A line-by-line translation

Shakespeare's Sonnets

A line-by-line translation

Shakespeare's Sonnets

Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation Sonnet 131

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Thou art as tyrannous, so as thou art, As those whose beauties proudly make them cruel; For well thou know’st, to my dear doting heart Thou art the fairest and most precious jewel. Yet in good faith some say, that thee behold, Thy face hath not the pow'r to make love groan. To say they err I dare not be so bold, Although I swear it to myself alone; And to be sure that is not false, I swear A thousand groans but thinking on thy face; One on another’s neck do witness bear Thy black is fairest in my judgment’s place. In nothing art thou black save in thy deeds, And thence this slander, as I think, proceeds.

You are as tyrannous as you are,
As cruel as those whose beauty proudly makes them cruel;
For as you know well, to my tender doting heart,
You are the most beautiful and most precious jewel.
Yet some who have seen you say, in all honesty,
That your face does not have the power to make love itself groan.
I dare not be so bold to say that they are wrong,
Although I swear to myself that you do make love groan;
And to be sure that this is not false, I swear
A thousand groans just by thinking of your face,
Which come one after another, to attest
That your blackness is the most beautiful in my judgment.
You are not black in any way, other than in your actions,
And that is where, I think, this slander against you comes from.

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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.