A line-by-line translation

Shakespeare's Sonnets

A line-by-line translation

Shakespeare's Sonnets

Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation Sonnet 138

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When my love swears that she is made of truth I do believe her, though I know she lies, That she might think me some untutored youth Unlearnèd in the world’s false subtleties. Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young, Although she knows my days are past the best, Simply I credit her false speaking tongue; On both sides thus is simple truth suppressed. But wherefore says she not she is unjust? And wherefore say not I that I am old? O love’s best habit is in seeming trust, And age in love loves not t' have years told. Therefore I lie with her, and she with me, And in our faults by lies we flattered be.

When my love swears that she is essentially faithful,
I believe her although I know she is lying,
So that she thinks I am a naive young man
Unaware of the false tricks of the world.
Thus vainly imagining that she thinks that I am young,
Although she knows that my best days are behind me,
I stupidly pretend to believe her lies;
Therefore, on both sides truth is suppressed.
But why does she not say that she is unfaithful?
And why do I not say that I am old?
Oh because love's best habit is the appearance of trust,
And older people in love do not like to hear their age discussed.
Therefore I lie with her, and she lies with me,
And in our flaws we are flattered by lies.

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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.