Against my love shall be as I am now,
With Time’s injurious hand crush’d and o’erworn;
When hours have drain’d his blood and fill’d his brow
With lines and wrinkles; when his youthful morn
Hath travell’d on to age’s steepy night;
And all those beauties whereof now he’s king
Are vanishing, or vanished out of sight,
Stealing away the treasure of his spring;
For such a time do I now fortify
Against confounding age’s cruel knife,
That he shall never cut from memory
My sweet love’s beauty, though my lover’s life:
His beauty shall in these black lines be seen,
And they shall live, and he in them still green.
Sonnet 63 in modern English
In anticipation of the time when my love will be as I am now, crushed and worn out by time’s destroying hand; when the years will have sapped his energy and covered his forehead with wrinkles; when the morning of his youth will have journeyed on to the hard night of old age, and all the beauty which crowns him now will be disappearing or have completely disappeared, stealing the treasures of his youth – I’m preparing myself for that time, defending myself against the cruel knife of damaging old age to make sure that he will never cut the beauty of my sweet love from my memory, even if he should die. His beauty will be seen in these black verses, which will survive, and he will live in them, forever young.
Watch Sir Patrick Stewart read Shakespeare’s sonnet 63
The 1609 Quarto sonnet 63 version
AGainſt my loue ſhall be as I am now With times iniurious hand chruſht and ore-worne, When houres haue dreind his blood and fild his brow With lines and wrincles,when his youthfull morne Hath trauaild on to Ages ſteepie night, And all thoſe beauties whereof now he’s King Are vaniſhing,or vaniſht out of ſight, Stealing away the treaſure of his Spring. For ſuch a time do I now fortifie Againſt confounding Ages cruell knife, That he ſhall neuer cut from memory My ſweet loues beauty,though my louers life. His beautie ſhall in theſe blacke lines be ſeene, And they ſhall liue , and he in them ſtill greene.