In Plain English
Long ago, a dark complexion wasn't considered beautiful,
Or if it was, no one said so;
But black is now beauty's legitimate title (at least to the poet),
And in turn beauty is spoken ill of and as being illegitimate:
Since everyone has stolen nature's power of making beauty,
Turning ugliness into beauty with the falsehood of cosmetics,
There's no other name for beauty, no other reverent place,
But putting on beauty is profane, and cheapens beauty.
Therefore my mistress' eyes, a natural black, and
Her forehead, so suited to todays fashion, all seem to mourn
Those who, not born beautiful, lack no beauty,
Because they've cheated by using cosmetics.
But her black eyes lament so beautifully
That everyone says all beautiful eyes should look like hers.
How often it was, when you, my music, played music for me,
Upon that blessed wood (keyboard instrument) whose sound moved
With your sweet fingers, when you gently plucked (commanded)
The wiry strings that confused (intrigued) my ear with its harmony,
How I envy those jacks (keys) that nimble leap (of your fingers)
When they kiss the tender underside of your hand,
While my poor lips, which should be the ones doing the kissing,
At the boldness of the keys stand blushing by your side!
To be so tickled (played), they (my lips) would turn into wood
And trade places with those dancing chips (keys)
Over whom your fingers would walk with a gentle manner,
Making that dead wood more blessed than my living lips.
Since those pert jacks (keys) are so happy to touch your fingers,
Then give them your fingers, and give me your lips to kiss.
The squandering of energy in the course of shameful extravagance
Is lust in action, and until action is taken, lust
Turns people into liars, murderers; makes them violent, guilty,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, and untrustworthy;
Sex is no sooner enjoyed when you hate yourself for it,
It is pursued beyond reason, and once you obtain gratification,
It is hated beyond reason, like a rat-poison in a bait
Laid out on purpose so as to drive the rat crazy;
Crazy in his pursuit of the poison, and crazy for eating it,
Once had, while having it, in his pursuit to have it, all to the extreme;
It's blissful while doing it, and once you're done, a true sorrow.
While you anticipate it, it's like a joy; afterward, like a nightmare.
The world knows all this very well, yet no one knows well enough
To avoid this heavenly experience that leads us to this hell.
My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is much redder than the red of her lips.
If snow is white, then her breasts are grayish-brown;
If hairs are (golden) wires, black wires grow on her head.
I've seen white roses mingled with red ones (blush on white cheeks),
But I don't see any such color in her cheeks;
And some perfumes smell more delightful
Than my mistress' foul-smelling breath.
I love to hear her speak, but I know very well
That music has a far more pleasing sound.
Granted, I've never seen a goddess walk:
When my mistress walks, she treads on the ground.
And yet, by heaven, I think my beloved is as special
As any woman written about (by poets) with false comparisons.
You are as tyrannous, such as you are (looking like you do),
As those women whose beauty makes them proud and cruel,
Because you know quite well that to me, who dotes on you,
You are the most beautiful and most precious jewel.
Yet, in all honesty, some say, when they look at you,
That your face lacks the power to make anyone groan with love.
I won't be so bold as to say they are wrong,
Although I swear they are wrong when I am alone.
And to prove to myself that what I say is true,
I groan a thousand times thinking about your face,
As I groan one time after another, each groan testifies to the fact
That your dark complexion is the most beautiful to my eyes.
There's nothing black about you except your actions,
And that's where I think this slander (of being a tyrant) comes from.
I love your eyes, and they, seeming to pity me,
Knowing your heart, torment me with extreme scorn,
They have put on black attire, and become loving mourners,
Gazing with compassion upon my pain;
And to tell the truth, the morning sun doesn't
Look as good in the grey, eastern sky,
Nor does the evening star in the twilight
Look half as good in the western sky,
As those two mourning eyes look in your face.
Oh, then, let it be fitting for your heart
To mourn me, since mourning suits you well,
And pity me with all other parts of you as well.
I'll swear beauty itself is black,
And anyone who doesn't have your complexion is ugly.
Damn your heart that makes my heart cry out
For the deep wound you caused me and my friend!
Isn't it enough to torture me alone,
But do you have to make a slave out of my sweet friend as well?
Your cruel eye (attractions) have put me beside myself,
And my friend, who is much like me, you've more cruelly enslaved.
