A line-by-line translation

Shakespeare's Sonnets

A line-by-line translation

Shakespeare's Sonnets

Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation Sonnet 118

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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

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Suzy kim
About the Translator: Suzy Kim

Suzy Kim is a graduate student studying Victorian literature at Brown University. She studied English and Psychology at University of Pennsylvania, and some of her creative work can be found in the upcoming volume of The Graphic Canon: Tales of Crime and Mystery Vol. 1. She is from Seoul, and currently lives in Providence, Rhode Island.