Skip over navigation

Original Text

Modern Text

Not mine own fears, nor the prophetic soul
Of the wide world dreaming on things to come,
Can yet the lease of my true love control,
Supposed as forfeit to a cónfined doom.
The mortal moon hath her eclipse endured
And the sad augurs mock their own preságe;
Incertainties now crown themselves assured,
And peace proclaims olives of endless age.
Now with the drops of this most balmy time
My love looks fresh, and death to me subscribes,
Since spite of him I’ll live in this poor rhyme,
While he insults o'er dull and speechless tribes.
  And thou in this shalt find thy monument,
  When tyrants' crests and tombs of brass are spent.
Neither my own fears nor the speculations of the rest of the world about the future can continue to keep me from possessing my beloved, who everybody thought was doomed to remain in prison. The

moon

This sonnet is puzzling because it seems to refer to actual events in Shakespeare’s time, but it’s impossible to know for certain which events it refers to. One possibility is that it alludes to Queen Elizabeth’s death (represented by the moon’s eclipse, described in line 5) and the subsequent release from prison of the earl of Southampton, whom some readers believe to be the young man of the sonnets. However, even in Shakespeare’s time, this sonnet was probably somewhat mysterious.

moon
, which was always mortal, has finally been eclipsed, and the gloomy fortune-tellers now laugh at their own predictions. Things that once seemed doubtful have become certainties, and peace has come to stay. Now, with the blessings of these times, my beloved looks fresh again and death itself submits to me, since in spite of death I’ll live on in this poor poem while death only exults over the stupid and illiterate peoples that he’s overcome. And you will find this poem to be your monument when tyrants reach the end of their reigns and tombs of brass fall into decay.

More Help

Previous Next
s