A line-by-line translation

Shakespeare's Sonnets

A line-by-line translation

Shakespeare's Sonnets

Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation Sonnet 20

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A woman’s face, with nature’s own hand painted, Hast thou, the master-mistress of my passion; A woman’s gentle heart, but not acquainted With shifting change, as is false women’s fashion; An eye more bright than theirs, less false in rolling, Gilding the object whereupon it gazeth; A man in hue, all hues in his controlling, Which steals men’s eyes and women’s souls amazeth. And for a woman wert thou first created, Till nature as she wrought thee fell a-doting, And by addition me of thee defeated, By adding one thing to my purpose nothing. But since she pricked thee out for women’s pleasure, Mine be thy love, and thy love’s use their treasure.

A woman's face, painted by nature's own hand,
Is what you have, master-mistress of my feelings.
You have a woman's gentle heart, but have not experienced
Its tricking changes, the typical behavior of false women.
Your eye is brighter than theirs, but less false in  how it moves,
Turning into gold whatever it looks at.
You are a man in physical form, but able to control all appearances,
You steal the eyes of men and amaze the souls of women.
And you were first made for a woman,
Until nature, when she was making you, fell in love with you,
And by addition defeated my purpose for you
By adding one thing that is useless to me.
But since nature selected you for women's pleasure,
I will have your love, but the use of it will be their treasure.

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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.