And yet methinks I have Astronomy,
But not to tell of good or evil luck,
Of plagues, of dearths, or seasons’ quality;
Nor can I fortune to brief minutes tell,
Pointing to each his thunder, rain and wind,
Or say with princes if it shall go well
By oft predict that I in heaven find:
But from thine eyes my knowledge I derive,
And, constant stars, in them I read such art
As truth and beauty shall together thrive,
If from thyself, to store thou wouldst convert;
Or else of thee this I prognosticate:
Thy end is truth’s and beauty’s doom and date.
Sonnet 14: Translation to modern English
I don’t pick my wisdom from the stars, but I think I understand astronomy, although not to predict good or bad luck, or plagues and famines or what the seasons will be like. Nor can I tell fortunes, showing individuals their own moods and their ups and downs, nor tell rulers whether things will go well by frequent predictions from what I see in the heavens. But I get my knowledge from your eyes, and as they are constant stars, I’m able to predict that truth and beauty will thrive together if you would turn your attention from yourself to the reproduction of yourself; otherwise, this is my prediction for you: your death will be the final end of truth and beauty.