In Shakespeare's English
Why is my verse so barren of new pride,
So far from variation or quick change?
Why with the time do I not glance aside
To new-found methods and to compounds strange?
Why write I still all one, ever the same,
And keep invention in a noted weed,
That every word doth almost tell my name,
Showing their birth, and where they did proceed?
O! know, sweet love, I always write of you,
And you and love are still my argument;
So all my best is dressing old words new,
Spending again what is already spent:
For as the sun is daily new and old,
So is my love still telling what is told.
Thy glass will show thee how thy beauties wear,
Thy dial how thy precious minutes waste;
The vacant leaves thy mind's imprint will bear,
And of this book this learning mayst thou taste.
The wrinkles which thy glass will truly show
Of mouthed graves will give thee memory;
Thou by thy dial's shady stealth mayst know
Time's thievish progress to eternity.
Look! what thy memory cannot contain,
Commit to these waste blanks, and thou shalt find
Those children nursed, deliver'd from thy brain,
To take a new acquaintance of thy mind.
These offices, so oft as thou wilt look,
Shall profit thee and much enrich thy book.
So oft have I invok'd thee for my Muse
And found such fair assistance in my verse
As every alien pen hath got my use
And under thee their poesy disperse.
Thine eyes, that taught the dumb on high to sing
And heavy ignorance aloft to fly,
Have added feathers to the learned's wing
And given grace a double majesty.
Yet be most proud of that which I compile,
Whose influence is thine, and born of thee:
In others' works thou dost but mend the style,
And arts with thy sweet graces graced be;
But thou art all my art, and dost advance
As high as learning my rude ignorance.
Whilst I alone did call upon thy aid,
My verse alone had all thy gentle grace;
But now my gracious numbers are decay'd,
And my sick muse doth give another place.
I grant, sweet love, thy lovely argument
Deserves the travail of a worthier pen;
Yet what of thee thy poet doth invent
He robs thee of, and pays it thee again.
He lends thee virtue, and be stole that word
From thy behaviour; beauty doth he give,
And found it in thy cheek; he can afford
No praise to thee but what in thee doth live.
Then thank him not for that which he doth say,
Since what he owes thee thou thyself dost pay.
O! how I faint when I of you do write,
Knowing a better spirit doth use your name,
And in the praise thereof spends all his might,
To make me tongue-tied, speaking of your fame!
But since your worth—wide as the ocean is,—
The humble as the proudest sail doth bear,
My saucy bark, inferior far to his,
On your broad main doth wilfully appear.
Your shallowest help will hold me up afloat,
Whilst he upon your soundless deep doth ride;
Or, being wrack'd, I am a worthless boat,
He of tall building and of goodly pride:
Then if he thrive and I be cast away,
The worst was this;—my lover was my decay.
Or I shall live your epitaph to make,
Or you survive when I in earth am rotten;
From hence your memory death cannot take,
Although in me each part will be forgotten.
Your name from hence immortal life shall have,
Though I, once gone, to all the world must die:
The earth can yield me but a common grave,
When you entombed in men's eyes shall lie.
Your monument shall be my gentle verse,
Which eyes not yet created shall o'er-read;
And tongues to be your being shall rehearse,
When all the breathers of this world are dead;
You still shall live,—such virtue hath my pen,—
Where breath most breathes, even in the mouths of men.
I grant thou wert not married to my Muse,
And therefore mayst without attaint o'erlook
The dedicated words which writers use
Of their fair subject, blessing every book.
Thou art as fair in knowledge as in hue,
Finding thy worth a limit past my praise;
And therefore art enforc'd to seek anew
Some fresher stamp of the time-bettering days.
And do so, love; yet when they have de-vis'd
What strained touches rhetoric can lend,
Thou truly fair wert truly sympathized
In true plain words by thy true-telling friend;
And their gross painting might be better used
Where cheeks need blood; in thee it is abus'd.
I never saw that you did painting need,
And therefore to your fair no painting set;
I found, or thought I found, you did exceed
The barren tender of a poet's debt:
And therefore have I slept in your report,
That you yourself, being extant, well might show
How far a modern quill doth come too short,
Speaking of worth, what worth in you doth grow.