I'm forsaken by him, by myself, and by you;
It is a threefold torment multiplied three times by frustration.
Imprison my heart in the steel (cold) cell of your bosom,
But then let me use myself to bail out my poor friend;
Whomever you let guard me, allow him to let me guard my friend;
That way you can't torment me in my own prison cell.
And yet you will torment me, because I'll belong to you,
Because unavoidably I'm yours, even everything I have (my friend).
So, now I've admitted that my friend is yours,
And I myself am bound to satisfy your will (lust, sexual organs),
I'll move out of the way, so that the other me (my youth)
You will return intact, so he can comfort me forever.
But you won't do this, and he doesn't want to be free,
Because you are greedy, and he is kind (generous).
He learned to sign his name, as a guarantee on my behalf,
To that bond (document) that he is now obliged to honor.
You will receive all the dues your beauty is entitled to,
You loan shark, who puts forth (your body) to work for a return,
And now you go after my friend who accepted to pay for my sake;
So I lose my friend because I became entangled (had sex) with you.
I've lost him, still you have both of us;
He gives you all the sex we owe you, and still I'm indebted to you.
Other women have their desires, but you have your will (William),
And will (his penis) to boot, and will (penises) in abundance.
I am more than enough to satisfy you, I who always asks you for sex,
If you add my will (penis) to your sweet vagina.
Will you, whose will (sexual desire/vagina) is enormous,
At least once, consent to hide my will (penis) in your vagina?
Are you going to be attracted to (accepting) other men's penises,
And when it comes to my penis you're going to reject it?
The sea is entirely made of water, yet it accepts the rain,
And adds more water to itself to make itself more abundant;
So you, who are rich by having will (William), add to your will (vagina)
This will (penis) of mine, make a large will (appetite/vagina) larger.
Don't let an unkind 'no' kill an honest, handsome suitor's desire;
Think all of your men one lover, and my penis as part of that lover.
If you rebuke your soul each time I ask you for sex,
Then tell your (blind soul) conscience that I am your William,
And William, your soul knows, is allowed to have sex with you;
At least out of charity for a lover's turmoil, my sweetness, give in.
William will fill the treasury of your love (vagina) until it's full
Oh yes, he'll fill it full of penises, and mine will be one of them.
In regards to a woman's very busy sexual part, it's easily proven
That among so many lovers, one more lover is like no extra lover.
So in that large number of lovers (penises) let me enter unnoticed,
Although I must be counted as one of the things you own;
Consider me to be nothing, so long as it pleases you to hold,
The nothing that I am, as something special to you.
But make my name the object of your love, and love it always,
And then you'll love me, for my name is William.
You blind fool, Love, what are you doing to my eyes,
That they look, and don't accurately see what they are looking at?
They know what beauty is, know where it can be found,
Yet, they take the ugliest woman to be the most beautiful.
If eyes corrupted (distorted) by prejudice in excess (bias) are
Fixed on the woman who is enjoyed by all men,
Why have you, out of the vision of deceived eyes, created a trap,
Into which my heart, having made its decision, has fallen?
Why should my heart think it is a private patch of ground
That which my heart knows is commonplace (a whore) to the world?
Or why my eyes, seeing this (promiscuity), say it's not promiscuous,
So as to put a good face on such an ugly truth?
In regards to the truth, my heart and my eyes have been mistaken,
And their attention is now focused on this woman who plagues me.
When my mistress swears that she is being truthful,
I believe her even though I know she lies,
So that she'll think that I'm some naive young man
Who's ignorant about the world and the games people play.
That way, I fool myself into thinking that she thinks I'm young,
Although she knows that I'm well past my prime,
Simply put, I believe her deceptive tongue;
That way, we both suppress the simple truth.
But why doesn't she admit she is a liar?
And why doesn't she just come out and say I am old?
Oh, it's easier to love someone when you think they are trustworthy,
And an old person in love hates to have his/her true age revealed.
Therefore, I go to bed with her, and she with me,
And we flatter ourselves by lying about our faults.
Oh, don't ask me to justify the wrong
That you do to me in being unkind to my love for you;
Don't hurt me by stealing glances at other men, tell me to my face;
Use your power with powerful force, but don't kill me with tricks.
