Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation Sonnet 120
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.
LitCharts A+ members also get exclusive access to:
- Downloadable translations of every Shakespeare play and sonnet
- Downloads of 871 LitCharts Lit Guides
- Explanations and citation info for 20,238 quotes covering 871 books
- Teacher Editions for every Lit Guide
- PDFs defining 136 key Lit Terms