Original Text

Modern Text

From you have I been absent in the spring,
When proud-pied April, dressed in all his trim,
Hath put a spirit of youth in everything,
That heavy Saturn laughed and leapt with him.
Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell
Of different flow'rs in odor and in hue,
Could make me any summer’s story tell,
Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew.
Nor did I wonder at the lily’s white,
Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose;
They were but sweet, but figures of delight,
Drawn after you, you pattern of all those.
  Yet seemed it winter still, and, you away,
  As with your shadow I with these did play.
I was away from you during the spring, when splendid April in all its finery made everything feel so young that even Saturn, the god of old age and gloominess, laughed and leaped along with it. But neither the songs of birds nor the sweet smell of all the various flowers could make me feel like it was summer or inspire me to go flower picking. I wasn’t amazed by how white the lily was, nor did I praise the deep red of the roses. They were only sweet, only pictures of delight, drawn in imitation of you, the archetype of spring. It seemed like it was still winter and, with you away, I played with these flowers as if I were playing with your reflection.

Popular pages: Shakespeare’s Sonnets