Tell me you love other people, but when you are in my sight,
My dear, resist stealing glances at other men:
Why wound me with cunning, when your power
Is too overwhelming for my weakened defenses to overcome?
Let me make an excuse for you: Ah, my love knows perfectly well
That her pretty looks can kill me,
So she looks away from my face to gaze upon my enemies,
So that elsewhere her killing looks can do their damage.
But don't do that; but since I am almost dead already,
Kill me outright with your looks, and put me out of my misery.
Be as wise as you are cruel; do not torment
My tongue-tied patience with too much scorn,
In case my sorrow forces me to speak, and I express
How pitiless you are in hurting me.
If you'll let me give you sound advice, it would be better,
Even if you don't love me, to still tell me you love me so,
The way irritable sick men, when they are near death,
Hear nothing but good news about their health from their doctors.
Because, if I start to despair, I'll go mad,
And in my madness I might speak ill of you;
Now this ill-ridden world has gotten so bad
With the lies and rumors that crazy people tell.
To prevent my going crazy, or your being lied about,
Keep your eyes where they belong, even when your heart wanders.
I swear, I don't love you with my eyes,
Because they see in you a thousand errors;
Rather, it's my heart that loves what my eyes despise,
Despite what my eyes see, my heart still dotes on you.
Nor are my ears delighted by the sound of your voice,
Nor do I want to ruin my delicate sense of touch by groping you;
Nor does my sense of taste or smell want to be invited
To any sexual feast where you're the main course;
But neither my brain nor my five senses can
Dissuade my foolish heart from becoming a servant of yours,
Which, after losing control of me, leaves this empty shell of a man,
To become your proud heart's slave and wretched servant.
Only what plagues me so far I count as something gained,
And that is this woman who makes me sin and makes me suffer for it.
Loving you is my sin, and the virtue which you prize so highly is hate,
Hate for my sin grounded in your own sinful loving.
Oh, but compare my (moral) state with your own,
And you'll see I don't deserve to be reprimanded;
Or if it does warrant reprimanding, not from those lips of yours,
Which have had profanely smeared their red covering (lipstick)
And kissed so many people, made as many false promises as mine,
Robbed many women (of sex) and children they may have had.
May it be lawful for me to love you the way you love other men
Whom you seduce with your glances the way mine ask you for sex!
Have a little pity for me, so that when your pity for me grows,
Your pity may be deserving of pity as well.
If you seek to obtain (pity) though you hide your own (for others),
Because of your own example you might be turned down (for sex)!
Like an anxious housewife who runs to catch
One of her chickens that has broken out of its pen,
First setting down her baby, and then quickly hurrying after it,
In pursuit of the thing she wants to stay put,
While her neglected child runs after her,
Crying out for her mother whose attention is focused
On catching the chicken flying before her face,
Not caring about her poor infant's distress:
So run you in the same manner after that which flees from you,
While I, your infant, chase you from far behind;
But if you catch the one you're hoping for, turn back to me,
And act like my mother. Kiss me, be kind.
I'll pray that you'll get to have your William
If you turn back now and stop my loud crying.
I love two people, one brings me comfort, the other brings despair,
Which, like two spirits, continually prompt (tempt, influence) me.
The better angel is a fair-haired, proper, and handsome man,
The bad one is a dark-haired and dark-eyed eyed woman.
To bring me to despair, the evil woman
Tempts the handsome man away from my side,
And hopes to turn my saint into a devil,
Wooing his purity with her impure splendour of beauty (arrogance).
And whether my angel has been turned into a fiend
I may suspect, I can't with certainty confirm it;
But since both are away from me, and each is friend of the other,
I guess one angel is in another's hell (his sexual part in hers).
Yet this I will never know for sure, and I will always live in doubt,
Until my bad angel fire (gives a venereal disease) to my good angel.
Those lips that were made by Love's (Venus') own hands
Breathed forth the words, "I hate"
To me, the man who's pining away with love for her;
But when she saw how unhappy she'd made me,
Mercy came straight into her heart,
And she chided her sweet tongue,
Which is usually accustomed to giving gentle judgment,
And she taught it to greet me in a different manner:
To the words "I hate" she added an ending,
Which followed those words the way the gentle day
Follows behind the night, who like a friend,
Is taken out of hell and flown up to heaven.
She took away the hatred from the words "I hate,"
And saved my life by adding the words, "not you."
