by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

The fixèd figure for the time of scorn
To point his slow and moving finger at!
Yet could I bear that too, well, very well.
But there where I have garnered up my heart,
60Where either I must live or bear no life,
The fountain from the which my current runs
Or else dries up—to be discarded thence!
Or keep it as a cistern for foul toads
To knot and gender in! Turn thy complexion there,
65Patience, thou young and rose-lipped cherubin,—
Ay, there, look grim as hell!
be like the fountain that my children and all my descendants flow from, has rejected me! Worse than that, she’s polluted herself, so that the fountain is a place where disgusting toads copulate and reproduce! Even the goddess of patience couldn’t look at this and be patient—it’s too horrifying!
I hope my noble lord esteems me honest.
I hope you think I’m faithful to you.
Oh, ay, as summer flies are in the shambles,
That quicken even with blowing. O thou weed,
70Who art so lovely fair and smell’st so sweet
That the sense aches at thee, would thou hadst ne'er been born!
As faithful as flies in rotting meat, which give birth to maggots every time the wind blows. You’re like a weed pretending to be a flower, so beautiful and sweet-smelling that I ache when I look at you. Oh, I wish you’d never been born!
Alas, what ignorant sin have I committed?
Have I done something to offend you without knowing it?
Was this fair paper, this most goodly book,
Made to write “whore” upon? What committed?
75Committed? O thou public commoner!
I should make very forges of my cheeks
That would to cinders burn up modesty
Did I but speak thy deeds. What committed?
Heaven stops the nose at it and the moon winks,
80The bawdy wind that kisses all it meets
Is hushed within the hollow mine of earth
And will not hear ’t. What committed!
Impudent strumpet!
Was someone as beautiful as you meant to be a whore? What have you done? What have you done? Oh, you streetwalker! If I said out loud what you’ve done, you’d burn up with shame. What have you done? Heaven has to hold its nose when it sees you! The pure moon in the sky has to shut its eyes when you go by! Even the wind that blows over everything on earth is ashamed to visit you. You brazen whore!
By heaven, you do me wrong!
I swear to God you’re accusing me wrongly!