Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation Sonnet 119
What potions have I drunk of siren tears, Distilled from limbecks foul as hell within, Applying fears to hopes, and hopes to fears, Still losing when I saw myself to win! What wretched errors hath my heart committed, Whilst it hath thought itself so blessèd never! How have mine eyes out of their spheres been fitted In the distraction of this madding fever! O benefit of ill, now I find true That better is by evil still made better; And ruined love when it is built anew Grows fairer than at first, more strong, far greater. So I return rebuked to my content, And gain by ills thrice more than I have spent.
What potions have I drunk, made from siren tears,
Distilled from vessels as foul as the pits of hell,
Using fears to remedy hopes, and hopes to remedy fears,
Still losing when I anticipated winning!
What wretched mistakes my heart has committed,
While it thought itself to be never more blessed!
My eyes have burst out of their sockets,
In the confusion of this maddening fever!
Oh the benefit of badness is that I now know it is true
That something good is made even better by evil;
And ruined love, when it is built up again,
Grows more beautiful, stronger, and greater than before.
So I return, chastized, to my contentment,
And gain by evil three times more than I have spent.
LitCharts A+ members also get exclusive access to:
- Downloadable translations of every Shakespeare play and sonnet
- Downloads of 1065 LitCharts Lit Guides
- Explanations and citation info for 23,903 quotes covering 1065 books
- Teacher Editions for every Lit Guide
- PDFs defining 136 key Lit Terms