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SHAKESPEARE, William


Sonnet 12

When I do count the clock that tells the time,
And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;
When I behold the violet past prime,
And sable curls all silver'd o'er with white;

When lofty trees I see barren of leaves
Which erst from heat did canopy the herd,
And summer's green all girded up in sheaves
Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard,

Then of thy beauty do I question make,
That thou among the wastes of time must go,
Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake
And die as fast as they see others grow;

   And nothing 'gainst Time's scythe can make defence
   Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence.


Sonnet 18

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate.

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimmed;

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,

Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,

When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st.

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.


Sonnet 29

When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,

Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featur'd like him, like him with friends possess'd,
Desiring this man's art and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;

Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;

For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.


Sonnet 66

Tired with all these, for restful death I cry,

As to behold desert a beggar born,

And needy nothing trimm’d in jollity,

And purest faith unhappily forsworn,

And gilded honour shamefully misplac’d,

And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted,

And right perfection wrongfully disgrac’d,

And strength by limping sway disabled

And art made tongue-tied by authority,

And folly—doctor-like—controlling skill,

And simple truth miscall’d simplicity,

And captive good attending captain ill:

Tir’d with all these, from these would I be gone,

Save that, to die, I leave my love alone.



Sonnet 73

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.

In me thou see’st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west;
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.

In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire,
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire,
Consum’d with that which it was nourish’d by.

This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long


Sonnet 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:

O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.

Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

   If this be error and upon me proved,
   I never writ, nor no man ever loved.


Sonnet 119


What potions have I drunk of Siren tears,

Distilled from limbecks foul as hell within,

Applying fears to hopes, and hopes to fears,

Still losing when I saw myself to win!

What wretched errors hath my heart committed,

Whilst it hath thought itself so blessed never!

How have mine eyes out of their spheres been fitted,

In the distraction of this madding fever!

O benefit of ill! now I find true

That better is by evil still made better;

And ruined love, when it is built anew,

Grows fairer than at first, more strong, far greater.

So I return rebuked to my content,

And gain by ills thrice more than I have spent.


Sonnet 121

'Tis better to be vile than vile esteemed,

When not to be receives reproach of being,

And the just pleasure lost which is so deemed

Not by our feeling but by others' seeing.

For why should others' false adulterate eyes

Give salutation to my sportive blood?

Or on my frailties why are frailer spies,

Which in their wills count bad what I think good?

No, I am that I am, and they that level

At my abuses reckon up their own;

I may be straight, though they themselves be bevel.
By their rank thoughts my deeds must not be shown,

  Unless this general evil they maintain:

  All men are bad, and in their badness reign.



SONNET 130

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;

Coral is far more red than her lips' red;

If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;

If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

I have seen roses damask'd, red and white,

But no such roses see I in her cheeks;

And in some perfumes is there more delight

Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.


I love to hear her speak, yet well I know

That music hath a far more pleasing sound;

I grant I never saw a goddess go;

My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:


And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare

As any she belied with false compare.




De zon schijnt heel wat feller dan haar ogen.

Ze heeft, vrees ik, haar lippen nooit met rood gestift.

Mijn blik wordt naar haar borsten niet gezogen.

Ik raak ook van haar haren niet op drift.

Ik heb haar wangen zelden mooi zien blozen,

Haar nooit gezegd dat zij zo lekker ruikt.

Haar lichaamsgeur is niet bepaald als rozen.

Ik denk dat zij parfum niet eens gebruikt.

Wanneer ze praat, dat lijkt nog niet op zingen,

Vooral niet op mijn lievelingsmuziek.

En als zij loopt, krijg ik geen tintelingen.

Haar gang is boers, niet goddelijk of chique.

Maar toch, ze vindt in niemand haar gelijke

Als ik, verliefd, mijn lief zit aan te kijken.

Vertaling Hans MANDERS