Original Text

Modern Text

My love is strengthened, though more weak in seeming;
I love not less, though less the show appear.
That love is merchandised whose rich esteeming
The owner’s tongue doth publish everywhere.
Our love was new, and then but in the spring,
When I was wont to greet it with my lays,
As Philomel in summer’s front doth sing,
And stops his pipe in growth of riper days.
Not that the summer is less pleasant now
Than when her mournful hymns did hush the night,
But that wild music burthens every bough,
And sweets grown common lose their dear delight.
  Therefore, like her, I sometime hold my tongue,
  Because I would not dull you with my song.
My love is stronger, though it seems weaker. I don’t love less, but I show my love less. When a person broadcasts how he loves and how richly he esteems the person he loves, he turns his love into a commodity. Our love was still new when I used to write poems about it, just as the nightingale sings at the beginning of summer, then stops singing as the summer progresses. It’s not that summer is less pleasant now than the nights when the nightingale sang. It’s just that every tree branch is filled with songbirds, and when things are common they’re less delightful. Therefore, like the nightingale, sometimes I keep silent because I don’t want to bore you with my song.

Popular pages: Shakespeare’s Sonnets