A line-by-line translation

Shakespeare's Sonnets

A line-by-line translation

Shakespeare's Sonnets

Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation Sonnet 127

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In the old age black was not counted fair, Or if it were, it bore not beauty’s name. But now is black beauty’s successive heir, And beauty slandered with a bastard shame. For since each hand hath put on nature’s pow'r, Fairing the foul with art’s false borrowed face, Sweet beauty hath no name, no holy bow'r, But is profaned, if not lives in disgrace. Therefore my mistress' eyes are raven black, Her eyes so suited, and they mourners seem At such who, not born fair, no beauty lack, Sland'ring creation with a false esteem. Yet so they mourn, becoming of their woe, That every tongue says beauty should look so.

In olden times, dark coloring was not seen as fair,
Or if it was considered fair it wasn't called beautiful.
But now, black is beauty's next heir,
And beauty is slandered with the shame of illegitimacy.
Since each hand has captured nature's power,
Making a foul face fair with the false and borrowed face of cosmetics,
Sweet beauty has no legitimate title to claim, and no sacred temple,
But is defiled or, if not, then it lives in disgrace.
Therefore my mistress' eyes are black like ravens,
Her eyes are dressed similarly, and they look like they are in mourning
For those who, not born beautiful, have become beautiful,
Slandering nature with a false reputation.
But those dark eyes mourn, looking so good in their sorrow,
That everyone says beauty should look dark like them.

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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.