Original Text

Modern Text

Look in thy glass and tell the face thou viewest,
Now is the time that face should form another,
Whose fresh repair if now thou not renewest,
Thou dost beguile the world, unbless some mother.
For where is she so fair whose uneared womb
Disdains the tillage of thy husbandry?
Or who is he so fond will be the tomb
Of his self-love, to stop posterity?
Thou art thy mother’s glass, and she in thee
Calls back the lovely April of her prime;
So thou through windows of thine age shalt see,
Despite of wrinkles, this thy golden time.
  But if thou live remembered not to be,
  Die single and thine image dies with thee.
Look in your mirror and tell the face you see that it’s time to father a child. Your face is fresh and healthy now, but if you don’t reproduce it, you’ll be cheating the world and cursing a woman who would happily be your child’s mother. After all, do you think there’s a woman out there so beautiful that she’d refuse to have your child? And what man would be so foolish as to allow his own self-absorption to stop himself from fathering children? You are like a mirror to your own mother, and when she looks at you she can gaze back at the lovely springtime of her youth. In the same way, when you are old and wrinkled, you’ll be able to look at your child and see yourself in your prime. But if you choose not to have a child to remember you, you’ll die alone and leave no memory of your own image.

Popular pages: Shakespeare’s Sonnets