Reading of Sonnet 18
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The images in the YouTube video are from an original 1609 edition of Shake-speares Sonnets held by the British Library. It is one of only thirteen copies in existence. Images courtesy of the Octavo Corporation.
Modernized Spelling and Punctuation
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimmed;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.
Simplified Modern English Translation
Shall I compare you to a summer’s day?
You are more lovely and more temperate.
There are often rough winds during the month of May,
and summer can be a very short season in general.
Sometimes it can be uncomfortably hot during the summer,
and at other times it might be dreary or cloudy;
and many of the beauties of summer wither and die
by chance occurrence or nature’s unpredictable wrath;
but your eternal summer shall not fade
nor lose possession of its incomparable beauty;
nor will Death brag that you are just another of his conquests,
when you continue to live in these lines of poetry.
As long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
these lines shall live, and these lines give life to thee.
Text from Original 1609 Quarto
Transcription courtesy of University of Virginia Library:
Shall I compare thee to a Summers day?
Thou art more louely and more temperate:
Rough windes do shake the darling buds of Maie,
And Sommers lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heauen shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d,
And euery faire from faire some-time declines,
By chance, or natures changing course vntrim’d:
But thy eternall Sommer shall not fade,
Nor loose possession of that faire thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wandr’st in his shade,
When in eternall lines to time thou grow’st,
So long as men can breath or eyes can see,
So long liues this, and this giues life to thee,