Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
Not marble, nor the gold-plated shrines
Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme;
Of princes shall outlive the power of poetry;
But you shall shine more bright in these contents
You shall shine more bright in these
Than unswept stone besmear'd with sluttish time.
Than on dust-covered gravestones,
ravaged by time.
When wasteful war shall statues overturn,
When devastating war shall overturn statues,
And broils root out the work of masonry,
And conflicts destroy the mason's handiwork,
Nor Mars his sword nor war's quick fire shall burn
the cause of war (Mars) nor the effects
of war (fire) shall destroy
The living record of your memory.
The living record of your memory (this poem).
'Gainst death and all-oblivious enmity
Against death and destruction, which render people
Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room
Shall you push onward; praise of you
will always find a place,
Even in the eyes of all posterity
Even in the eyes of future generations
That wear this world out to the ending doom.
That survive until the end of humanity.
So, till the judgment that yourself arise,
So, until you arise on Judgment Day,
You live in this, and dwell in lovers' eyes.You are immortalized in this poetry, and continue to live
in lovers' eyes.
Not marble, nor the gilded monuments (1): This line is likely an allusion to the lavish tombs of
English royalty; in particular, to the tomb of Henry VII in Westminster Abbey, which contains a
large sarcophagus made of black marble with gilded effigies of King Henry and his queen,
Elizabeth of York.