My poor soul, you're the very center of this sinful earth,
These rebel powers of the body which work against you;
Why do you starve yourself inside and suffer from the shortage,
While you overdress your outside in such expensive finery?
Why do you, on your body, which doesn't have much more to live,
Spend so much money, and will only be occupied a short while?
Will the worms, the eventual owners of all this excess,
Eat up everything you own? Is this where your body will end up?
Then, soul, feed yourself on your starving body,
And let it pine for food while your pantry gets fuller.
Buy time in heaven by giving up worthless time wasted on earth;
Feed your inner self, let your body be poor.
That's how you will feed on death, the way death feeds on men,
And once death is dead, there's no more dying then.
My love is like a fever, longing still
For what will prolong my disease,
Living on whatever will prolong the illness,
In order to prop up this fickle desire whose end is uncertain.
My reason, acting as a physician to my love,
Is angry at me for not following his prescription to the letter,
And has left me, and I'm desperate enough now
To realize desire is death, and against doctor's orders.
I am past being cured, now that my mind is beyond caring,
And gone frantically crazy with increasing restlessness.
My thoughts and speech are like those of a madman,
Pointlessly expressing random untruths;
For I have sworn you are beautiful, and thought you radiant,
You who are actually black as hell as dark as night.
Oh, my! What eyes Love has put into my head,
That don't see anything accurately!
Or, if they do, where has my good judgment gone,
That they should wrongly criticize what they see?
If what I see I consider to be beautiful,
Then why does the world say it is not?
If she's not beautiful, then love well implies
That a person in love doesn't see as accurately as others, oh no!
How can a lover see right, oh, how can a lover trust his eyes,
When the eyes are so distressed with sleeplessness and tears?
It's no wonder then, If I do not see clearly,
The sun itself doesn't see anything until the sky is clear.
Oh, ingenious love, you keep me blind with tears,
So I won't discover my lover's faults should I see clearly.
How can you, cruel woman, say I don't love you
When I take sides with you against myself?
Don't I think about you when I've forgotten
About myself, you tyrant, and all for your sake?
Who hates you that I would call my friend?
Who do you frown at that I would fawn over?
No! When you scowl at me, don't I spend
My time punishing myself with immediate lamentation and suffering?
Which quality do I see in myself as respectable enough
To make me too proud to be your servant,
When all of the best in me worships the worst in you,
Commanded entirely by a mere glance from your eyes?
But, my love, go on hating me, because now I know my mind:
You love people who can see, and I'm blind.
Oh, what is the source of this power you possess
That, despite inadequacies, it controls my affections?
To make me disbelieve what my sight knows to be true,
And swear that the sun does not light a clear day?
When did you get this capacity to make bad things look good in you,
That in the very foulest actions of your deeds
There is such power and assurance of power,
That, in my mind, your worst is better than anyone else's best?
Who taught you how to make me love you more,
The more I hear and see good reasons to hate you?
Oh, even though I love what other people hate,
You shouldn't despise my love the way other people do:
If your unworthiness has made me love you,
Then I'm the person most deserving of being loved by you.
Love (Cupid) is too young to know right from wrong;
Yet, doesn't everyone know that love gives birth to conscience?
In that case, gentle cheater, do not tax me with my fault,
Unless with my fault you prove your sweet self equally guilty.
Because, in betraying me, I do betray
The better part of me (soul) to my gross, rebellious body.
My soul tells my body that it may
Have its way in love; and my flesh doesn't need any other reason,
But rising (erection) at the sound of your name it points you out
As its (sexual) prize. Glorying in this state of erection,
My flesh is content to be your poor worker,
To be able to do your (sexual) business, fall beside you afterwards.
Don't assume my conscience is lacking because I call
Her 'love,' this woman for whose love my flesh rises and falls.
You know that in loving you I break my word (to friend/to wife),
But you are breaking two promises, by swearing you love me:
The promise to share one bed (one person) and cheating on him,
And in vowing to hate him, breaking your promise to your new lover.
But why do I accuse you of breaking two promises
When I break twenty? I am perjured the most,
Because all of my vows are promises made to exploit you,
And all of my faithfulness to you is gone.
For I have sworn great oaths about how kind you are,
Oaths about your love, your faithfulness, and your constancy;
And to make you shine, I gave up my eyes to blindness,
And made them swear to the opposite of what they saw in you.
