.
I am like the rich person, whose blessed key
Can bring to him his sweet, locked up treasure,
But who will not look at it every hour,
For fear of spoiling the pleasure by getting too used to it.
That's why holidays are sacred and so rare,
Since they're sparsely placed on the long calendar year,
They are like precious gems placed far apart,
Or like the chief jewel placed in a collar (or necklace).
So is the time that keeps you hidden in my treasure chest,
Or like the closet that hides a beautiful robe,
Waiting to make a special occasion a blessed event
By newly revealing its hidden splendor.
Blessed are you, whose worthiness gives freedom to act,
Those who have you, triumph, those who don't, hope.
What is your true essence, what are you made of,
That millions of people you don't know wait on you?
Since every one, I mean everyone, has one image,
And you, but one person, can lend something to all.
Describe (paint) Adonis, and the portrait of him
would be a poor imitation of you.
Paint on Helen (of Troy's) cheek all of the beauty possible
You'd still wind up with a picture of you in Greek attire;
Praise the spring and its abundant harvest season:
And the spring is but a faint shadow of your beauty,
And the fall is a faint imitation of your abundance;
And we recognize you in every blessed sight we see.
You are part of everything externally beautiful,
But you, unlike the rest, have constancy of your heart.
Oh, how much more beautiful to look at is beauty
When adorned with the sweet attributes of integrity!
The rose looks beautiful, but we deem it more beautiful
Because of that sweet odor which it exudes from within.
Canker-blooms, odorless dog roses, are as deeply red
As the perfumed versions of the roses--
Their thorns are the same, and the roses wave as freely
When summer's breezes unravels their hidden buds;
But, their only goodness is in their appearance,
They live without affection, and fade without regard--
They die unnoticed. Sweet roses don't suffer same fate;
From their sweet corpses sweetest perfumes are made:
The same is true of you, beautiful youth, When your beauty fades,
my verses will preserve your essence.
Not marble nor the gold-plated monuments
Of princes will outlive the power of this poem,
But you'll shine more brightly in the lines of these poems
Than those stones that crumble to dust, time-blackened.
When the ravages of war will overturn statues
And battles destroy the foundations of buildings,
Neither the sword of Mars (god of war) nor war's quick-burning fire
Will burn or destroy this record of your living memory. Against
death and ignorant hatred (or extreme ill will) You will move
forward; Their will be room to sing your praises
Even in the eyes of all future generations
Who will inhabit this world until the end of time. So, until Judgment
Day, when you are raised up,
You'll live in these verses, in eyes of lovers who read them.
Sweet love (emotion), renew strength; Don't let it be said
Your blade is less sharp than that of hunger (lust),
Which is satisfied today by being fed,
But returns tomorrow just as strong and sharp as ever.
So, love, you do the same; Although today you fill
Your hungry eyes, even until they drop with satisfaction,
Look again tomorrow, and do not let die
The spirit of love in perpetual darkness.
Let this sad period (of darkness) be like an ocean
Which divides two opposite shores, where two new lovers
Come daily to the banks, so that, when they see
Their love return, more blessed their sight of each other.
Or call this time winter, which, being so full of misery,
Makes summer's warmth, 3 times more wished for, rare.
Since I'm your slave, what else should I do but wait
On the hours and times when you want something of me?
I don't have any valuable time to spend,
Or services to perform, until you need me.
Nor dare I complain how agonizingly long the hours are
While I, my Lord, watch the clock for you,
Nor do I dare complain about how bitter your absence is
When you have once more bid your servant goodbye;
Nor dare I question with my jealous thoughts
Where you may be, or speculate on your affairs,
But, like a sad slave, I think of nothing else,
Except, how gay you're making the person(s) you're with.
Love makes one such a faithful fool that no matter your desires,
No matter what you do, he doesn't think you've done any wrong.
That god (Love), who first made me your slave, forbid
I think about controlling your moments of pleasure,
Or crave an accounting of how you spend your hours,
Being your slave, I'm sworn to wait until you need me!
Oh, let me suffer, being at your disposal,
The prison your absence creates for me by your freedom,
And with patience, endure each snub,
Without accusing you of hurting me.
Be wherever you want, your legal document is so strong
That you yourself can dictate how you use your time
For whatever you want; your time belongs to you
To even pardon yourself for committing a crime.
I have to wait, even if it feels like hell,
Not blame you your desires, whether it's for good or bad.
If there's nothing new, and that which now exists
Already existed in the past, then our minds are misled,
Which, working to invent a new thing, by mistake give birth,
For a 2nd time, to a child that has been born once already!
Oh, use of its history could, with a look back at the past,
Even if its five hundred years of sunrises ago,
Show me your image in some old book
When thoughts were first put down in written form!
So I could read what the old world had to say
About your amazingly beautiful body;
Whether things improved or remained the same;
Or see if everything stayed the same as the world revolved.
