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O! how much more doth beauty beauteous...

Language: English

O! how much more doth beauty beauteous seem
By that sweet ornament which truth doth give?
The rose looks fair, but fairer [we it]1 deem
[For]2 that sweet odour, which doth in it live.
The canker blooms have full as deep a dye
As the perfumed tincture of the roses,
Hang on such thorns, and play as wantonly
When summer's breath their masked buds discloses:
But, for [their]3 virtue only is their show,
They live unwoo'd, and unrespected fade;
Die [to]4 themselves. Sweet roses do not so;
Of their sweet deaths, are sweetest odours made:
    And so of you, beauteous and lovely youth,
    When that shall fade, by verse distills your truth.

Translation(s): FRE ITA

List of language codes

F. Lygon sets lines 1-12

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
See also Mobile for Shakespeare by Roman Haubenstock-Ramati
1 Faith: "it we"
2 Faith: "By"
3 omitted by Faith.
4 Faith: "unto"

Submitted by Barbara Miller


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

Available translations, adaptations, and transliterations (if applicable):

Text added to the website: 2005-06-22.
Last modified: 2017-10-11 12:39:24
Line count: 14
Word count: 112

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Sonetto LIV

Language: Italian (Italiano) after the English

Quanto più bella appare la bellezza
Per il dolce ornamento che la virtù le dona;
E' leggiadra la rosa, ma più leggiadra si apprezza
Per ciò che in essa vive: il delizioso aroma.
Ha la rosa canina colore tanto vivo
Quanto il colore della profumata rosa,
E' pur essa spinosa e con egual gioco lascivo
al vento dell'estate schiude i boccioli ascosi:
Ma, poiché nel solo apparire la sua virtù riposa
Non corteggiata vive, ed appassisce presto
Per poi morire sola. Ma non così la rosa,
Dalla sua dolce morte più dolce profumo resta:
E così pure di te, creatura giovane e bella,
Quando quella svanisca, la virtù il mio verso distilla.

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  • Translation from English to Italian (Italiano) copyright © 2005 by Ferdinando Albeggiani, (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. 54 FRE
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Richard Bruce Faith, Frederick Lygon, Richard Simpson. Go to the text.


Text added to the website: 2005-08-14.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:02:14
Line count: 14
Word count: 112