For I have sworn you're beautiful, and perjured myself twice,
By swearing to tell the truth, then telling such a foul lie.
Cupid put down his flame and fell asleep;
One of the nymphs who serve Diana took advantage of this,
And his love-kindling fire she quickly dipped
Into a nearby cold stream of that valley,
Which thus acquired from this holy fire of Love
A timeless, never-ending, blazing heat,
Which grew into a bubbling bath, which men still use
To completely cure their strange diseases.
But with one glance from my mistress' eyes Cupid's flame re-lit,
The boy, to test the flame was working, touched my heart;
I became sick with love, and wished to bathe to ease my discomfort,
I went to the spring as a sad, sick guest,
But found no cure; the remedy to my malady lies
In the same place from where Cupid's flame re-lit, my mistress' eyes.
Once, while sleeping, little Cupid
Put aside his love-inducing torch,
While many nymphs, who had vowed to remain chaste for life
Came tripping by; but in her maiden hand
The most beautiful of the maidens sworn to chastity took the flame,
Which had warmed the hearts of legions of faithful lovers,
And in this manner, the general of hot desire
Was, as he was sleeping, disarmed by the hand of a virgin.
This torch she dipped in a cool spring nearby,
Which took a perpetual heat from love's fire,
Turning it into a hot bath and a healthy remedy
For diseased men; but I, enslaved by my mistress,
Went to the bath to be cured, and by doing so, I learned this:
Love's fire can heat the waters, but water can never cool love's fire.
In Shakespeare's English
In the old age black was not counted fair,
Or if it were, it bore not beauty's name;
But now is black beauty's successive heir,
And beauty slander'd with a bastard's shame:
For since each hand hath put on Nature's power,
Fairing the foul with Art's false borrow'd face,
Sweet beauty hath no name, no holy bower,
But is profan'd, if not lives in disgrace.
Therefore my mistress' eyes are raven black,
Her brow so suited, and they mourners seem
At such who, not born fair, no beauty lack,
Sland'ring creation with a false esteem:
Yet so they mourn, becoming of their woe,
That every tongue says beauty should look so.
How oft, when thou, my music, music play'st,
Upon that blessed wood whose motion sounds
With thy sweet fingers, when thou gently sway'st
The wiry concord that mine ear confounds,
Do I envy those jacks that nimble leap
To kiss the tender inward of thy hand,
Whilst my poor lips, which should that harvest reap,
At the wood's boldness by thee blushing stand!
To be so tickl'd, they would change their state
And situation with those dancing chips,
O'er whom thy fingers walk with gentle gait,
Making dead wood more bless'd than living lips.
Since saucy jacks so happy are in this,
Give them thy fingers, me thy lips to kiss.
The expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action; and till action, lust
Is perjur'd, murderous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust;
Enjoy'd no sooner but despised straight;
Past reason hunted; and no sooner had,
Past reason hated, as a swallow'd bait,
On purpose laid to make the taker mad:
Mad in pursuit, and in possession so;
Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;
A bliss in proof,—and prov'd, a very woe;
Before, a joy propos'd; behind, a dream.
All this the world well knows; yet none knows well
To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.
My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red:
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damask'd, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound:
I grant I never saw a goddess go,—
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.
Thou art as tyrannous, so as thou art,
As those whose beauties proudly make them cruel;
For well thou know'st to my dear doting heart
Thou art the fairest and most precious jewel.
Yet, in good faith, some say that thee behold,
Thy face hath not the power to make love groan:
To say they err I dare not be so bold,
Although I swear it to myself alone.
And to be sure that is not false I swear,
A thousand groans, but thinking on thy face,
One on another's neck, do witness bear
Thy black is fairest in my judgment's place.
In nothing art thou black save in thy deeds,
And thence this slander, as I think, proceeds.
Thine eyes I love, and they, as pitying me,
Knowing thy heart torment me with disdain,
Have put on black and loving mourners be,
Looking with pretty ruth upon my pain.
And truly not the morning sun of heaven
Better becomes the grey cheeks of the east,
Nor that full star that ushers in the even,
Doth half that glory to the sober west,
As those two mourning eyes become thy face:
O! let it then as well beseem thy heart
To mourn for me, since mourning doth thee grace,
And suit thy pity like in every part.