Oh, I'm sure, gifted men (witty writers) of the past
Gave praise and admiration for worse subjects than you.
As the waves move toward the pebbled shore,
So do the minutes we have hasten toward their end;
Each moment changing place with the moment before,
Working one after another all forward steps are rivalry.
Everything born, once in the main ocean of light (the world),
Crawls to the shores of maturity, where it reaches its glory,
By facing all cruel and malignant obstacles along the way,
And Time, which gives everything, now destroys its own gift.
Time pierces the beauty bestowed upon youth
And engraves (digs) the wrinkles into beauty's forehead,
(Time) feeds on the rarest of nature's specimens,
And nothing exists that it won't mow down with its scythe.
And yet against time I hope my verses will last,
Praising your worth, despite his cruel hand.
Is it your wish that your image should keep open
My heavy eyelids throughout the tiresome night?
Do you desire my moments of sleep to be interrupted,
Whiles shadows, resembling you, tantalize my vision?
Is it your spirit that you send out from your body,
Send far away from home, to pry into my dealings,
To find out shameful things I've been up to in idle hours,
The focus and occupation of your jealousy?
Oh, no! You love me greatly, but not that much;
It is my love for you that keeps me awake (at night),
My own true love (for you) keeps me from sleeping,
To always play the watchman for your sake.
For you I keep watch while you wake up somewhere else,
Far way from me, with others too close to you.
The sin of self love controls everything I see
And all of my soul and every part of me;
And for this sin there is no remedy,
It's so deeply rooted in my heart.
I think that no one's face is as gracious as mine,
None so well sculpted, no one's integrity as high as mine,
And for myself I define my own worth
As greater than anyone else's worth.
But when my mirror shows me what I really look like,
Beaten and cracked by the sun and old age,
I come to an opposite conclusion about my self love--
To love myself so much would be immoral.
It's you I'm praising when I'm praising myself,
Making my old self beautiful with attributes of your youth.
I prepare for the time when my love will be as I am now,
Crushed and worn out by Time's damaging hand;
When hours have sapped his energy and filled his brow
with lines and wrinkles; When his youthful morning
Has moved on to night's declining old age,
And all of those forms of beauty of which he is now king
Are vanishing or have vanished out of sight,
Taking away all the treasures of his youth:
For such a time I now defend myself
Against the cruel knife of time (or old age)
So he never cuts from my memory The
beauty of my sweet love, though he takes my lover's life.
My love's beauty will be seen in these black lines of verse,
And these verses will live, and in them he'll stay young.
Now that I've seen Time's terrible hand deface
Things gained at high cost worn out and buried long ago;
When once lofty towers I see razed to the ground,
And hard brass subject to perpetual destruction by mortals,
When I have seen the hungry ocean take
Advantage of what is the domain of the shore;
And the firm shore win over the ocean's advance,
Each gaining as it loses, and losing as it gains
When I have seen such change of conditions,
Or a prosperous state turn into ruin and decay,
This destruction has taught me to ponder,
That Time will come and take my love away.
This thought's like death to me, there's nothing left to do
But cry over what I have and be afraid of losing it.
Since their is neither brass nor stone nor earth nor boundless sea,
But sad mortality overruling each of their powers,
How can beauty possibly resist death's rage,
When beauty is no stronger than a flower?
Oh, how will summer's sweet breath of honey hold out
Against the destructive assaults of time
When neither unbreakable rocks are indestructible enough,
Nor steel gates strong enough to stop the ravages of Time?
What a frightening thought! Where, alas,
Will Time's most precious creation hide from Time himself?
Or whose strong hand will stop Time's swiftly moving feet?
Or who will forbid Time from ruining what is beautiful?
Oh, no one, unless this miracle has the power,
That in written verses the one I love will still shine bright.
Tired of all these things, I cry out for restful death,
For instance, to see deserving people become beggars,
And the worthless needy dressed up to celebrate,
And sacred vows broken (or abandoned),
And golden honor shamefully placed on the wrong people,
And chaste women crudely turned into whores,
And honorable people being wrongly slandered,
And the strong disabled by halting authority,
And art (learning) made tongue-tied (silenced) by authority,
And fools control the wise, the way doctors control patients,
And simple truth mistaken for simplemindedness,
And the enslaved good waiting on their evil captors:
Tired of all these things, I would like to escape from them,
Except, that to die, I would be leaving the one I love.
Ah, for what reason should my love live with corruption
And with his presence give blessing to the wicked,
That sinners should gain some advantage because of him,
And adorn themselves with his status in society?
Why should cosmetic painters try to imitate his face
And unlawfully make lifeless showings from his living color?
Why should the ugly deviously seek to realize themselves in
Illusory beauty with cosmetic rosy cheeks, when he is a true rose?
Why should he live, now that Nature is so depleted,
And lost the energy to naturally cause blush via live veins?
For Nature has no funds of beauty now except him,
And, with so many children, Nature now borrows from him?
