A line-by-line translation

Shakespeare's Sonnets

A line-by-line translation

Shakespeare's Sonnets

Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation Sonnet 8

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Music to hear, why hear’st thou music sadly? Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy. Why lov’st thou that which thou receiv’st not gladly, Or else receiv’st with pleasure thine annoy? If the true concord of well-tuned sounds, By unions married, do offend thine ear, They do but sweetly chide thee, who confounds In singleness the parts that thou shouldst bear. Mark how one string, sweet husband to another, Strikes each in each by mutual ordering, Resembling sire and child and happy mother, Who all in one, one pleasing note do sing; Whose speechless song, being many, seeming one, Sings this to thee: “Thou single wilt prove none.”

When there is music, why do you listen to it sadly?
Sweetness belongs with sweetness, and joy delights joy.
Why do you love what you are not happy to listen to,
Or do you love things that trouble you?
If the true harmony of well-tuned sounds,
When united in marriage, sounds unpleasant to you,
It is because they sweetly rebuke you, you who spoil
By remaining single the parts that you should play.
See how one string, like a sweet husband to another,
Resonate with each other so they can sound in pairs,
Resembling father and child and happy mother,
Who all together sing in one pleasing note;
This wordless song, gathering many parts into one whole,
Sings this to you: "Unmarried, you will achieve nothing."

Sonnets
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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.