lunes, 9 de marzo de 2015

Sonnet CXXVIII (128)


How oft, when thou, my music, music play'st,

Upon that blessed wood whose motion sounds
With thy sweet fingers, when thou gently sway'st
The wiry concord that mine ear confounds,
Do I envy those jacks that nimble leap
To kiss the tender inward of thy hand,
Whilst my poor lips, which should that harvest reap,
At the wood's boldness by thee blushing stand!
To be so tickled, they would change their state
And situation with those dancing chips,
O'er whom thy fingers walk with gentle gait,
Making dead wood more blest than living lips.
   Since saucy jacks so happy are in this,
   Give them thy fingers, me thy lips to kiss.

Soneto de amor CXXVIII (128)

Cuando pulsas, mi música, el teclado 
Con la danza aleteante de tus dedos 
Y le arrancas con grácil movimiento 
Acordes que seducen mis oídos, 
Envidio a los listones que dan brincos 
Por besarte la palma de la mano, 
Y la audacia de la madera inerte 
A mis tímidos labios ruboriza. 
Por esa sensación se trocarían 
En las teclas que rozas con dulzura, 
Dando airosamente al leño muerto 
Lo que a labios vivientes has negado. 
Si tus dedos los hacen tan dichosos, 
Dáselos, y a mí dame tus labios. 

miércoles, 4 de marzo de 2015

Sonnet CXXVII (127)

In the old age black was not counted fair,
Or if it were, it bore not beauty's name;
But now is black beauty's successive heir,
And beauty slander'd with a bastard shame:
For since each hand hath put on nature's power,
Fairing the foul with art's false borrow'd face,
Sweet beauty hath no name, no holy bower,
But is profan'd, if not lives in disgrace.
Therefore my mistress' brows are raven black,
Her eyes so suited; and they mourners seem
At such who, not born fair, no beauty lack,
Slandering creation with a false esteem:
   Yet so they mourn, becoming of their woe,
   That every tongue says, beauty should look so.


3. Beauty's successive heir. Has gained the esteem formerly devoted to beauty. The "successive heir" is the heir who succeeds, and obtains the inheritance. 

4. And beauty slander'd with a bastard shame. The "bastard shame" is the product of art. Beauty and Nature are slandered by the artificial asserting in effect that Art is better than Nature. 

5. Hath put on Nature's power. It being Nature's prerogative to give beauty. 

7. Natural beauty has no exclusive name, no sanctuary all her own. Q., "no holy boure." 

10. Suited. The sense of "clothed" which has been given to the word here is questionable. 

12. Slandering creation, &c. See on line 4. 

Soneto de amor CXXVII (127)

Antaño la negrura no era hermosa, 
O si lo era, no le decían bella, 
Más lo negro hoy sucede a la belleza, 
Con bastardas afrentas difamada. 
Pues como todos el poder se arrogan 
De velar la fealdad con artes falsas, 
La belleza perdió el sagrado nombre 
Y vive, profanada, en la ignominia. 
Negro es pues el cabello de mi amada, 
Y negros como cuervos son sus ojos, 
Enlutados porque esos artificios 
Con falsedad difaman lo creado. 
Y tanto los endiosa el negro luto 
Que hoy se dice que la belleza es negra.  

Sonnet CXXVI (126)

O thou, my lovely boy, who in thy power
Dost hold Time's fickle glass, his sickle, hour;
Who hast by waning grown, and therein show'st
Thy lovers withering as thy sweet self grow'st;
If Nature, sovereign mistress over wrack,
As thou goest onwards, still will pluck thee back,
She keeps thee to this purpose, that her skill
May time disgrace and wretched minutes kill.
Yet fear her, O thou minion of her pleasure;
She may detain, but not still keep, her treasure:
   Her audit, though delay'd, answer'd must be,
   And her quietus is to render thee. 


1. My lovely boy. It appears thus implied that Mr. W. H. is still a youth. 

2. Time's fickle glass. Time's ever-shifting and changing hour-glass. His sickle hour. His hour which, like a sickle, cuts off all things beautiful. There is, of course, an allusion to the scythe or sickle with which the figure of Time is represented as armed. 

3. Who hast by waning grown. Whose change with the advance of time has been a growth in beauty. 

4. Thy lovers withering. As men commonly decay with advancing age. 

5. Wrack. Decay. 

6. Pluck thee back. Pull and keep thee back, so as to be still in youthful beauty. 

8. May Time disgrace. His agency being thwarted, and his efforts rendered ineffectual.Wretched minutes kill. The "minutes" are killed or annihilated, as leaving behind them no trace of their existence. 

9. Yet fear her. Do not place assured confidence in her, that is, in Nature. 

10. Not still keep. Not keep continually. 

11. She must render her account at last. 

12. Quietus has been taken as a technical legal term, implying an acquittance or discharge of obligation. As this Sonnet has twelve lines only, the printer of the Quarto seems to have thought that two lines were lacking, and accordingly placed at the end marks of parenthesis thus:

Soneto de amor CXXVI (126)

Oh joven adorable, has detenido 
las horas el espejo, la hoz del Tiempo, 
Y creciendo embelleces, más lozano 
Cuanto más se marchitan tus amantes. 
Si Natura, señora de la ruina, 
Te retiene aunque sigas avanzando 
Una meta persigue: que tu ingenio 
Agravie al Tiempo, mate los minutos. 
Mas témele, aunque seas su dilecto, 
Pues no guardará siempre su tesoro. 
Aun morosa, tendrá que rendir cuentas 
Y solo tú podrás saldar la deuda. 

