Reading of Sonnet 52
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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
So am I as the rich whose blessèd key
Can bring him to his sweet up-lockèd treasure,
The which he will not every hour survey,
For blunting the fine point of seldom pleasure.
Therefore are feasts so solemn and so rare,
Since seldom coming in the long year set,
Like stones of worth they thinly placèd are,
Or captain jewels in the carcanet.
So is the time that keeps you as my chest,
Or as the wardrobe which the robe doth hide,
To make some special instant special blessed
By new unfolding his imprisoned pride.
Blessèd are you, whose worthiness gives scope,
Being had, to triumph, being lacked, to hope.
Simplified Modern English Translation
I am like a wealthy man whose cherished key
can bring him to sweet treasure locked away in his chest,
which he won’t look at all the time,
for fear of blunting the exquisite pleasure of such a rare treat.
That is why feasts are so ceremonious and so exceptional,
since they seldom occur throughout the year.
Like valuable gems they are spaced out,
like principal jewels in an ornamental necklace.
Time acts in a similar way to keep you from me except at special moments,
like a room that hides a valuable garment,
which can make a special moment in time especially blessed
by newly revealing its contents that have been hidden for so long.
Blessed are you, whose worthiness allow me the rich experience
of triumphing in you presence, and the hopeful anticipation of waiting to see you.
Text from Original 1609 Quarto
Transcription courtesy of University of Virginia Library:
So am I as the rich whose blessed key,
Can bring him to his sweet vp-locked treasure,
The which he will not eu’ry hower suruay,
For blunting the fine point of seldome pleasure.
Therefore are feasts so sollemne and so rare,
Since sildom comming in the long yeare set,
Like stones of worth they thinly placed are,
Or captaine Iewells in the carconet.
So is the time that keepes you as my chest,
Or as the ward-robe which the robe doth hide,
To make some speciall instant speciall blest,
By new vnfoulding his imprison’d pride.
Blessed are you whose worthinesse giues skope,
Being had to tryumph, being lackt to hope.