A line-by-line translation

Shakespeare's Sonnets

A line-by-line translation

Shakespeare's Sonnets

Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation Sonnet 154

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The little love-god lying once asleep Laid by his side his heart-inflaming brand, Whilst many nymphs that vowed chaste life to keep Came tripping by; but in her maiden hand The fairest votary took up that fire, Which many legions of true hearts had warmed; And so the general of hot desire Was, sleeping, by a virgin hand disarmed. This brand she quenchèd in a cool well by, Which from love’s fire took heat perpetual, Growing a bath and healthful remedy For men diseased; but I, my mistress' thrall, Came there for cure, and this by that I prove: Love’s fire heats water; water cools not love.

The little love God, once lying asleep
Put down by his side his heart-inflaming torch,
While many nymphs that swore to remain chaste
Came walking by. But, in her virgin hand,
The most beautiful of all who had vowed virginity took the torch,
Which had warmed many faithful hearts;
And so the commander of hot desire
Was, while sleeping disarmed by a virgin's hand.
This torch she plunged in a cool well nearby,
Which took endless heat from love's fire,
Becoming a bath and a healthy remedy
For sick men; but I, enslaved by my mistress,
Came there for a cure, and so by that I experience I can prove this:
Love's fire heats water, water does not cool love.

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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.