Sonnet 108 (William Shakespeare) | Σονέτο 108 (Ουίλλιαμ Σαίξπηρ) [What's in the brain that ink may character: Τι 'ναι στον νου που να το γράφουνε ψηφιά]


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Sonnet 108 (William Shakespeare) | Σονέτο 108 (Ουίλλιαμ Σαίξπηρ) [What's in the brain that ink may character: Τι ’ναι στον νου που να το γράφουνε ψηφιά]

What's in the brain that ink may character
Which hath not figured to thee my true spirit?
What's new to speak, what now to register,
That may express my love, or thy dear merit?
Nothing, sweet boy; but yet, like prayers divine,
I must each day say o'er the very same;
Counting no old thing old, thou mine, I thine,
Even as when first I hallowed thy fair name.
So that eternal love in love's fresh case,
Weighs not the dust and injury of age,
Nor gives to necessary wrinkles place,
But makes antiquity for aye his page;
Finding the first conceit of love there bred,
Where time and outward form would show it dead.

Τι ’ναι στον νου που να το γράφουνε ψηφιά,
και δε σ’ το ’χει αραδιάσει η μούσα μου η πιστή;
Τι νέο να ειπώ, με ποια μπορεί άλλη μαρτύριά
η αγάπη μου ή η ωραία άξιά σου να εκφραστεί;
Τίποτ’ αγόρι μου, όμως πρέπει εγώ ολοένα
να λέω σαν προσευχή τα ίδια: το παλιό
όχι παλιό, δικόν μου εσέ, δικόν σου εμένα
σαν όταν σε πρωτάγιασα, όνομα γλυκό.
Αγάπη αιώνια, αγάπη που όλο ανθοφορεί,
για σκόνη και φθορά ηλικίας δεν τη μέλλει,
για ζάρες αναπόφευγες αδιαφορεί
και κάνει την αρχαιότη του ματιού κοπέλι,
τι βρίσκει την πρωτόπιαστην αγάπη εκεί
που χρόνος κι όψη θα την έδειχναν νεκρή.

Μετάφραση: Βασίλης Ρώτας

108 was the number of sonnets in Sidney's Astrophel and Stella, one of the most  prominent and among the earliest of the sonnet sequences to be published in England, and certainly among the most influential. It was published in 1591, posthumously, but circulated in manuscript for eleven years before the date of publication, and was enormously influential in setting the pattern for subsequent writers. It is almost inevitable therefore that the poet, having reached this vantage point, takes stock of his condition and the progress of his love. Is there anything new to express, anything which might enhance his love, or the mutual love of lover and beloved? The conclusion is that, since love has been eternised, and always was eternal, the same prayers of devotion may be repeated over and over again, and love will remain fresh and green for ever, despite the ravages of time and ageing. In effect nothing has changed, and the first impulses of love, which brought into being their divine affection, remains as vital as ever, and with some surprise and joy the poet greets this discovery, and justifies once more to his friend the constancy and depth of his love, expressed though it is in old and worn out phrases.


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