Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation Sonnet 9
Is it for fear to wet a widow’s eye That thou consum’st thyself in single life? Ah, if thou issueless shalt hap to die, The world will wail thee like a makeless wife; The world will be thy widow and still weep, That thou no form of thee hast left behind, When every private widow well may keep, By children’s eyes, her husband’s shape in mind. Look what an unthrift in the world doth spend Shifts but his place, for still the world enjoys it; But beauty’s waste hath in the world an end, And kept unused, the user so destroys it. No love toward others in that bosom sits That on himself such murd'rous shame commits.
Is it because you don't want to make your widow cry
That you waste yourself away in your single life?
Ah, if you happen to die childless,
The world will mourn you like a mateless widow.
The world will be your widow and will weep,
That you have left no form of you behind,
Since every particular widow can keep
Her husband's image in her memory, seeing it in their children's eyes.
Whatever a spendthrift spends in the world
Changes only its place, and the world still enjoys it;
However, beauty wasted is lost to the world,
By the beautiful man who keeps his seed unused.
There is no love for others in this man
Who commits such shameful murder on himself.
LitCharts A+ members also get exclusive access to:
- Downloadable translations of every Shakespeare play and sonnet
- Downloads of 941 LitCharts Lit Guides
- Explanations and citation info for 21,593 quotes covering 941 books
- Teacher Editions for every Lit Guide
- PDFs defining 136 key Lit Terms