This silence for my sin you did impute,
Which shall be most my glory, being dumb;
For I impair not beauty being mute,
When others would give life, and bring a tomb.
There lives more life in one of your fair eyes
Than both your poets can in praise devise.
Who is it that says most, which can say more
Than this rich praise, that you alone are you?
In whose confine immured is the store
Which should example where your equal grew.
Lean penury within that pen doth dwell
That to his subject lends not some small glory;
But he that writes of you, if he can tell
That you are you, so dignifies his story,
Let him but copy what in you is writ,
Not making worse what nature made so clear,
And such a counterpart shall fame his wit,
Making his style admired every where.
You to your beauteous blessings add a curse,
Being fond on praise, which makes your praises worse.
My tongue-tied Muse in manners holds her still,
Whilst comments of your praise, richly compiled,
Deserve their character with golden quill,
And precious phrase by all the Muses filed.
I think good thoughts, while others write good words,
And, like unletter'd clerk, still cry 'Amen'
To every hymn that able spirit affords,
In polish'd form of well-refined pen.
Hearing you prais'd, I say, ' 'Tis so, 'tis true,'
And to the most of praise add something more;
But that is in my thought, whose love to you,
Though words come hindmost, holds his rank before.
Then others for the breath of words respect,
Me for my dumb thoughts, speaking in effect.
Was it the proud full sail of his great verse,
Bound for the prize of all too precious you,
That did my ripe thoughts in my brain inhearse,
Making their tomb the womb wherein they grew?
Was it his spirit, by spirits taught to write
Above a mortal pitch, that struck me dead?
No, neither he, nor his compeers by night
Giving him aid, my verse astonished.
He, nor that affable familiar ghost
Which nightly gulls him with intelligence,
As victors of my silence cannot boast;
I was not sick of any fear from thence:
But when your countenance fill'd up his line,
Then lack'd I matter; that enfeebled mine.
Farewell! thou art too dear for my possessing,
And like enough thou know'st thy estimate:
The charter of thy worth gives thee releasing;
My bonds in thee are all determinate.
For how do I hold thee but by thy granting?
And for that riches where is my deserving?
The cause of this fair gift in me is wanting,
And so my patent back again is swerving.
Thyself thou gav'st, thy own worth then not knowing,
Or me, to whom thou gav'st it, else mistaking;
So thy great gift, upon misprision growing,
Comes home again, on better judgment making.
Thus have I had thee, as a dream doth flatter,
In sleep a king, but, waking, no such matter.
When thou shalt be dispos'd to set me light,
And place my merit in the eye of scorn,
Upon thy side against myself I'll fight,
And prove thee virtuous, though thou art forsworn.
With mine own weakness, being best acquainted,
Upon thy part I can set down a story
Of faults conceal'd, wherein I am attainted;
That thou in losing me shalt win much glory:
And I by this will be a gainer too;
For bending all my loving thoughts on thee,
The injuries that to myself I do,
Doing thee vantage, double-vantage me.
Such is my love, to thee I so belong,
That for thy right myself will bear all wrong.
Say that thou didst forsake me for some fault,
And I will comment upon that offence:
Speak of my lameness, and I straight will halt,
Against thy reasons making no defence.
Thou canst not, love, disgrace me half so ill,
To set a form upon desired change,
As I'll myself disgrace; knowing thy will,
I will acquaintance strangle, and look strange;
Be absent from thy walks; and in my tongue
Thy sweet beloved name no more shall dwell,
Lest I, too much profane, should do it wrong,
And haply of our old acquaintance tell.
For thee, against myself I'll vow debate,
For I must ne'er love him whom thou dost hate.
Then hate me when thou wilt; if ever, now;
Now, while the world is bent my deeds to cross,
Join with the spite of fortune, make me bow,
And do not drop in for an after-loss:
Ah! do not, when my heart hath 'scap'd this sorrow,
Come in the rearward of a conquer'd woe;
Give not a windy night a rainy morrow,
To linger out a purpos'd overthrow.
If thou wilt leave me, do not leave me last,
When other petty griefs have done their spite,
But in the onset come: so shall I taste
At first the very worst of fortune's might;
And other strains of woe, which now seem woe,
Compar'd with loss of thee will not seem so.
