William Shakespeare








1     When I consider everything that grows
2     Holds in perfection but a little moment,
3     That this huge stage presenteth nought but shows
4     Whereon the stars in secret influence comment;
5     When I perceive that men as plants increase,
6     Cheered and check'd even by the selfsame sky,
7     Vaunt in their youthful sap, at height decrease,
8     And wear their brave state out of memory;
9     Then the conceit of this inconstant stay
10   Sets you most rich in youth before my sight,
11   Where wasteful Time debateth with Decay
12   To change your day of youth to sullied night;
13   And all in war with Time for love of you,
14   As he takes from you, I engraft you new.


sonnet: ababcdcdefefgg


Shakespeare's 154 sonnets were first published in 1609 by Thomas Thorpe in an unauthorized edition. They are there dedicated to a mysterious Mr. W. H., whom some critics have identified with Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton, others with William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke. Many other possibilities have been suggested. Most of the sonnets were probably written before 1598, for in that year Francis Meres refers in Palladis Tamia to Shakespeare's "sugred Sonnets among his private friends." More precise dating is not possible though the literature on the subject is vast. The numbering of the sonnets here follows that of Thorpe and of modern standard editions. Thorpe's order is clearly wrong, but no agreement has been reached as to their correct order. Of the 154 sonnets, 126 are addressed to the friend, a young aristocrat, and 26 deal with the poet's love for a dark lady, who is also the friend's mistress. Friendship wins out. The two final sonnets are not part of the story but are adaptations of verses by the Byzantine poet Marianus. Among the best modern editions are those by H. E. Rollins in the New Variorium Shakespeare (1944).


conceit: thought.


Where ... Decay: where destructive Time fights in alliance with Decay.



Se considero tudo quanto cresce

E a perfeição atinge um só momento,

Que cada cena que este palco oferece

Dos astros tem secreto assentimento;

Que cada homem medra como planta

P’lo mesmo céu amado e repelido,

Na seiva juvenil se agiganta,

E do cume declina, em breve olvido:

A ideia deste estado sempre vário

Traz-te a meus olhos, rico em juventude

Em quanto à ruína o templo perdulário

Disputa que o teu dia em noite mude:

Co’o tempo em guerra por amor de ti,

O que el’ te rouba, eu reenxerto aqui.


































1     Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
2     Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
3     Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
4     And summer's lease hath all too short a date.
5     Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
6     And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
7     And every fair from fair sometime declines,
8     By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
9     But thy eternal summer shall not fade
10   Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
11   Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
12   When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st:
13   So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
14   So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.


sonnet: ababcdcdefefgg


date: duration, period.


fair: beauty.


untrimm'd: stripped of its ornament.


ow'st: "own'st," possessest.



A um dia estivo te hei-de comparar?

És mais formosa tu, mais delicada!

Pode os botões de Maio fustigar

Um vento e dura o Estio quase nada.

O olho do céu até ao rubro aquece

Ou é a sua tez dourada obscurecida

E no belo a beleza desvanece

P’lo acaso ou curso natural despida.

O teu Verão, porém, perdurará,

Não perderás jamais o teu encanto

Nem de lhe errares a sombra troçará

A morte, o tempo venças no meu canto.

Enquanto homem respire ou possa ver  

Vivos, meus versos far-te-ão viver.








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,
Featured 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.



Quando, de mal co’os homens e a Fortuna,  

Sozinho choro o meu banido estado

E o surdo céu meu queixume importuna

E olho p’ra mim e amaldiçoo o fado,

Um outro, mais audaz, sonhando ser,

E ter dele os amigos e o jeito,

Doutros querendo a arte ou o poder,

Com o que mais me agrada contrafeito,

Se então, a mim quase me desprezando,

Por f’liz acaso penso em ti, todo eu,

Como a calhandra da manhã, cantando,

Da terra escura ascendo até ao céu.

Tem teu amor lembrado tal valia

Que nem com reis de estado trocaria.





1     Like as the waves make towards the pebbl'd shore,
2     So do our minutes hasten to their end;
3     Each changing place with that which goes before,
4     In sequent toil all forwards do contend.
5     Nativity, once in the main of light,
6     Crawls to maturity, wherewith being crown'd,
7     Crooked eclipses 'gainst his glory fight,
8     And Time that gave doth now his gift confound.
9     Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth
10   And delves the parallels in beauty's brow,
11   Feeds on the rarities of nature's truth,
12   And nothing stands but for his scythe to mow:
13   And yet to times in hope my verse shall stand,
14   Praising thy worth, despite his cruel hand.

sonnet: ababcdcdefefgg
Like as ... contend: from Ovid, Metamorphoses, XV, 180-84.
Main of light: main body of light, world of light.
Crooked: malignant.
flourish: embellishment.
rarities of nature's truth: outstanding examples of nature's creative power; literally of nature's conformity to her own best standard. Cf. The Phoenix and Turtle, line 53.
in hope: to come.



