Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation Sonnet 118
Like as to make our appetites more keen With eager compounds we our palate urge; As, to prevent our maladies unseen, We sicken to shun sickness when we purge; Ev'n so, being full of your ne'er-cloying sweetness, To bitter sauces did I frame my feeding; And, sick of welfare, found a kind of meetness To be diseased ere that there was true needing. Thus policy in love, t' anticipate The ills that were not, grew to faults assured, And brought to medicine a healthful state Which, rank of goodness, would by ill be cured; But thence I learn, and find the lesson true, Drugs poison him that so fell sick of you.
Just as we, to sharpen our appetites,
Stimulate our palates with strong mixtures;
Just so, to prevent illnesses we have not foreseen,
We become sick by purging to avoid sickness.
Even so, being full of your sweetness, which is never too much,
I ate bitter sauces to help my appetite;
And, sick of good health, found it suitable
To make myself sick before I actually became sick.
This cunning strategy of love, to anticipate
Future problems, became a problem in itself,
And caused a healthy state to need medicine
Which, full of goodness, would be cured by badness;
And from this I learn, and find the lesson true,
Medicine poison him who became sick of you
LitCharts A+ members also get exclusive access to:
- Downloadable translations of every Shakespeare play and sonnet
- Downloads of 911 LitCharts Lit Guides
- Explanations and citation info for 21,030 quotes covering 911 books
- Teacher Editions for every Lit Guide
- PDFs defining 136 key Lit Terms