Some glory in their birth, some in their skill,
Some in their wealth, some in their body's force;
Some in their garments, though new-fangled ill;
Some in their hawks and hounds, some in their horse;
And every humour hath his adjunct pleasure,
Wherein it finds a joy above the rest:
But these particulars are not my measure;
All these I better in one general best.
Thy love is better than high birth to me,
Richer than wealth, prouder than garments' cost,
Of more delight than hawks or horses be;
And having thee, of all men's pride I boast:
Wretched in this alone, that thou mayst take
All this away, and me most wretched make.
But do thy worst to steal thyself away,
For term of life thou art assured mine;
And life no longer than thy love will stay,
For it depends upon that love of thine.
Then need I not to fear the worst of wrongs,
When in the least of them my life hath end.
I see a better state to me belongs
Than that which on thy humour doth depend:
Thou canst not vex me with inconstant mind,
Since that my life on thy revolt doth lie.
O! what a happy title do I find,
Happy to have thy love, happy to die:
But what's so blessed-fair that fears no blot?
Thou mayst be false, and yet I know it not.
So shall I live, supposing thou art true,
Like a deceived husband; so love's face
May still seem love to me, though alter'd new;
Thy looks with me, thy heart in other place:
For there can live no hatred in thine eye,
Therefore in that I cannot know thy change.
In many's looks the false heart's history
Is writ in moods, and frowns, and wrinkles strange,
But heaven in thy creation did decree
That in thy face sweet love should ever dwell;
Whate'er thy thoughts or thy heart's workings be,
Thy looks should nothing thence but sweetness tell.
How like Eve's apple doth thy beauty grow,
If thy sweet virtue answer not thy show!
They that have power to hurt and will do none,
That do not do the thing they most do show,
Who, moving others, are themselves as stone,
Unmoved, cold, and to temptation slow;
They rightly do inherit heaven's graces,
And husband nature's riches from expense;
They are the lords and owners of their faces,
Others but stewards of their excellence.
The summer's flower is to the summer sweet,
Though to itself it only live and die,
But if that flower with base infection meet,
The basest weed outbraves his dignity:
For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds;
Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.
How sweet and lovely dost thou make the shame
Which, like a canker in the fragrant rose,
Doth spot the beauty of thy budding name!
O! in what sweets dost thou thy sins enclose.
That tongue that tells the story of thy days,
Making lascivious comments on thy sport,
Cannot dispraise but in a kind of praise;
Naming thy name blesses an ill report.
O! what a mansion have those vices got
Which for their habitation chose out thee,
Where beauty's veil doth cover every blot
And all things turn to fair that eyes can see!
Take heed, dear heart, of this large privilege;
The hardest knife ill-us'd doth lose his edge.
Some say thy fault is youth, some wantonness;
Some say thy grace is youth and gentle sport;
Both grace and faults are lov'd of more and less:
Thou makest faults graces that to thee resort.
As on the finger of a throned queen
The basest jewel will be well esteem'd,
So are those errors that in thee are seen
To truths translated and for true things deem'd.
How many lambs might the stern wolf betray,
If like a lamb he could his looks translate!
How many gazers mightst thou lead away,
If thou wouldst use the strength of all thy state!
But do not so; I love thee in such sort,
As, thou being mine, mine is thy good report.
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 every where!
And yet this time remov'd 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 mute:
Or, if they sing, 'tis with so dull a cheer,
That leaves look pale, dreading the winter's near.
From you have I been absent in the spring,
When proud-pied April, dress'd in all his trim,
Hath put a spirit of youth in every thing,
That heavy Saturn laugh'd and leap'd with him.
Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell
Of different flowers in odour and in hue,
Could make me any summer's story tell,
Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew:
Nor did I wonder at the lily's white,
Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose;
They were but sweet, but figures of delight,
Drawn after you, you pattern of all those.
Yet seem'd it winter still, and, you away,
As with your shadow I with these did play.
The forward violet thus did I chide:
Sweet thief, whence didst thou steal thy sweet that smells,
If not from my love's breath? The purple pride
Which on thy soft cheek for complexion dwells
In my love's veins thou hast too grossly dyed.
