A line-by-line translation

Shakespeare's Sonnets

A line-by-line translation

Shakespeare's Sonnets

Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation Sonnet 120

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That you were once unkind befriends me now, And for that sorrow which I then did feel Needs must I under my transgression bow, Unless my nerves were brass or hammered steel. For if you were by my unkindness shaken, As I by yours, you’ve passed a hell of time, And I, a tyrant, have no leisure taken To weigh how once I suffered in your crime. O that our night of woe might have rememb’red My deepest sense, how hard true sorrow hits, And soon to you as you to me then tendered The humble salve which wounded bosoms fits! But that your trespass now becomes a fee; Mine ransoms yours, and yours must ransom me.

The fact that you were once unkind is a friend to me now,
And for the sorrow that I felt back then,
I would feel for my own transgression,
Unless my nerves were made of brass or hammered steel.
For if you were shaken by my unkindness,
As I was by yours, you must have gone through hell,
And I, like a tyrant, have not considered
How I once suffered similarly under your crime.
Oh if our night of sadness could have reawakened
My deepest feeling, how hard true sorrow hits,
And if only I had tended to you as quickly as you did to me
The humble remedy that heals wounded hearts!
But your offense now becomes a fee;
My mistake forgives yours, and yours must forgive me.

Sonnets
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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.