Sonnet CXXV (125)

Were't aught to me I bore the canopy,
With my extern the outward honouring,
Or laid great bases for eternity,
Which proves more short than waste or ruining;
Have I not seen dwellers on form and favour
Lose all, and more, by paying too much rent,
For compound sweet forgoing simple savour,
Pitiful thrivers, in their gazing spent?
No; -- let me be obsequious in thy heart,
And take thou my oblation, poor but free,
Which is not mix'd with seconds, knows no art,
But mutual render, only me for thee.
   Hence, thou suborn'd informer! a true soul,
   When most impeach'd, stands least in thy control. 


1. Were't aught to me. As if to say, "If it were necessary for me to defend my conduct." 

1-4. It is natural to regard as figurative the "bearing the canopy." Such must be the case with the "laying great bases for eternity;" and taking the last lines of the preceding Sonnet as referring to Essex and his companions, it is not unreasonable to suppose that there is here an allusion to Shakespeare's relations with Southampton. We may thus conclude that the poet asserts his relation to that nobleman to have been a "bearing the canopy," an "outward honouring," a "gazing" on his "extern," and that he had never been admitted to close and intimate friendship. The charge of fickleness and falsity of heart is thus answered. 
3. Or laid great bases, &c. There is probably still some thought of a pyramid in the poet's mind. The reference is probably to the Dedication to the Lucrece, "The love I dedicate to your Lordship is without end," &c. But there may be allusion also to the Venus and Adonis

4. Proves. So Q. Notice that it is the anticipated "eternity" which "proves more short" than ruin and destruction. 

5, 6. Persons admitted only to external relations, however sedulous in their attentions, may lose not only seeming affection, but incur still further mischiefs. 

7. The compound sweet alludes to external relations and formal etiquette; the "simple savour" to close intimacy and heartfelt love. 

8. Pitiful thrivers, even when successful. 

9. In thy heart. Not "to thy heart," which would have been more distant. Schmidt explains "obsequious" by zealous, officious, devoted. 

10. Take thou my oblation, as represented by these Sonnets. 

11. Which is not mix'd with seconds. Which is all as of the finest, best flour, in accordance perhaps with "oblation." 

12. But mutual render, only me for thee. Alluding probably to the fiction of an exchange of hearts (xxii., xxiv.); so that the manifestation of love which the friend might show came from the poet's heart in the friend's breast, and vice versa. 

13. Hence, thou suborn'd informer. With reference probably to the person or persons who had brought charges against the poet. 

14. Stands least in thy control. Such impeachment causing its love to be stronger, and its constancy more assured. 

Soneto de amor CXXV (125)

¿Por qué tu pabellón sustentaría, 
Lo exterior celebrando externamente, 
O echaría cimientos sempiternos 
Que serán pronto ruinas y despojos? 
¿No he visto a quienes aman la apariencia 
Perderlo todo y más despilfarrando 
Por gustar de sabores azarosos 
En ávidas miradas consumidos? 
Prefiero que en el pecho me recibas 
Y aceptes mi oblación, si humilde franca, 
Harina pura y sin más artificios 
Que un recíproco don, la entrega mutua. 
¡Fuera, intrigante! Cuanto más acuses 
A un alma leal, menos la dañas.  

Sonnet CXXIV (124)

If my dear love were but the child of state,
It might for Fortune's bastard be unfather'd
As subject to Time's love or to Time's hate,
Weeds among weeds, or flowers with flowers gather'd.
No; it was builded far from accident;
It suffers not in smiling pomp, nor falls
Under the blow of thralled discontent,
Whereto the inviting time our fashion calls:
It fears not policy, that heretick, 
Which works on leases of short-number'd hours,
But all alone stands hugely politick, 
That it nor grows with heat nor drowns with showers.
   To this I witness call the fools of time,
   Which die for goodness, who have liv'd for crime. 


1, 2. If my love were the child of state, it might have yielded up its position in relation to the state to whatever Fortune, in her endless changes, might produce. 

3. As subject to Time's love or to Time's hate. That is, as being the "fool of Time" (line 13). 

4. To be cut down by the scythe of Time at his pleasure, and accordingly, as hated or loved, to lie a weed among weeds, or a flower among flowers. 

5. No; it was builded, &c. Reverting probably to the pyramid spoken of in the last Sonnet. 

6. Smiling pomp. Notice that the idea of "state" is still kept in view. 

7. Under the blow of thralled discontent. Alluding pretty evidently to the discontent existing after the death of Essex. The discontent was "thralled," as being kept down and held in subjection. 

8. The custom and usage of our time invites to such discontent. 

9. That heretick. As seeking separately its own interests. 

11, 12. But all alone, &c. Here again we have the pyramid of the last Sonnet. Politick seems here equivalent to self-sufficing, desiring no increase or extension, and fearing no enemies, like a well-ordered city or state. Cf. Much Ado, Act v. sc. 2, lines 63, 64, "So politic a state of evil that they will not admit any good part to intermingle with them." 

13, 14. The fools of Time, &c. Those whom Time does what he likes with. They "die for goodness," alluding to the popular repute of Essex as the "good Earl," notwithstanding the "crimes" for which he and certain of his companions were executed. Cf. cxvi. 9. 

Soneto de amor CXXIV (124)

Si mi amor naciera de ambiciones 
Sería cual bastardo de fortuna, 
Al Tiempo y sus mudanzas sometido, 
Flor o vil maleza a conveniencia 
Mas no es fruto vano y azaroso 
Tentado por los fastos sonrientes, 
Ni es víctima del mudo descontento 
Al que invitan las modas pasajeras. 
No teme a la política, esa hereje, 
Que aprovecha afanosa horas contadas, 
Sirve en cambio a un íntegro gobierno 
Al que soles o lluvias no varían. 
Los bufones del Tiempo sean testigos, 
Que si mueren por bien, por mal vivieron.