O, Nature keeps him alive to show the wealth she once had,
In those days long ago, before these recent bad days.
So is his face incarnation of days gone by, out of fashion,
When beautiful people lived and died as flowers do now,
Before these abnormal beauties (cosmetics) were created
Or dared to put them on a living human being;
That was before the golden locks of the dead,
Which should've been buried or cut off (for wigs)
And made to live again on someone else's head;
Before the hair of a dead beauty made another happy.
In him, those holy ancient youthful times are seen
Without ornament (wigs or cosmetics), in itself the real thing
Not turning back time by borrowing someone else's youth,
Nor stealing from the old to look new again;
And Nature stores him like she would a map,
To show false art (cosmetics) what real beauty looked like.
Those parts of you that are visible to the world
Lack nothing and none can imagine improving upon them.
All tongues, the voices of every soul, praise you,
Uttering the naked truth, which even enemies praise you .
Thus, your outward appearance is publicly praised,
But those same tongues,giving well-deserved praises,
In other tones, destroy this praise
By looking deeper, looking below the surface of your skin.
They look into the beauty of your mind,
And they guess at what's in your mind by the way you act.
Then, these irksome people think, although good before,
That, though outwardly beautiful, you smell corrupt:
But, why you (as a flower) don't smell as good as you look,
The reason is: you are growing surrounded by commoners.
The fact that people blame you won't be held against you,
Because beautiful people are always targets of slander;
A beautiful person is always the object of suspicion,
Like a black crow that flies through heaven's purest air.
As long as you're good, slander will only demonstrate
How truly worthy you are, how much made of by Time;
For vice, like a worm, loves to devour the sweetest buds,
And you in your prime present a pure unstained morsel.
You've escaped the temptations that endanger young men,
Because either no one tempted you or you resisted it;
However, this praise won't inflate so your reputation,
It keeps envious people from freely speaking about you.
If your beauty weren't over-shadowed by some suspicion,
Then you would be the most beloved person in the world.
When I am dead, mourn for me no longer
Than for the duration of time you hear the hostile bell
give warning to the world that I've departed
From this vile world, to go live with the vile worms.
No, if you read this line, don't recall
The person who wrote it, because I love you so much
That I'd rather you forget about me
Than by thinking about me it should cause you sadness.
Oh, if, I say, you look at this poem
When I'm, perhaps, rotting away in the earth,
Don't so much as utter my name,
But let your love die along with me,
In case the world, in all its wisdom, investigates your sorrow,
And uses me to mock you with afterwards.
Oh, in case the world challenges you to recite
What worth I possessed that would justify your loving me
After my death, dear love, forget all about me;
For you won't find anything worthwhile to say about me,
Unless you devise some generous lie
To make me sound better than I deserve,
And bestow more praises on me when I am dead
Than the miserly truth would be willing to accord me.
Oh, in case your true love appears to be false
When, out of love for me, you falsely say good things,
Let my name be buried where my body is buried,
And live without bringing any shame to you or me;
For I am ashamed of what I have brought forth,
And you should be too, for loving such a worthless thing.
When you look at me, during that time of year
When yellow leaves, or no leaves, or some leaves, hang
On the branches which tremble against the cold,
Bare, silenced of choruses, where birds recently sang,
In me you can see the twilight of that day
After the sunset fades in the west;
Which by and by black night takes away,
And Death's twin (Night), closes all in eternal rest.
In me you will see the glow of that fire
That atop the ashes of its early stages it lies
As if on its own death-bed, where it has to burn out,
Consumed along with everything that nourished it.
You see all of these things, they make your love stronger,
To love even more that which you'll lose before long.
But be quietly happy when cruel custody takes me,
With no hope of making bail, and carries me away.
My life has played, in these verses, some part,
Which, as a reminder, will still stay with you.
When you re-read this, you will see
The very part of me that was devoted to you.
The earth can only have the earthly part of me, his due;
My spirit is yours, it is the better part of me.
So then, you have only lost the least valuable part of me,
The part the worms eat, when my body is dead,
A body that can be pierced by some coward's knife,
The part that's too worthless for you to remember.
The worth of my body lies in that which is within it,
And that is this poem, and this poem remains with you.
You are to my thoughts what food is to life,
Or as the seasonal showers are to the ground;
And for the peace that you provide me I fight with myself
The way a miser struggles to keep his wealth,
One moment he enjoys his wealth, and the next moment
He's worried someone from these thieving times will steal it;
One moment I believe it best to be alone with you,
Then I think it better for the world to see my pleasure;
At times, I'm sated with feasting upon the sight of you,
And by and by I'm starved for another look at you;
I can't experience or pursue any enjoyment,
Except from what you can give me or I can take from you.
That's why I suffer and feel hungry day after day,
Either getting too much of you, or getting none of you at all.
|SHAKESPEARE'S SONNETS 51 THRU 75