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When most I wink, then do mine eyes best...

Language: English

When most I wink, then do mine eyes best see,
For all the day they view things unrespected;
But when I sleep, in dreams they look on thee,
And darkly bright, are bright in dark directed.
Then thou, whose shadow shadows doth make bright,
How would thy shadow's form form happy show
To the clear [day]1 with thy much clearer light,
When to unseeing eyes thy shade shines so?
How would, I say, mine eyes be blessed made
By looking on thee in the living day,
When in dead night thy fair imperfect shade
Through heavy sleep on sightless eyes doth stay?
  All days are nights to see till I see thee,
  And nights bright days when dreams do show thee me.

Translation(s): CAT FRE FRE ITA

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About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Britten: "days"

Submitted by Ted Perry


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

Other available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , "Quan més parpellejo, millor hi veuen els meus ulls", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (François-Victor Hugo) , no title, appears in Sonnets de Shakespeare, no. 43, first published 1857
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Più io li tengo chiusi, più i miei occhi son chiari", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.

Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:49
Line count: 14
Word count: 122

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Quan més parpellejo, millor hi veuen els meus ulls

Language: Catalan (Català) after the English

Quan més parpellejo, millor hi veuen els meus ulls,
car tot el dia ells veuen coses sense interès;
però quan dormo, en somnis et miren a tu,
i misteriosament lluminosos, s’il·luminen en la foscor.
Tu, que la teva ombra desentenebra totes les ombres,
com d’esplèndid es mostraria el contorn de la teva ombra,
a la claror del dia, amb la teva llum molt més clara, 
si ella ja és tan brillant per als ulls que no hi veuen? 
Jo dic, quina benedicció per als meus ulls seria
poder contemplar-te a la vívida llum del dia,
quan en la morta nit, la teva ombra imperfecta,
a través del son profund, roman en un ulls orbs?
Tots els dies són nits per a mi fins que no et veig,
i les nits, dies lluminosos quan se m’apareixes en somnis.

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  • Translation from English to Catalan (Català) copyright © 2016 by Salvador Pila, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.


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Based on
  • a text in English by William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616), no title, appears in Sonnets, no. 43 FRE FRE ITA
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Edward Applebaum, David Bowerman, Frank Bridge, Benjamin Britten, Lex van Delden, Richard Simpson, Claudio Spies. Go to the text.


Text added to the website: 2016-03-29.
Last modified: 2016-03-29 17:34:22
Line count: 14
Word count: 137