Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation Sonnet 106
When in the chronicle of wasted time I see descriptions of the fairest wights And beauty making beautiful old rhyme In praise of ladies dead and lovely knights, Then in the blazon of sweet beauty’s best, Of hand, of foot, of lip, of eye, of brow, I see their ántique pen would have expressed Ev'n such a beauty as you master now. So all their praises are but prophecies Of this our time, all you prefiguring, And for they looked but with divining eyes, They had not skill enough your worth to sing. For we which now behold these present days, Have eyes to wonder, but lack tongues to praise.
When in the history of past time,
I see descriptions of the most beautiful people,
And that beauty making beautiful old poems
Praising ladies who are now dead and lovely knights;
Then in the praise of the most beautiful things,
Of hand, of foot, of lip, of eye, of forehead,
I see that the writers of the past would have expressed
The beauty that you effortlessly possess now.
So their praises were only prophecies
Of the present, all of them predicting you.
And because they only looked through their predictions,
They did not have enough skill to praise you properly:
For we, who can actually see the present days,
Have eyes to admire you with, but lack tongues to praise.
LitCharts A+ members also get exclusive access to:
- Downloadable translations of every Shakespeare play and sonnet
- Downloads of 1146 LitCharts Lit Guides
- Explanations and citation info for 25,393 quotes covering 1146 books
- Teacher Editions for every Lit Guide
- PDFs defining 136 key Lit Terms