Shakespeare’s Sonnet 1 in Modern English

Shakespeare advises the fair youth to not be self-centered, but rather to reproduce and keep the rose of beauty alive.

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 1 – Original Version Shakespeare’s Sonnet 1 – Modern English Version
From fairest creatures we desire increase, We desire that beautiful people reproduce,
That thereby beauty’s rose might never die, So that the rose of beauty never dies,
But as the riper should by time decease, But since, with time, the ageing man dies,
His tender heir might bear his memory: His young child should remember him;
But thou contracted to thine own bright eyes, But you are captive to your own bright eyes,
Feed’st thy light’s flame with self-substantial fuel, And feed your flame with your own fuel,
Making a famine where abundance lies, To make a famine where abundance lies,
Thy self thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel: You are your own enemy, and cruel to yourself;
Thou that art now the world’s fresh ornament, You are a beautiful treasure to the world,
And only herald to the gaudy spring, A great messenger of the sparkling spring,
Within thine own bud buriest thy content, Yet your substance is buried in yourself,
And, tender churl, mak’st waste in niggarding: And you, silly dunce, waste your power by being stingy;
Pity the world, or else this glutton be, Pity the world, or be a glutton,
To eat the world’s due, by the grave and thee. And feast on love before beauty perishes.

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