Then will I swear beauty herself is black,
And all they foul that thy complexion lack.
Beshrew that heart that makes my heart to groan
For that deep wound it gives my friend and me!
Is't not enough to torture me alone,
But slave to slavery my sweet'st friend must be?
Me from myself thy cruel eye hath taken,
And my next self thou harder hast engross'd:
Of him, myself, and thee, I am forsaken;
A torment thrice threefold thus to be cross'd.
Prison my heart in thy steel bosom's ward,
But then my friend's heart let my poor heart bail;
Whoe'er keeps me, let my heart be his guard;
Thou canst not then use rigour In my jail:
And yet thou wilt; for I, being pent in thee,
Perforce am thine, and all that is in me.
So, now I have confessed that he is thine,
And I myself am mortgaged to thy will,
Myself I'll forfeit, so that other mine
Thou wilt restore to be my comfort still:
But thou wilt not, nor he will not be free,
For thou art covetous, and he is kind;
He learn'd but surety-like to write for me,
Under that bond that him as fast doth bind.
The statute of thy beauty thou wilt take,
Thou usurer, that putt'st forth all to use,
And sue a friend came debtor for my sake;
So him I lose through my unkind abuse.
Him have I lost; thou hast both him and me:
He pays the whole, and yet am I not free.
Whoever hath her wish, thou hast thy will,
And will to boot, and will in over-plus;
More than enough am I that vex thee still,
To thy sweet will making addition thus.
Wilt thou, whose will is large and spacious,
Not once vouchsafe to hide my will in thine?
Shall will in others seem right gracious,
And in my will no fair acceptance shine?
The sea, all water, yet receives rain still,
And in abundance addeth to his store;
So thou, being rich in Will, add to thy Will
One will of mine, to make thy large Will more.
Let no unkind 'No' fair beseechers kill;
Think all but one, and me in that one Will.
If thy soul check thee that I come so near,
Swear to thy blind soul that I was thy Will,
And will, thy soul knows, is admitted there;
Thus far for love my love-suit, sweet, fulfil.
Will will fulfil the treasure of thy love,
Ay, fill it full with wills, and my will one.
In things of great receipt with ease we prove
Among a number one is reckoned none:
Then in the number let me pass untold,
Though in thy stores' account I one must be;
For nothing hold me, so it please thee hold
That nothing me, a something sweet to thee:
Make but my name thy love, and love that still,
And then thou lov'st me,for my name is Will.
Thou blind fool. Love, what dost thou to mine eyes,
That they behold, and see not what they see?
They know what beauty is, see where it lies,
Yet what the best is take the worst to be.
If eyes corrupt by over-partial looks
Be anchored in the bay where all men ride,
Why of eyes' falsehood hast thou forged hooks,
Whereto the judgment of my heart is tied?
Why should my heart think that a several plot
Which my heart knows the wide world's common place?
Or mine eyes, seeing this, say this is not,
To put fair truth upon so foul a face?
In things right true my heart and eyes have err'd,
And to this false plague are they now transferr'd.
When my love swears that she is made of truth,
I do believe her, though I know she lies,
That she might think me some untutor'd youth,
Unlearned in the world's false subtleties.
Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young,
Although she knows my days are past the best,
Simply I credit her false-speaking tongue:
On both sides thus is simple truth supprest.
But wherefore says she not she is unjust?
And wherefore say not I that I am old?
O! love's best habit is in seeming trust,
And age in love loves not to have years told:
Therefore I lie with her, and she with me,
And in our faults by lies we flatter'd, be.
O! call not me to justify the wrong
That thy unkindness lays upon my heart;
Wound me not with thine eye, but with thy tongue:
Use power with power, and slay me not by art.
Tell me thou lovest elsewhere; but in my sight,
Dear heart, forbear to glance thine eye aside:
What need'st thou wound with cunning, when thy might
Is more than my o'erpress'd defence can bide?
Let me excuse thee: ah! my love well knows
Her pretty looks have been my enemies;
And therefore from my face she turns my foes,
That they elsewhere might dart their injuries:
Yet do not so; but since I am near slain,
Kill me outright with looks, and rid my pain.
Be wise as thou art cruel; do not press
My tongue-tied patience with too much disdain;
Lest sorrow lend me words, and words express
The manner of my pity-wanting pain.
