A line-by-line translation

Shakespeare's Sonnets

A line-by-line translation

Shakespeare's Sonnets

Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation Sonnet 128

Line Map Clear Line Map Add

How oft when thou, my music, music play’st Upon that blessèd wood whose motion sounds With thy sweet fingers, when thou gently sway’st The wiry concord that mine ear confounds, Do I envy' those jacks that nimble leap To kiss the tender inward of thy hand, Whilst my poor lips, which should that harvest reap, At the wood’s boldness by thee blushing stand. To be so tickled they would change their state And situation with those dancing chips, O'er whom thy fingers walk with gentle gait, Making dead wood more blest than living lips. Since saucy jacks so happy are in this, Give them thy fingers, me thy lips to kiss.

How often when you, who are my music, play music
On that blessed wood instrument, which vibrates
With your sweet fingers, and when you gently move
The harmony of strings that amazes my ears,
I envy those keys that leap nimbly
To kiss the tender inside of your hand,
While my poor lips, which should be collecting the harvest of your kiss,
Stand blushing at the boldness of the wooden keys.
To be tickled like that, my lips would gladly change place
With those dancing wooden blocks,
Over which your fingers walk with gentle steps,
Making dead wood more blessed than living lips.
Since those cheeky upstarts are so happy to be there,
Give them your fingers, but give me your lips to kiss.

Sonnets
Join LitCharts A+ and get the entire Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation as a printable PDF.
LitCharts A+ members also get exclusive access to:
  • Downloadable translations of every Shakespeare play and sonnet
  • Downloads of 787 LitCharts Lit Guides
  • Explanations and citation info for 18,648 quotes covering 787 books
  • Teacher Editions for every Lit Guide
  • PDFs defining 136 key Lit Terms
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.