Reading of Sonnet 3
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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
Look in thy glass, and tell the face thou viewest
Now is the time that face should form another;
Whose fresh repair if now thou not renewest,
Thou dost beguile the world, unbless some mother.
For where is she so fair whose uneared womb
Disdains the tillage of thy husbandry?
Or who is he so fond will be the tomb
Of his self-love, to stop posterity?
Thou art thy mother’s glass, and she in thee
Calls back the lovely April of her prime:
So thou through windows of thine age shall see,
Despite of wrinkles this thy golden time.
But if thou live remembered not to be,
Die single, and thine image dies with thee.
Simplified Modern English Translation
Look in the mirror and tell the face you see
now is the time that face should form another,
whose failure to reproduce, if you do not get married
would hurt the whole world in general, but specifically a hopeful wife.
For what virgin woman is so beautiful
that she would turn you down?
Or what kind of man is so in love with his own self
that he would end his family’s line with his generation?
You are a perfect replica of your beautiful mother and she,
by looking at you, remembers her own former beauty.
In the same way, you, looking through the eyes of old age,
will be able to see your own youthful image in your child, despite your wrinkles.
But if you want to be forgotten forever,
die single, and your beauty will be buried with you.
Text from Original 1609 Quarto
Transcription courtesy of University of Virginia Library:
Looke in thy glasse and tell the face thou vewest,
Now is the time that face should forme an other,
Whose fresh repaire if now thou not renewest,
Thou doo’st beguile the world, vnblesse some mother.
For where is she so faire whose vn-eard wombe
Disdaines the tillage of thy husbandry?
Or who is he so fond will be the tombe,
Of his selfe loue to stop posterity?
Thou art thy mothers glasse and she in thee
Calls backe the louely Aprill of her prime,
So thou through windowes of thine age shalt see,
Dispight of wrinkles this thy goulden time.
But if thou liue remembred not to be,
Die single and thine Image dies with thee.