Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation Sonnet 16
But wherefore do not you a mightier way Make war upon this bloody tyrant, time, And fortify yourself in your decay With means more blessèd than my barren rhyme? Now stand you on the top of happy hours, And many maiden gardens, yet unset, With virtuous wish would bear your living flowers, Much liker than your painted counterfeit. So should the lines of life that life repair Which this time’s pencil or my pupil pen Neither in inward worth nor outward fair Can make you live yourself in eyes of men. To give away yourself keeps yourself still, And you must live, drawn by your own sweet skill.
But why don't you, in a stronger way,
Fight against time, this bloody tyrant,
And defend yourself against decay
In a more blessed way than my barren poetry?
Now you stand on the happy hours of your prime,
And there are many virgins that are still unseeded,
Who wish virtuously to bear your children,
Which would be more like you than any painted portrait.
So should bloodlines repair life,
Which neither time's pencils or my inexperienced pen
Can preserve in its internal essence or external appearance,
To keep you alive in the eyes of men.
To give yourself away in marriage would preserve you,
And you must live, drawn by your own sweet skill.
LitCharts A+ members also get exclusive access to:
- Downloadable translations of every Shakespeare play and sonnet
- Downloads of 1277 LitCharts Lit Guides
- Explanations and citation info for 28,041 quotes covering 1277 books
- Teacher Editions for every Lit Guide
- PDFs defining 136 key Lit Terms