When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see’st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west;
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire,
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed, whereon it must expire,
Consum’d with that which it was nourish’d by.
This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well, which thou must leave ere long.
Sonnet 73: Translation to modern English
You may see that time of year in me when few, or no, yellow leaves hang on those branches that shiver in the cold bare ruins of the choir stalls where sweet birds sang so recently. You see, in me, the twilight of a day, after the sun has set in the west, extinguished by the black night that imitates Death, which closes everything in rest. You see in me the glowing embers that are all that is left of the fire of my youth – the deathbed on which youth must inevitably die, consumed by the life that once fed it. This is something you can see, and it gives your love the strength deeply to love that which you have to lose soon.