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Against my love shall be as I am now,
With time’s injurious hand crushed and o'erworn;
When hours have drained his blood and filled his brow
With lines and wrinkles; when his youthful morn
Hath traveled on to age’s steepy night,
And all those beauties whereof now he’s king
Are vanishing or vanished out of sight,
Stealing away the treasure of his spring;
For such a time do I now fortify
Against confounding age’s cruel knife,
That he shall never cut from memory
My sweet love’s beauty, though my lover’s life.
  His beauty shall in these black lines be seen,
  And they shall live, and he in them still green.
In anticipation of the time when my love shall be as I am now, crushed and worn out by time’s damaging hand; when time has sapped his vigor and filled his forehead with wrinkles; when his youthful morning has moved on to the difficult night of old age, and all of those forms of beauty that he now possesses are disappearing, or already gone, robbing him of the treasures of his youth—in anticipation of that time, I’m now defending myself against the cruel knife of time, ensuring that he never cuts from my memory the beauty of my sweet love, even if he takes my lover’s life. My lover’s beauty will remain visible in these black lines of poetry, and these lines shall survive, and he will live on in them, still young.

Popular pages: Shakespeare’s Sonnets