by William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616)
Translation © by Ferdinando Albeggiani

When most I wink, then do mine eyes best...
Language: English 
Available translation(s): CAT ITA
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.

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1 Britten: "days"


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

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 14
Word count: 122

Più io li tengo chiusi, più i miei occhi son chiari
Language: Italian (Italiano)  after the English 
Più io li tengo chiusi, più i miei occhi son chiari,
perché di giorno cose da niente osservano;
Ma quando dormo, sei tu che in sogno appari,
e, illuminati nel buio, la scura tenebra vincono. 
E allora tu, ombra che ogni ombra rischiara, 
quale ombra saresti, d'aspetto divino,
nel chiaro giorno con la tua luce più chiara,
se la tua ombra splende ai ciechi perfino? 
Quanto, io dico, faresti la mia vista beata
se contemplasse te nella piena luce del giorno,
Se già nella morta notte la tua bella ombra incompleta
fa presa su occhi ciechi chiusi in pesante sonno?
I giorni notte si fanno fino a che non ti scorgo,
Le notti, giorni splendenti non appena ti sogno.


  • Translation from English to Italian (Italiano) copyright © 2013 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.

Based on:


This text was added to the website: 2013-05-13
Line count: 14
Word count: 119