Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation Sonnet 126
O thou, my lovely boy, who in thy pow'r Dost hold time’s fickle glass, his sickle hour, Who hast by waning grown, and therein show’st Thy lovers withering, as thy sweet self grow’st— If nature, sovereign mistress over wrack, As thou goest onwards still will pluck thee back, She keeps thee to this purpose: that her skill May time disgrace, and wretched minute kill. Yet fear her, O thou minion of her pleasure; She may detain, but not still keep, her treasure. Her audit, though delayed, answered must be, And her quietus is to render thee. ( )( )
Oh you, my lovely boy, in your power
You hold time's fickle hourglass, his sickly hour,
Aging has made you grow more beautiful, and in doing so you reveal
The withering of your lovers, as your sweet self grows—
If nature, who is the queen and master of destruction,
Will jerk you back as you proceed towards death,
She is keeping you for this reason: so that her skill
Can disgrace time, and destroy his wretched minutes.
But you, the subject of her pleasure, should still fear her;
She may detain you from death, but not ultimately keep you from it.
Her bill, although delayed, must eventually be paid,
And the satisfaction of her debt is to give you up.
LitCharts A+ members also get exclusive access to:
- Downloadable translations of every Shakespeare play and sonnet
- Downloads of 967 LitCharts Lit Guides
- Explanations and citation info for 22,100 quotes covering 967 books
- Teacher Editions for every Lit Guide
- PDFs defining 136 key Lit Terms