Reading of Sonnet 27
Click on video to play
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
Weary with toil, I haste me to my bed,
The dear repose for limbs with travel tired,
But then begins a journey in my head,
To work my mind, when body’s work’s expired.
For then my thoughts, from far where I abide,
Intend a zealous pilgrimage to thee,
And keep my drooping eyelids open wide,
Looking on darkness which the blind do see;
Save that my soul’s imaginary sight
Presents thy shadow to my sightless view,
Which, like a jewel hung in ghastly night
Makes black night beauteous and her old face new.
Lo, thus, by day my limbs, by night my mind,
For thee and for myself no quiet find.
Simplified Modern English Translation
Tired after a long day at work, I jump into my bed,
that relaxing place for a body weary with toil,
but as soon as I lie down, a new journey begins, as
my mind starts working after my body’s day is done.
For then my thoughts, from where they now reside,
begin an arduous journey to find you.
This journey keeps my sleepy eyes open wide
as they peer into the darkness searching for you.
My soul uses its imagination
to present an image of you to my sightless eyes.
This image, like a sparkling jewel in the night,
brightens the darkness and makes it beautiful.
Thus by day my body, and by night my mind,
for you and for myself no quiet find.
Text from Original 1609 Quarto
Transcription courtesy of University of Virginia Library:
Weary with toyle, I hast me to my bed,
The deare repose for lims with trauaill tired,
But then begins a iourny in my head
To worke my mind, when boddies work’s expired.
For then my thoughts (from far where I abide)
Intend a zelous pilgrimage to thee,
And keepe my drooping eye-lids open wide,
Looking on darknes which the blind doe see.
Saue that my soules imaginary sight
Presents their¹ shaddoe to my sightles view,
Which like a iewell (hunge in gastly night)
Makes blacke night beautious, and her old face new.
Loe thus by day my lims, by night my mind,
For thee, and for my selfe, noe quiet finde.
Wording differences between the text and the reading are noted with a superscript: