Reading of Sonnet 90
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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
Then hate me when thou wilt, if ever, now,
Now, while the world is bent my deeds to cross,
Join with the spite of fortune, make me bow,
And do not drop in for an afterloss.
Ah, do not, when my heart hath ‘scaped this sorrow,
Come in the rearward of a conquered woe;
Give not a windy night a rainy morrow,
To linger out a purposed overthrow.
If thou wilt leave me, do not leave me last,
When other petty griefs have done their spite,
But in the onset come; so shall I taste
At first the very worst of fortune’s might;
And other strains of woe, which now seem woe,
Compared with loss of thee will not seem so.
Simplified Modern English Translation
Hate me whenever you want, but better if you do it now,
now, while the world is resolved to thwart me,
join with fortune’s spite and take me down,
but don’t hate on me after I’ve already been wounded.
Please don’t, after I have gotten over this present sorrow,
come after me after I’ve been weakened by this attack;
follow not a windy night with a rainy morning
to linger out a deliberate overthrow.
If you are going to desert me, don’t be the last to do so,
when other petty griefs have done their injuries,
but come right at the beginning, so shall I experience
right away the full brunt of fortune’s might;
and any other woes, which now seem serious,
compared with the loss of you, will all seem minor.
Text from Original 1609 Quarto
Transcription courtesy of University of Virginia Library:
Then hate me when thou wilt, if euer, now,
Now while the world is bent my deeds to crosse,
Ioyne with the spight of fortune, make me bow.
And doe not drop in for an after losse:
Ah doe not, when my heart hath scapte this sorrow,
Come in the rereward of a conquerd woe,
Giue not a windy night a rainie morrow,
To linger out a purposd ouer-throw.
If thou wilt leaue me, do not leaue me last,
When other pettie griefes haue done their spight,
But in the onset come, so stall¹ I taste
At first the very worst of fortunes might.
And other straines of woe, which now seeme woe,
Compar’d with losse of thee, will not seeme so.
Wording differences between the text and the reading are noted with a superscript: