To me, fair friend, you never can be old,
For as you were when first your eye I ey’d,
Such seems your beauty still. Three winters cold,
Have from the forests shook three summers’ pride,
Three beauteous springs to yellow autumn turn’d,
In process of the seasons have I seen,
Three April perfumes in three hot Junes burn’d,
Since first I saw you fresh, which yet are green.
Ah! yet doth beauty like a dial-hand,
Steal from his figure, and no pace perceiv’d;
So your sweet hue, which methinks still doth stand,
Hath motion, and mine eye may be deceiv’d:
For fear of which, hear this thou age unbred:
Ere you were born was beauty’s summer dead.
Sonnet 1o4: Translation to modern English
To me, lovely friend, you could never be old, because your beauty seems unchanged from the time I first saw your eyes. Three cold winters have shaken the leaves of three beautiful springs and autumns from the forests as I have watched the seasons pass: The sweet smell of three Aprils have been burned up in three hot Junes since I first saw your youthful beauty, which is still in its prime. Ah! But beauty moves forward continually, imperceptibly, like the hands of a clock. In the same way, your beauty, which seems unchanged to me, moves forward, deceiving my eyes. In consideration of that, listen, you unborn generations: the height of beauty was dead before you were born.
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