My love is as a fever, longing still
For that which longer nurseth the disease,
Feeding on that which doth preserve the ill,
Th' uncertain sickly appetite to please.
My reason, the physician to my love,
Angry that his prescriptions are not kept,
Hath left me, and I desp'rate now approve
Desire is death, which physic did except.
Past cure I am, now reason is past care,
And frantic mad with evermore unrest,
My thoughts and my discourse as madmen’s are,
At random from the truth vainly expressed;
For I have sworn thee fair and thought thee bright,
Who art as black as hell, as dark as night.
My love is like a fever, always making me yearn for what will prolong my disease. It lives on whatever will preserve the illness, in order to prop up my fickle desire. My reasoning has acted as doctor and treated my love, but then it left me because I wasn’t following its instructions. Now that I’m finally desperate enough, I realize that sexual desire, which was against the doctor’s orders, is lethal. Now that my mind is past caring, I’m past the point where I can be cured, and I’ve gone frantically crazy and grown increasingly restless. My thoughts and speech are like a madman’s, pointlessly expressing random untruths. For I have sworn that you’re beautiful and thought you radiant when you’re actually as black as hell and as dark as night.