A line-by-line translation

Shakespeare's Sonnets

A line-by-line translation

Shakespeare's Sonnets

Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation Sonnet 28

Line Map Clear Line Map Add

How can I then return in happy plight That am debarred the benefit of rest? When day’s oppression is not eased by night, But day by night and night by day oppressed? And each, though enemies to either’s reign, Do in consent shake hands to torture me, The one by toil, the other to complain How far I toil, still farther off from thee. I tell the day to please him thou art bright, And dost him grace when clouds do blot the heaven. So flatter I the swart-complexioned night, When sparkling stars twire not, thou gild’st the even. But day doth daily draw my sorrows longer, And night doth nightly make grief’s length seem stronger.

Then how can I return to a state of happiness
When I am prevented from resting?
When the pressure of the day is not relieved at night,
But day is oppressed by night and night by day?
And although they are enemies to each other,
They join forces to torture me,
The day with labor, and the night with thoughts
Of how my work takes me even further away from you.
I tell the day, to please him, about how radiant you are,
And how your radiance honors him even when the clouds cover the sky.
I give the same flattery to the dark-faced night,
Telling him that when stars do not twinkle, you brighten the evening.
But, every day, the day makes my sorrows longer,
And, every night, the night makes my grief feel stronger.

Sonnets
Join LitCharts A+ and get the entire Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation as a printable PDF.
LitCharts A+ members also get exclusive access to:
  • Downloadable translations of every Shakespeare play and sonnet
  • Downloads of 727 LitCharts Lit Guides
  • Explanations and citation info for 17,592 quotes covering 727 books
  • Teacher Editions for every Lit Guide
  • PDFs defining 136 key Lit Terms
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.