When I do count the clock that tells the time,
And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;
When I behold the violet past prime,
And sable curls, all silvered o’er with white;
When lofty trees I see barren of leaves,
Which erst from heat did canopy the herd,
And summer’s green all girded up in sheaves,
Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard,
Then of thy beauty do I question make,
That thou among the wastes of time must go,
Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake
And die as fast as they see others grow;
And nothing ‘gainst Time’s scythe can make defence
Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence.

Sonnet 12: Translation to modern English

When I count the chimes of the clock and watch the bright day sunken into terrifying night; when I see violets fading, and black curls all silvered over with white; when I see tall trees which previously offered shade to sheep and cattle but now with no leaves; and the green crops of summer tied up in harvested sheaves covered with scratchy dried out leaves, carried away on a wagon; then I begin to think about the endurance of your beauty and that you will have to decline and decay like everything else, because sweet and beautiful things lose their sweetness and beauty and die while watching new sweet and beautiful things taking their place. The only defence against Time’s scythe is to defy him when he takes you away, by having children.

Search all of Shakespeare’s sonnets:

Sonnet 1, Sonnet 2, Sonnet 3, Sonnet 4, Sonnet 5, Sonnet 6, Sonnet 7, Sonnet 8, Sonnet 9, Sonnet 10, Sonnet 11, Sonnet 12, Sonnet 13, Sonnet 14, Sonnet 15, Sonnet 16, Sonnet 17, Sonnet 18, Sonnet 19, Sonnet 20, Sonnet 21, Sonnet 22, Sonnet 23, Sonnet 24, Sonnet 25, Sonnet 26, Sonnet 27, Sonnet 28, Sonnet 29, Sonnet 30, Sonnet 31, Sonnet 32, Sonnet 33, Sonnet 34, Sonnet 35, Sonnet 36, Sonnet 37, Sonnet 38, Sonnet 39, Sonnet 40, Sonnet 41, Sonnet 42, Sonnet 43, Sonnet 44, Sonnet 45, Sonnet 46, Sonnet 47, Sonnet 48, Sonnet 49, Sonnet 50, Sonnet 51, Sonnet 52, Sonnet 53, Sonnet 54, Sonnet 55, Sonnet 56, Sonnet 57, Sonnet 58, Sonnet 59, Sonnet 60, Sonnet 61, Sonnet 62, Sonnet 63, Sonnet 64, Sonnet 65, Sonnet 66, Sonnet 67, Sonnet 68, Sonnet 69, Sonnet 70, Sonnet 71, Sonnet 72, Sonnet 73, Sonnet 74, Sonnet 75, Sonnet 76, Sonnet 77, Sonnet 78, Sonnet 79, Sonnet 80, Sonnet 81, Sonnet 82, Sonnet 83, Sonnet 84, Sonnet 85, Sonnet 86, Sonnet 87, Sonnet 88, Sonnet 89, Sonnet 90, Sonnet 91, Sonnet 92, Sonnet 93, Sonnet 94, Sonnet 95, Sonnet 96, Sonnet 97, Sonnet 98, Sonnet 99, Sonnet 100, Sonnet 101, Sonnet 102, Sonnet 103, Sonnet 104, Sonnet 105, Sonnet 106, Sonnet 107, Sonnet 108, Sonnet 109, Sonnet 110, Sonnet 111, Sonnet 112, Sonnet 113, Sonnet 114, Sonnet 115, Sonnet 116, Sonnet 117, Sonnet 118, Sonnet 119, Sonnet 120, Sonnet 121, Sonnet 122, Sonnet 123, Sonnet 124, Sonnet 125, Sonnet 126, Sonnet 127, Sonnet 128, Sonnet 129, Sonnet 130, Sonnet 131, Sonnet 132, Sonnet 133, Sonnet 134, Sonnet 135, Sonnet 136, Sonnet 137, Sonnet 138, Sonnet 139, Sonnet 140, Sonnet 141, Sonnet 142, Sonnet 143, Sonnet 144, Sonnet 145, Sonnet 146, Sonnet 147, Sonnet 148, Sonnet 149, Sonnet 150, Sonnet 151, Sonnet 152, Sonnet 153, Sonnet 154,
1 reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>