A line-by-line translation

Shakespeare's Sonnets

A line-by-line translation

Shakespeare's Sonnets

Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation Sonnet 86

Line Map Clear Line Map Add

Was it the proud full sail of his great verse, Bound for the prize of all too precious you, That did my ripe thoughts in my brain inhearse, Making their tomb the womb wherein they grew? Was it his spirit, by spirits taught to write Above a mortal pitch, that struck me dead? No, neither he, nor his compeers by night Giving him aid, my verse astonishèd. He, nor that affable familiar ghost Which nightly gulls him with intelligence, As victors of my silence cannot boast. I was not sick of any fear from thence; But when your countenance filled up his line, Then lacked I matter, that enfeebled mine.

Was it the magnificent sail of his great verse,
Sailing towards the all-too precious prize that you are,
That buried my ripe thoughts in my brain,
Making the womb in which they grew a tomb?
Was it his spirit, guided by spirits to write
Better than any mortal can, that struck me dead?
No, neither he, nor his associates who at night
Helped him write, astonished my writing into silence.
Neither he, nor that friendly ghost
Which tricks him with false information,
Are responsible for my silence.
I was not afraid of any of them;
But when your face delighted at his verse,
Then I lost my subject, that made my writing feeble.

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 762 LitCharts Lit Guides
  • Explanations and citation info for 18,227 quotes covering 762 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.