The lily I condemned for thy hand,
And buds of marjoram had stol'n thy hair;
The roses fearfully on thorns did stand,
One blushing shame, another white despair;
A third, nor red nor white, had stol'n of both,
And to his robbery had annex'd thy breath;
But, for his theft, in pride of all his growth
A vengeful canker eat him up to death.
More flowers I noted, yet I none could see
But sweet or colour it had stol'n from thee.
Where art thou, Muse, that thou forget'st so long
To speak of that which gives thee all thy might?
Spend'st thou thy fury on some worthless song,
Darkening thy power to lend base subjects light?
Return, forgetful Muse, and straight redeem
In gentle numbers time so idly spent;
Sing to the ear that doth thy lays esteem
And gives thy pen both skill and argument.
Rise, resty Muse, my love's sweet face survey,
If Time have any wrinkle graven there;
If any, be a satire to decay,
And make Time's spoils despised every where.
Give my love fame faster than Time wastes life;
So thou prevent'st his scythe and crooked knife.
In Plain English
Why is my poetry, so lacking in new ornaments,
So far from variation or lively change?
Why in accordance with current fashion don't I look towards
New ways of proceeding and to exotic phrases?
Why do I write the same way, of the same things
And keep poetic subject-matter in so a familiar dress,
That every word almost tells the reader who wrote it,
Where it was born, and where it comes from?
Oh, know, my dear, I always write of you,
And you and love are still the subjects of my poems;
So the best I can do is find new words for the same thing,
Spending again what is already spent;
For though daily the sun is both new and old,
So will my love make me tell again what I've said before.
Your mirror will show you how your beauty is wearing away,
Your clock how your precious minutes are ticking away;
The blank pages (of your book) will record your thoughts,
And in writing this book you may learn the following things:
Those wrinkles which your mirror will surely show you
Will remind you of open graves;
Stealthy progress of your sundial's shadow will show you
How Time keeps stealing away to eternity;
See here, whatever your mind cannot remember
Write down on these blank pages, and you will find
Those thoughts relived, when you recall them,
And they take up residence again within your mind.
Duties of consulting mirror, sundial, & writing in your book,
Will reap you vast rewards, and greatly enrich your book.
So often have I called upon you to be my Muse
And found such favorable inspiration for my poetry
That every other writer has adopted my methods,
And now they write their poetry in your service.
Your eyes, which taught the mute to sing high notes
And raised the ignorant to new heights of intelligence,
Have added more feathers to the educated person's wings
And given excellence a double claim to admiration.
Yet, be most proud of what I have accomplished,
Which was inspired by you, and born from your influence.
With other writers you can only improve their style,
And the Arts by your sweet graces can only find grace;
But you are my entire Art, and your Art elevates,
As much as learning does, my simple education.
When I alone called upon you for inspiration,
My poetry alone had all of your courteous favor;
But now my gracious verses have gotten worse,
And my ailing inspiration gives way to someone else.
I admit, my dear, your lovely subject matter (for writing)
Deserves the labor of a worthier writer,
Yet, whatever your new writer says about you
He steals from you, and then gives it back to you.
He says you're virtuous, but he stole that word
By watching your behavior; He says you're beautiful,
But only discovered beauty from your face: he can't give
You any praise except what is already living inside of you.
So, don't thank him for anything he says about you,
Since you're paying for everything he gives you.
Oh, how I get discouraged when I write about you,
Knowing a superior poet is writing about you too,
And he uses his powers of praise to fullest extent
So that I'm made tongue-tied when I speak of your glory!
But since your worth, which is as wide as an ocean, is
Able to support (bear up) the smallest and biggest of ships,
My impertinent boat, which is far more inferior than his,
Makes an obstinate appearance on your broad ocean.
Even at your shallowest you help me stay afloat,
While he sails out over your unfathomable depths;
Or, if either of us is wrecked, I'd be a worthless little vessel,
He'd be of sturdy construction and of great splendor.
So if he does well and I am a shipwreck discarded,
The worst I say is this: you whom I love caused my downfall.
Either I will live to write your epitaph,
Or you will survive while I am rotten beneath the earth.