If I might teach thee wit, better it were,
Though not to love, yet, Iove, to tell me so;—
As testy sick men, when their deaths be near,
No news but health from their physicians know;—
For, if I should despair, I should grow mad,
And in my madness might speak ill of thee:
Now this ill-wresting world is grown so bad,
Mad slanderers by mad ears believed be.
That I may not be so, nor thou belied,
Bear thine eyes straight, though thy proud heart go wide.
In faith, I do not love thee with mine eyes,
For they in thee a thousand errors note;
But 'tis my heart that loves what they despise,
Who, in despite of view, is pleas'd to dote.
Nor are mine ears with thy tongue's tune delighted;
Nor tender feeling to base touches prone.
Nor taste nor smell desire to be invited
To any sensual feast with thee alone:
But my five wits nor my five senses can
Dissuade one foolish heart from serving thee,
Who leaves unsway'd the likeness of a man,
Thy proud heart's slave and vassal wretch to be:
Only my plague thus far I count my gain,
That she that makes me sin awards me pain.
Love is my sin, and thy dear virtue hate,
Hate of my sin grounded on sinful loving:
O! but with mine compare thou thine own state,
And thou shalt find it merits not reproving;
Or, if it do, not from those lips of thine,
That have profan'd their scarlet ornaments
And seal'd false bonds of love as oft as mine,
Robb'd others' beds' revenues of their rents.
Be it lawful I love thee, as thou lov'st those
Whom thine eyes woo as mine importune thee!
Root pity in thy heart, that when it grows,
Thy pity may deserve to pitied be.
If thou dost seek to have what thou dost hide,
By self-example mayst thou be denied!
Lo, as a careful housewife runs to catch
One of her feather'd creatures broke away,
Sets down her babe, and makes all quick dispatch
In pursuit of the thing she would have stay;
Whilst her neglected child holds her in chase,
Cries to catch her whose busy care is bent
To follow that which flies before her face,
Not prizing her poor infant's discontent:
So runn'st thou after that which flies from thee,
Whilst I thy babe chase thee afar behind;
But if thou catch thy hope, turn back to me,
And play the mother's part, kiss me, be kind;
So will I pray that thou mayst have thy Will,
If thou turn back and my loud crying still.
Two loves I have of comfort and despair,
Which like two spirits do suggest me still:
The better angel is a man right fair,
The worser spirit a woman, colour'd ill.
To win me soon to hell, my female evil
Tempteth my better angel from my side,
And would corrupt my saint to be a devil,
Wooing his purity with her foul pride.
And whether that my angel be tum'd fiend
Suspect I may, but not directly tell;
But being both from me, both to each friend,
I guess one angel in another's hell:
Yet this shall I ne'er know, but live in doubt,
Till my bad angel fire my good one out.
Those lips that Love's own hand did make,
Breath'd forth the sound that said 'I hate,'
To me that languish'd for her sake:
But when she saw my woeful state,
Straight in her heart did mercy come,
Chiding that tongue that ever sweet
Was us'd in giving gentle doom;
And taught it thus anew to greet;
'I hate,' she alter'd with an end,
That follow'd it as gentle day
Doth follow night, who like a fiend
From heaven to hell is flown away.
'I hate' from hate away she threw,
And sav'd my life, saying—'Not you.'
Poor soul, the centre of my sinful earth,
Fool'd by these rebel powers that thee array,
Why dost thou pine within and suffer dearth,
Painting thy outward walls so costly gay?
Why so large cost, having so short a lease,
Dost thou upon thy fading mansion spend?
Shall worms, inheritors of this excess,
Eat up thy charge? Is this thy body's end?
Then, soul, live thou upon thy servant's loss,
And let that pine to aggravate thy store;
Buy terms divine in selling hours of dross;
Within be fed, without be rich no more:
So shalt thou feed on Death, that feeds on men,
And Death once dead, there's no more dying then.
My love is as a fever, longing still
For that which longer nurseth the disease;
Feeding on that which doth preserve the ill,
Th'uncertain sickly appetite to please.
My reason, the physician to my love,
Angry that his prescriptions are not kept,
Hath left me, and I desperate now approve
Desire is death, which physic did except.
