A line-by-line translation

Shakespeare's Sonnets

A line-by-line translation

Shakespeare's Sonnets

Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation Sonnet 5

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Those hours that with gentle work did frame The lovely gaze where every eye doth dwell Will play the tyrants to the very same And that unfair which fairly doth excel. For never-resting time leads summer on To hideous winter and confounds him there, Sap checked with frost and lusty leaves quite gone, Beauty o'er-snowed and bareness everywhere. Then were not summer’s distillation left, A liquid prisoner pent in walls of glass, Beauty’s effect with beauty were bereft, Nor it nor no remembrance what it was. But flowers distilled, though they with winter meet, Leese but their show; their substance still lives sweet.

Time, which with gentle work painted
The lovely sight that everyone admires,
Will turn cruel to the very same sight
And unfairly treat the most beautiful one.
For never-resting Time drives Summer
Towards hideous Winter and destroys him there,
Freezing his sap and removing his lush leaves,
Covering his beauty in snow and leaving him barren.
Then if it were not for the distillation of Summer,
A liquid prisoner trapped in a glass container,
The effect of beauty would be lost with beauty,
And neither it nor any memory of what it was.
But distilled flowers, although they do survive into winter,
Lose only their appearance; their essence still sweetly lives.

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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.