Original Text

Modern Text

Thus is his cheek the map of days outworn,
When beauty lived and died as flow'rs do now,
Before these bastard signs of fair were born,
Or durst inhabit on a living brow;
Before the golden tresses of the dead,
The right of sepulchers, were shorn away,
To live a second life on second head;
Ere beauty’s dead fleece made another gay.
In him those holy ántique hours are seen,
Without all ornament, itself and true,
Making no summer of another’s green,
Robbing no old to dress his beauty new;
  And him as for a map doth nature store,
  To show false art what beauty was of yore.
(Continuing from Sonnet 67) So his face is the incarnation of how things were in the old days, when beautiful people lived and died as commonly as flowers—before these illegitimate signs of beauty were created, or anyone dared to put them on a living human being. That was before the golden locks of corpses, which belong in graves, were cut off and made to live a second life on a second person’s head. It was before the hair of a beautiful corpse served to make another person happy. You can see the old-fashioned youthful beauty of his face: no wig to ornament it, the real thing in all its honesty, not borrowing someone else’s youth nor stealing from the old to look new again. Nature preserves him as a map, to show cosmetics what beauty used to be.

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