Henceforth, Death cannot take away your memory,
While everything pertaining to me will be forgotten.
Your name from then on will live eternally,
While I, once gone, will be dead to the entire world.
The earth can only give me an ordinary grave
But your tomb will be visible for all to see.
Your monument will be these tender poems of mine,
Which generations not yet born will be able to read;
And future generations, when reading about you, will repeat it /
When everyone of this generation is long gone.
You will still live--such power has my pen--
Where breath resides the most, even in the voices of men.
I admit you were not married to my poetry
And therefore you may, without dishonor, overlook
The devoted words which writer's use
Of their fair subject, you, who bless every book.
You are as knowledgeable as you are beautiful,
And you'll find my praise can't reach the limits of your worth
And therefore you are forced to look again for a newer,
Fresher writer in these times of improving on the past.
Go ahead and do so, my love; Yet when they have devised
Whatever elaborate stylistic devices they get from rhetoric,
You would be truthfully represented by being given a true
likeness / In true plain words by your truth-telling friends;
And their crude laying on of praises might be better used
Where it might be needed most; for you it is excess.
It never seemed to me that you needed to be praised,
And therefore I didn't describe with praises your fair beauty;
I could see, or thought I could see, you far exceeded
any praise a poor poet could bestow upon you;
Therefore, I have been inactive in publishing your virtues,
Because you yourself, being in existence, might well prove
How ordinary a modern poet of the present times really is,
Speaking of worth when worth inside of you outgrows it.
This sin, my being silent, you have found fault with,
But I will reach my most glorious moment by being silent,
Because by being silent I will do no harm to your beauty,
Whereas other writers try to give you life, but kill you instead. /
You possess more life in one of your beautiful eyes / Than the
writer and rival can give life to with praises.
Who is it that can write the most but can say no more
Than this ultimate praise: that only you are you,
And that all beauty is enclosed within you
So there's nothing to compare you to except yourself?
Though extreme poverty lies within the pen of a poor writer
He can still give to his subject, and himself, some small glory
By simply writing about you, and if he can tell everyone
That you are you, he will have given his writing dignity.
Let him but repeat what has already been written about you,
While not ruining what nature has so perfectly made,
And his writing will make his logical, creative powers famous,
Making his style admired my people everywhere.
You add to your beautiful blessings a curse / When you seek
praises, but no one can adequately praise you.
My tongue-tied poetry politely keeps silence
While commentaries praising you, richly compiled,
Capture the essence of your character in golden words,
And precious phrases inspired by all the muses.
I think good thoughts while others write good words,
And, like an illiterate parish clerk, I still cry 'Amen'
To every poem of praise that capable poets produce
In their polished and refined style.
When I hear you praised, I say, 'That's right, that's right,'
And add a little something to their utmost praise of you,
But I say it only to myself, whose love for you,
Though the words are slow in coming, is of the highest.
So respect others for the words of praise they offer you,
Respect me for my silent thoughts, which speak by action.
Was it the arrogant and impressive lines of his poem,
Wrapped as a gift for a much more precious you, / That killed
my blossoming thoughts before I could utter them,
Making a tomb of the very womb they were conceived in?
Was it his creative power, power given him by dead authors,
Making him more than mortal, that stunned me into silence?
No, it was neither he, nor his associates of night
Who give him assistance, and with their verses struck me
dumb. / Neither he, nor that familiar (sinister) attendant spirit /
Which nightly tricks him with superior intelligence,
Can boast they are responsible for my silence;
I was not sick because of any fear of them.
But when you looked favorably on his writing,
I suddenly had nothing to say, and my writing weakened.
Goodbye; you are too valuable (painful) for me to hold onto,
And you probably know exactly how much you're worth.
Your high value gives you the right to leave me;
My ties to you have been severed.
For what hold have I over you except what you grant me?
How do I make myself deserving of such treasure?
There's nothing in me to justify such a beautiful gift,
And so my claim to ownership reverts back to you.
When you gave me yourself you didn't know your worth,
Or when you gave me yourself, took me for someone else;
So the great gift you gave me, based on a false value,
Goes back to you, now that your judgment is better.