Quais ondas aos calhaus da praia dando,  

Nossos minutos para o fim se apressam;

O que o precede, todos relegando,

Em luta, p’ra diante se arremessam.

Ao mundo dados, p’rá maturidade

Nos arrastamos; coroados dela,

Barram-lhe eclipses ruins a majestade

E o Tempo a própria dádiva atropela.

Gela o tempo o fulgor da juventude,

De sulcos enche a fronte da beleza,

Sustenta-se do que acha a plenitude,

Tudo o que existe a sua foice preza.

Cantando-te meus versos ficarão

Porém, malgrado a sua crua mão.












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 seest 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
Consumed with that which it was nourish'd by.
This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.



Por que é tão nu meu verso de ornamento,

Tão alheio a mudanças, variações?

Por que das modas vou tão desatento,

Nos usos, singulares combinações?

Por que um só tema tenho na ideia,

E dou à invenção velha roupagem,

Onde cada palavra me nomeia,

Mostrando o nascimento e a linhagem?

Saiba-lo amor: só sobre ti escrevo,

És-me tu, e o amor, motivo infindo:

E é remoçar palavras meu enlevo,

O que está gasto ainda consumindo;

Como o sol novo e velho é cada dia

Assim do amor eu digo o que dizia.




Farewell! thou art too dear for my possessing,
And like enough thou know'st thy estimate:
The charter of thy worth gives thee releasing;
My bonds in thee are all determinate.
For how do I hold thee but by thy granting?
And for that riches where is my deserving?
The cause of this fair gift in me is wanting,
And so my patent back again is swerving.
Thyself thou gavest, thy own worth then not knowing,
Or me, to whom thou gavest it, else mistaking;
So thy great gift, upon misprision growing,
Comes home again, on better judgment making.
Thus have I had thee, as a dream doth flatter,
In sleep a king, but waking no such matter.



Adeus, demais a tua posse pesa

E teu valor de ti é conhecido.

Liberta-te tua carta de nobreza;

Meu vínculo a ti eis dissolvido.

Não é eu ter-te tua concessão?

Mereço porventura tanto bem?

Motivo me faltando p’ra tal dom

O meu direito pois a ti revém.

Foi teu valor ao dares-te descurado,

Quem sabe se por outro me tomando;

Teu dom, pois, no engano alimentado,

A casa torna, hoje melhor julgando.

Num sonho adulador tive-te assim:

Dormindo, rei; eu só, voltando a mim.






1     They that have power to hurt and will do none,
2     That do not do the thing they most do show,
3     Who, moving others, are themselves as stone,
4     Unmoved, cold, and to temptation slow:
5     They rightly do inherit heaven's graces
6     And husband nature's riches from expense;
7     They are the lords and owners of their faces,
8     Others but stewards of their excellence.
9     The summer's flower is to the summer sweet
10   Though to itself it only live and die,
11   But if that flower with base infection meet,
12   The basest weed outbraves his dignity:
13   For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds;
14   Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.


sonnet: ababcdcdefefgg


expense: waste.


ies ... weeds. This also occurs in the anonymous play (probably by Shakespeare), Edward III, II, i, 451.


Os que, podendo f’rir, disso abdicam,

Que ao agir retêm seus intentos,

E que de pedra, outros movendo, ficam,

Perante a tentação contidos, lentos –

Dos céus herdam deveras os favores,

A natureza usando com prudência;

São da sua face donos e senhores,

Os outros, servos de sua excelência.

De olor, enche o Verão a flor estiva

Que apenas vive e morre, em si tomada;

Porém, a vil contágio, receptiva,

P’la erva mais ruim é suplantada.

Acto venal o que é nobre envilece,

Pior que erva má é lírio que apodrece.






O, never say that I was false of heart,
Though absence seem'd my flame to qualify.
As easy might I from myself depart
As from my soul, which in thy breast doth lie:
That is my home of love: if I have ranged,
Like him that travels I return again,
Just to the time, not with the time exchanged,
So that myself bring water for my stain.
Never believe, though in my nature reign'd
All frailties that besiege all kinds of blood,
That it could so preposterously be stain'd,
To leave for nothing all thy sum of good;
For nothing this wide universe I call,
Save thou, my rose; in it thou art my all.





Se a chama declinar parecia, ausente,

Meu coração, ah, falso nunca digas.

De mim partira eu tão facilmente

Como da alma, qu’em teu seio abrigas;

Lá vive o meu amor. Se hei vagueado

Como o viajante, a casa regressando

A tempo, pelo tempo, inalterado,

A minha mancha eu próprio vou lavando.

