Original Text

Modern Text

Cupid laid by his brand and fell asleep.
A maid of Dian’s this advantage found,
And his love-kindling fire did quickly steep
In a cold valley-fountain of that ground,
Which borrowed from this holy fire of love
A dateless lively heat, still to endure,
And grew a seething bath, which yet men prove
Against strange maladies a sovereign cure.
But at my mistress' eye love’s brand new fired,
The boy for trial needs would touch my breast;
I, sick withal, the help of bath desired,
And thither hied, a sad distempered guest,
  But found no cure; the bath for my help lies
  Where Cupid got new fire—my mistress' eye.
Cupid put down his torch and fell asleep. One of the nymphs who serve


Diana is the goddess of chastity and virginity, so the nymphs devoted to her are opposed to Cupid and erotic love, represented by his torch.

took advantage of this situation and quickly plunged Cupid’s love-inducing flame in a nearby cold spring, which thus acquired a never-ending heat and became a bubbling hot bath that men still use to cure diseases. But at a glance from my mistress, Cupid’s torch fired up again, and Cupid decided to test whether his torch was working by touching my heart with it. I became

sick with love

Sonnets 153 and 154 are full of double entendres of sexual intercourse followed by venereal disease.

sick with love
and wanted the bath to ease my discomfort. I went to the spring as a sad, sick guest but found no cure. The only thing that could help me is the thing that gave Cupid his new fire: a glance from my mistress’s eye.

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