In this manner I have had you, as if in a flattering dream,
A dream where I was king, but was not so when I awoke.
When you are so inclined to value me so little
And place my value before the public so they can scorn me,
I will take your side and I will argue against myself,
And prove you are still virtuous, though you lie about me.
Since I know my weaknesses, better than anyone,
In your support I can set down a story
Of my hidden faults, revealing myself as dishonored,
By losing me you will attain great glory,
And I, by this act, will also gain something from it;
By turning all of my loving thoughts to you,
The injuries I inflict upon myself,
Which help you, which help me twice as much.
Such is my love, and I belong so much to you,
That for everything you deserve I will take the blame for all.
Say you left me because of some fault of my own,
And I will expound upon the offense you accuse me of;
Speak of my lameness, and I will openly limp,
Without trying to defend myself against your accusations.
You cannot, my love, discredit me half as much,
To offer acceptable reason for the change you wish,
As I will disgrace myself, once I know what you want.
I will deny familiarity with you, act as if I don't know you,
Never cross your path, and upon my lips
Your sweet, beloved name will no longer dwell,
In case, by giving it too little worth, I dirty it,
And by chance reveal that we use to be acquainted.
For you, against myself I promise to fight;
For I must never love anyone whom you hate.
Then hate me whenever you want, if you want to, now;
Now, while the world is determined to frustrate all I do,
Add to my misfortune, make me collapse under it,
And do not hit me with it later on.
Ah, don't, when my heart has survived my present trouble,
Come and attack me from the rear, and kick me when I'm down;
Don't turn my windy night into a stormy tomorrow,
Prolonging the defeat you intend to give me.
If you're going to leave me, don't wait until the end,
After other little sorrows have done their damage,
Leave me at the beginning; so I can experience
Right away the worst of all my misfortunes,
Then other hurtful things, which seem painful now,
Won't seem so, compared with losing you.
Some are proud of their social status, some of their abilities,
Some of their wealth, some of how strong they are,
Some of their clothes (even if trendy or weird),
Some of their noble hawks and hounds, or their horses;
And every individual mood has its particular pleasures,
Something the person enjoys above everything else.
But these things are not what I measure happiness with;
I outdo all of these things in one particular area.
Your love is better to me than any high social status,
More valuable than wealth, worth more than rich clothes,
More delightful than hawks or horses could ever be;
And having you, I've a thing better than what men boast of--
Except I'm wretched in this one respect, that you can take
All these things away, and make me completely wretched.
But do your worst to take yourself away from me,
For I'm sure to have you as long as I'm alive,
And life will stay with me no longer than your love will;
For my life depends upon your love.
Therefore I don't have to worry about the worst
For with the least hurt you cause me I'll die.
I see I'm in a better state of affairs (or better position)
Than I would be if I were dependent on your affections.
You cannot worry me with the idea that you're fickle,
For my life'd be over if you changed your mind about me.
Oh, what a happy position I find myself in,
Happy to have your love, happy to die!
But what situation is so perfectly blessed it breeds no worries?
You may be unfaithful to me, yet I'd never know it.
So I shall live my life imagining you are faithful,
Like a deceived husband, so love's (your) face
May still seem like it has love for me, though far from it,
Your eyes on me, but your heart somewhere else.
Your face could never have a hateful expression,
Ergo, I could never see a change of heart by looking at it.
Many people express their unfaithfulness in their faces
In moody looks, and frowns, and strange expressions,
But when God created you, he decided
That your face should always express sweet love;
Whatever is in your thoughts or in your heart,
Your face should express nothing but sweetness.
How much like Eve's apple your beauty grows,
When you're not as sweet and virtuous as you look!
Those who have the power to hurt but refuse to do so,
Those who don't do what they seem most likely to do,
Who, although they attract others, are themselves stone,
Unmoved by others, unemotional, and difficult to tempt---
They will rightly (ironically) inherit heaven's blessings,
And keep nature's treasures form being wasted;
They are in control and owners of their own beauty,
The others are but caretakers, custodians of this beauty.
