My love is strengthened, though more weak in seeming;
I love not less, though less the show appear;
That love is merchandized, whose rich esteeming,
The owner’s tongue doth publish every where.
Our love was new, and then but in the spring,
When I was wont to greet it with my lays;
As Philomel in summer’s front doth sing,
And stops his pipe in growth of riper days:
Not that the summer is less pleasant now
Than when her mournful hymns did hush the night,
But that wild music burthens every bough,
And sweets grown common lose their dear delight.
Therefore like her, I sometime hold my tongue:
Because I would not dull you with my song.
Sonnet 1o2: Translation to modern English
My love is stronger, although it appears weaker: I don’t love any less, although I show my love less. Love becomes a product when one widely advertises the strength of his feelings about the one he loves. Our love was new – only in its spring – when I used to celebrate it with my verse, similar to the nightingale singing in the early summer and stopping as the summer progresses. It’s not that the summer is less pleasant now than when the nightingale sang in the silence of the night: it’s more that every branch is full of the wild music of song birds and that when things become common they’re less delightful. And so, like her, I sometimes hold my tongue because I don’t want my poems to appear dull to you.
See other Shakespeare sonnets in modern English >>