Now, while the world is bent my deeds to cross,
Join with the spite of fortune, make me bow,
And do not drop in for an after-loss:
Ah! do not, when my heart hath ‘scaped this sorrow,
Come in the rearward of a conquered woe;
Give not a windy night a rainy morrow,
To linger out a purposed overthrow.
If thou wilt leave me, do not leave me last,
When other petty griefs have done their spite,
But in the onset come: so shall I taste
At first the very worst of fortune’s might;
And other strains of woe, which now seem woe,
Compared with loss of thee, will not seem so.
Sonnet 90: Translation to modern English
So hate me whenever it pleases you, but if you are going to, do it now – now while the world is determined to frustrate all my actions. Join with the spitefulness of Fortune, make me bow under the burden, but don’t come and bite me from behind just when I’ve got over this particular blow. Don’t be a rainy morning after a stormy night, drawing out the defeat that you’re determined to impose on me. If you’re going to go, don’t leave it to the end, when other small sorrows have done their worst but do it at the beginning so that I’ll experience the very worst misfortune first. Then other painful things that are hurting now won’t seem so bad compared with the loss of you.