To me, fair friend, you never can be old,
For as you were when first your eye I eyed,
Such seems your beauty still. Three winters cold
Have from the forests shook three summers' pride;
Three beauteous springs to yellow autumn turned
In process of the seasons have I seen;
Three April pérfumes in three hot Junes burned,
Since first I saw you fresh, which yet are green.
Ah yet doth beauty, like a dial hand,
Steal from his figure, and no pace perceived;
So your sweet hue, which methinks still doth stand,
Hath motion, and mine eye may be deceived.
For fear of which, hear this, thou age unbred:
Ere you were born was beauty’s summer dead.
You’ll never be old to me, beautiful friend, for your beauty seems just the same as it was when I first saw your lovely eyes. Since then, three cold winters have stripped the leaves off three proud summers; three beautiful springs have turned to three yellow autumns, all in the course of the seasons. Three Aprils, full of perfumed flowers, have all burned up into three hot Junes since the first day I saw you in your freshness—and you’re still fresh and green. Ah, but beauty, like the hand of a clock, creeps away from the person it’s attached to so slowly no one can see it. In the same way, your sweet beauty, which seems to be standing still, is actually changing, and my eye may be deceived. In case it is, hear this, future generations: Before you were born, the greatest example of beauty was already dead.