Não creias nunca, mesmo que reinasse

Em mim toda a fraqueza que entretém

O sangue que, insensato, me manchasse

Dando por nada a soma do teu bem.

No vasto mundo nada mais saúdo

Salvo tu, rosa minha; nele, és tudo!






'Tis better to be vile than vile esteem'd,
When not to be receives reproach of being,
And the just pleasure lost which is so deem'd
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.




Antes ser vil do que por vil havido

Quando o não ser de sê-lo é censurado

E o são prazer se perde, envilecido,

P’lo que sentimos não, no olhar sesgado.

Por que há-de um outro falso olhar venal

Cumpliciar com o meu sangue ardente?

Ou na fraqueza, espião que menos vale,

Turvar, maldoso, o bem da minha mente?

Eu sou quem sou, e esses que me arquivam  

Os erros os seus próprios apuram.

Seja eu recto, que de través vivam,

Seus pensares vis meus actos não figuram –

A menos que este mal seja verdade:

Ruins, os homens reinam na maldade.









1     Th' expense of spirit in a waste of shame
2     Is lust in action; and till action, lust
3     Is perjur'd, murd'rous, bloody, full of blame,
4     Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust;
5     Enjoy'd no sooner but despised straight;
6     Past reason hunted; and, no sooner had,
7     Past reason hated, as a swallow'd bait,
8     On purpose laid to make the taker mad:
9     Mad in pursuit, and in possession so;
10   Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;
11   A bliss in proof, and prov'd, a very woe;
12   Before, a joy propos'd; behind, a dream.
13   All this the world well knows; yet none knows well
14   To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.



sonnet: ababcdcdefefgg



Th' expense ... action. The meaning will appear clearly if lust in action is regarded as the subject. Note the pun on "waste"/"waist."

expense: expenditure.





Do espírito estroinice desonrosa

É a luxúria agindo, até à acção

Perjura, sanguinária, culposa,

Selvagem, crua, afoita na traição;

E apenas fruída, desprezada,

Num desvario perseguida e, tida,

Num desvario como isca odiada

P’ra enlouquecer a presa concebida;

Buscando louca, ao possuir revel

Extrema no que teve, tem e caça;

Um deleite ao provar, provada, fel;

Gozo, antevista; sonho, assim que passa.  

Sabe isto o mundo, mas consegue alguém

‘Squivar o céu que inferno tal devém?



















1     My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
2     Coral is far more red than her lips' red:
3     If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
4     If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
5     I have seen roses damask'd, red and white,
6     But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
7     And in some perfumes is there more delight
8     Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
9     I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
10   That music hath a far more pleasing sound.
11   I grant I never saw a goddess go:
12   My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground.
13   And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
14   As any she belied with false compare.



sonnet: ababcdcdefefgg


4. wires. Ladies' hair was often compared to golden wire in Elizabethan poetry.




Ao sol o olhar da minha amada deve;

É-lhe o coral que os lábios mais belo.

Os seios pardos tem, se é alva a neve;  

E negro arame lembra o seu cabelo.

Vermelhas, brancas, damascadas rosas,

Já vi, que não revejo ao contemplá-la.

E de essências sei mais deleitosas

Que o hálito que a minha amada exala.

Gosto de ouvir-lhe a voz, sem ignorar

Que a música ao ouvido mais apraz.

Jamais vi, juro, deusa caminhar:

Pisando o chão, a minha amada o faz.

Mas pelos céus, eu acho-a tão rara

Como as demais que, inchando, falseara.
















My love is as a fever, longing still
For that which longer nurseth the disease,
Feeding on that which doth preserve the ill,
The uncertain sickly appetite to please.
My reason, the physician to my love,
Angry that his prescriptions are not kept,
Hath left me, and I desperate now approve
Desire is death, which physic did except.
Past cure I am, now reason is past care,
And frantic-mad with evermore unrest;
My thoughts and my discourse as madmen's are,
At random from the truth vainly express'd;
For I have sworn thee fair and thought thee bright,
Who art as black as hell, as dark as night.




É febre, o meu amor, sempre anelando,

O que mais a doença lhe acalenta,

Do que seu mal mantém se alimentando,

P’rá fome saciar que o turva e tenta.

E deste amor, o médico, a razão,

Irada de esquivar sua receita,

Deixou-me e agora o vejo na aflição:

Mata o ardor que o remédio enjeita.

Sem cura estou, da razão descurado,

E doido num eterno desnorteio.

Meus pensamentos, falas, aluado,

Exprimo à toa, da verdade alheio.

Pois clara te pensei, jurei-te pura,

E és como o inferno negra e a noite escura.




(Tradução de Jorge Vilhena Mesquita)