Reading of Sonnet 64
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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
When I have seen by Time’s fell hand defaced
The rich proud cost of outworn buried age;
When sometime lofty towers I see down-razed
And brass eternal slave to mortal rage;
When I have seen the hungry ocean gain
Advantage on the kingdom of the shore,
And the firm soil win of the watery main,
Increasing store with loss and loss with store;
When I have seen such interchange of state,
Or state itself confounded to decay;
Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate,
That Time will come and take my love away.
This thought is as a death, which cannot choose
But weep to have that which it fears to lose.
Simplified Modern English Translation
When I have seen by Time’s merciless hand defaced
the magnificent costly creations of antiquity;
when formerly towering monuments I see crumbled to the ground
and supposedly indestructible brass prey to Time’s destructive power;
when I have seen the mighty ocean creep
onto the kingdom of the shore,
and the shore reclaim the land back again from the receding ocean,
with both sea and land alternating between gains and losses;
when I have seen such interchange of state,
or majestic state itself destroyed entirely,
ruin has taught me thus to ruminate,
that Time will come and take my love away.
This thought is like a death, which cannot help
but weep at having that which it fears to lose.
Text from Original 1609 Quarto
Transcription courtesy of University of Virginia Library:
When I haue seene by times fell hand defaced
The rich proud cost of outworne buried age,
When sometime loftie towers I see downe rased,
And brasse eternall slaue to mortall rage.
When I haue seene the hungry Ocean gaine
Aduantage on the Kingdome of the shoare,
And the firme soile win of the watry maine,
Increasing store with losse, and losse with store.
When I haue seene such interchange of state,
Or state it selfe confounded, to decay,
Ruine hath taught me thus to ruminate
That Time will come and take my loue away.
This thought is as a death which cannot choose
But weepe to haue, that which it feares to loose.