Past cure I am, now Reason is past care,
And frantic-mad with evermore unrest;
My thoughts and my discourse as madmen's are,
At random from the truth vainly express'd;
For I have sworn thee fair,and thought thee bright,
Who art as black as hell, as dark as night.
O me! what eyes hath Love put in my head,
Which have no correspondence with true sight;
Or, if they have, where is my judgment fled,
That censures falsely what they see aright?
If that be fair whereon my false eyes dote,
What means the world to say it is not so?
If it be not, then love doth well denote
Love's eye is not so true as all men's: no.
How can it? O! how can Love's eye be true,
That is so vex'd with watching and with tears?
No marvel then, though I mistake my view;
The sun itself sees not till heaven clears.
O cunning Love! with tears thou keep'st me blind,
Lest eyes well-seeing thy foul faults should find.
Canst thou, O cruel! say I love thee not,
When I against myself with thee partake?
Do I not think on thee, when I forgot
Am of myself, all tyrant, for thy sake?
Who hateth thee that I do call my friend?
On whom frown'st thou that I do fawn upon?
Nay, if thou lour'st on me, do I not spend
Revenge upon myself with present moan?
What merit do I in myself respect,
That is so proud thy service to despise,
When all my best doth worship thy defect,
Commanded by the motion of thine eyes?
But, love, hate on, for now I know thy mind;
Those that can see thou lov'st and I am blind.
O! from what power hast thou this powerful might,
With insufficiency my heart to sway?
To make me give the lie to my true sight,
And swear that brightness doth not grace the day?
Whence hast thou this becoming of things ill,
That in the very refuse of thy deeds
There is such strength and warrantise of skill,
That, in my mind, thy worst all best exceeds?
Who taught thee how to make me love thee more,
The more I hear and see just cause of hate?
O! though I love what others do abhor,
With others thou shouldst not abhor my state:
If thy unworthiness rais'd love in me,
More worthy I to be belov'd of thee.
Love is too young to know what conscience is;
Yet who knows not conscience is born of love?
Then, gentle cheater, urge not my amiss,
Lest guilty of my faults thy sweet self prove:
For, thou betraying me, I do betray
My nobler part to my gross body's treason;
My soul doth tell my body that he may
Triumph in love; flesh stays no further reason,
But rising at thy name doth point out thee
As his triumphant prize. Proud of this pride,
He is contented thy poor drudge to be,
To stand in thy affairs, fall by thy side.
No want of conscience hold it that I call
Her 'love' for whose dear love I rise and fall.
In loving thee thou know'st I am forsworn,
But thou art twice forsworn, to me love swearing;
In act thy bed-vow broke, and new faith torn,
In vowing new hate after new love bearing.
But why of two oaths' breach do I accuse thee,
When I break twenty? I am perjur'd most;
For all my vows are oaths but to misuse thee,
And all my honest faith in thee is lost:
For I have sworn deep oaths of thy deep kindness,
Oaths of thy love, thy truth, thy constancy;
And, to enlighten thee, gave eyes to blindness,
Or made them swear against the thing they see;
For I have sworn thee fair--more perjur'd I,
To swear against the truth so foul a lie!
Cupid laid by his brand and fell asleep;
A maid of Dian's this advantage found,
And his love-kindling fire did quickly steep
In a cold valley-fountain of that ground;
Which borrow'd from this holy fire of Love
A dateless lively heat, still to endure,
And grew a seething bath, which yet men prove
Against strange maladies a sovereign cure.
But at my mistress' eye Love's brand new-fired,
The boy for trial needs would touch my breast;
I, sick withal, the help of bath desired,
And thither hied, a sad distemper'd guest,
But found no cure: the bath for my help lies
Where Cupid got new fire, my mistress' eyes.
The little Love-god lying once asleep
Laid by his side his heart-inflaming brand,
Whilst many nymphs that vow'd chaste life to keep
Came tripping by; but in her maiden hand
The fairest votary took up that fire
Which many legions of true hearts had warm'd;
And so the general of hot desire
Was, sleeping, by a virgin hand disarmed.
This brand she quenched in a cool well by,
Which from Love's fire took heat perpetual,
Growing a bath and healthful remedy
For men diseas'd; but I, my mistress' thrall,
Came there for cure, and this by that I prove,
Love's fire heats water, water cools not love.
|SHAKESPEARE'S SONNETS 127 THRU 154