The summer's flower perfumes the summer's air,
Though alone, without reference to others, it lives and dies,
But if that flower with loathsome parasites is afflicted,
Then the lowliest of weeds surpasses it in appearance;
For the sweetest things become most sour by wrong acts:
Lilies that rot smell a lot worse than weeds.
How sweet and lovely you make seem the shame
Which, like a grub causing blight in a fragrant rose,
Tarnishes the beauty of your budding reputation!
Oh, how you cover up your sins with such a sweet exterior!
That person who reveals the history of your life,
Making lascivious comments about your sexual fun,
Cannot express disapproval, but in a form of praise,
Just by mentioning your name, his report is a good one.
Oh, how your vices live in a beautiful mansion inside you
Vices which chose you as a place to live in,
Where your beauty serves as a veil to cover every blemish
Making every bad thing you do seem good!
Be warned, dear heart, with this great privilege of beauty:
Even the hardest knife, if abused, with lose it sharp edge.
Some say your fault is youth, others your playful sexuality,
Some say your youth is a blessing and charming.
Both, your graces and faults, are loved by all classes of people;
/ You turn your faults into sources of charm.
In the same way that on the finger of a regal queen
The most worthless jewel is highly appraised,
So will all of those sins that are in you
Be transformed into something good and believed to be so.
How many sheep can a wolf deceive to their misfortune
If the wolf could disguise himself as a lamb?
How many people might you lead astray,
If you were to use all the wiles of your noble position?
But don't do it. I love you so much,
Since you are mine, that your reputation is my reputation.
How much like a winter my absence has been
From you, who pleased me most through the fleeting year!
I've felt intense cold, I've seen many dark days,
And seen the barrenness of December everywhere!
And yet this time apart was actually summer's call to autumn,
The prolific autumn, big with its abundant harvest,
Bearing offspring conceived in pleasure during the spring
Like women giving birth after their husbands have died.
And yet this abundant harvest (fruits) seemed to me
Like the futile hope of fatherless orphans,
Because summer and its pleasures depend on (follow) you,
And, when your away, even the birds are silent;
Or, if they sing, they do so dismally
That leaves grow pale with fear, dreading the coming winter.
I was away from you in the spring,
When fine and many-colored April, in all its glory,
made everything and everyone feel so young,
That Saturn (god of old age) laughed, danced with him.
Yet, neither the songs of birds, nor the sweet smell
Of the different flowers in full bloom and full fragrance,
Could make me sing any songs of summer,
Or make me pluck flowers from where they grew;
Nor was I amazed by how white the lilies were,
Nor did I praise the deep or bright red color of the rose.
They were only sweet, only pictures of delight
Drawn in your likeness; you, the pattern used to make them;
Still it seemed like winter, and with you away,
I played with them as if I were playing with your shadow.
This is how I scolded the (precocious) presumptuous violet:
"Sweet thief, where did you steal your sweet aroma
If not from my beloved's breath? The purple splendor
Which on your soft cheek you use to color your face
In my love's veins flows; you brashly dyed yourself with it.
The lily I damned for stealing her whiteness from your hand,
The buds of marjoram I damned for stealing your hair's color; /
The roses anxiously stood by as if standing on thorns, / The
red one ashamed, the white one pale with despair. / A third
rose, neither white nor red, was both, ashamed and filled with
despair, / And guilty of stealing, added the fragrance of your
breath; / But, as punishment for stealing, at the height of its
growth, / May a vengeful worm eat him until he dies. / I noticed
other flowers, but I couldn't see any / That did not steal their
color or fragrance from you.
Where are you, Muse, that you have forgotten for so long
To inspire me to write about what gives you all your power?
Do you spend your poetic passion on some worthless poem,
Eclipsing your true power by making dull subjects brighter?
Return, forgetful Muse, and make up,
With poetic verses worthy of Nobles all of the time wasted;
Sing to the ear of the person who enjoys your songs
And gives your pen both skill and topic to write about.
Return, rusty Muse, and gaze upon my lover's face,
And see if Time has etched any wrinkles there;
If there are any, satirize the aging process,
And make Time's hurting nature be despised everywhere.
Make my love famous faster than time can destroy him;
So you stopTime's scythe and knife from cutting him down.
|SHAKESPEARE'S SONNETS 76 THRU 100