A line-by-line translation

Shakespeare's Sonnets

A line-by-line translation

Shakespeare's Sonnets

Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation Sonnet 39

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O how thy worth with manners may I sing, When thou art all the better part of me? What can mine own praise to mine own self bring, And what is’t but mine own when I praise thee? Even for this, let us divided live, And our dear love lose name of single one, That by this separation I may give That due to thee which thou deserv’st alone. O absence, what a torment wouldst thou prove, Were it not thy sour leisure gave sweet leave To entertain the time with thoughts of love, Which time and thoughts so sweetly dost deceive, And that thou teachest how to make one twain, By praising him here who doth hence remain.

How can I praise you with appropriate modesty,
When you are the better part of me?
What good does praising myself bring to me, 
And what is praising you, but praising myself?
For this reason, let us live apart,
And our precious love lose the reputation of being a union,
So that through this separation I can give
You the praise that you deserve all by yourself.
Oh absence, what a torment you would prove to be,
If it weren't that your sour leisure gives sweet opportunity
To fill the time with thoughts of love,
You, absence, sweetly deceive time and thinking,
You teach how to make one into two,
By praising my love here, who is far away from me.

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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.