Shakespeare Sonnet 127 Analysis: In the old age black was not counted fair,

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This is a short summary of Shakespeare sonnet 127. Continue reading for complete analysis and meaning in the modern text. For the complete list of 154 sonnets, check the collection of Shakespeare Sonnets with analysis. It is highly recommended to buy “The Monument” by Hank Whittemore, which is the best book on Shakespeare Sonnets.

Shakespeare Sonnet 127 (Original Text)

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 slandered with a bastard shame.
For since each hand hath put on nature’s pow’r,
Fairing the foul with art’s false borrowed face,
Sweet beauty hath no name, no holy bow’r,
But is profaned, if not lives in disgrace.
Therefore my mistress’ eyes are raven black,
Her eyes so suited, and they mourners seem
At such who, not born fair, no beauty lack,
Sland’ring creation with a false esteem.
Yet so they mourn, becoming of their woe,
That every tongue says beauty should look so.
WIKI

Shakespeare Sonnet 127 Modern Text (Translation)

Shakespeare Sonnet 127 modern English translation

-via SparkNotes

Shakespeare Sonnet 127 Analysis

The poet says, In olden days dark complexions were not regarded as attractive “In the old age black was not counted fair, even if they were, they were not regarded as beautiful “Or if it were, it bore not beauty’s name” but in the present time black is considered the heir of beauty “But now is black beauty’s successive heir,” and fair complexion is now regarded badly and illegitimate beauty “And beauty slandered with a bastard shame”

And since every man has grabbed the power to try and make himself look beautiful “For since each hand hath put on nature’s pow’r,” where today even those who are ugly can look beautiful through artificial means ‘Fairing the foul with art’s false borrowed face,” Beauty cannot be given a name nor does it have a special place “Sweet beauty hath no name, no holy bow’r, but yet now it has been abused and corrupted to live in disgrace “But is profaned, if not lives in disgrace.”

The poet says his mistress eyes are jet black like a raven “Therefore my mistress’ eyes are raven black,” her eyes are suitable for the fashionable trend of the times but they seem to mourn “Her eyes so suited, and they mourners seem” for those who are ugly but try to make themselves beautiful “At such who, not born fair, no beauty lack,” and who abuse the beautfy of creation with false and artificial pride who give beauty a bad name “Sland’ring creation with a false esteem.”

Her eyes mourn but in mourning they look beautiful “Yet so they mourn, becoming of their woe,” so much so that everyone wants to look like her feeling that beauty should look like her eyes “That every tongue says beauty should look so”

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