A 6-year-old’s translation of Sonnet #29

Our Shakespeare Kids are practicing their sonnets for Valentine’s Day!

Behind the scenes, we work with the kids one-on-one.

There are 114 words in this Sonnet 29.  It seems like a lot to figure out, but when we go through the poem line by line, the kids discover that there are only 10-20 words that they don’t know.  This means that they know at least 82% of the words in the poem!

The kids become detectives!  They use the words that they do know to decode the words that they don’t.

In the end, the kids put the sonnets into their own words, so they know what they’re saying and how they’re feeling.

Here’s a translation from our youngest Sonnet Kid to date, 6-year-old H.:



When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possess’d,
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.


6-YEAR-OLD’s TRANSLATION (I’ve put in the line breaks)

When I feel bad,
I feel really sad
And curse myself.
I want that man’s clothes,
I want that man’s power,
And I want that man’s art.
But when I think of you,
I become happy.
I don’t need all of that stuff.
I love my sister, my brother,
My mother, my father.
I don’t want to change places
With the King.



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