Sonnets 121 -154

Sonnet 127

In the old age black was not counted fair,
Or if it were, it bore not beauty’s name;
But now is black beauty’s successive heir,
And beauty slandered with a bastard shame:
For since each hand hath put on Nature’s power,
Fairing the foul with Art’s false borrowed face,
Sweet beauty hath no name, no holy bower,
But is profaned, if not lives in disgrace.
Therefore my mistress’ eyes are raven black,
Her eyes so suited, and they mourners seem
At such who, not born fair, no beauty lack,
Sland’ring creation with a false esteem:
Yet so they mourn becoming of their woe,
That every tongue says beauty should look so.

Nisha Dassyne was born in Mauritius & studied Fine Arts at Santiniketan, India. She was part of the core devising & performing team for Border Crossings’ 2020 play about the indentured labour migrations to Mauritius, THE GREAT EXPERIMENT, and the same company’s 2000 production MAPPA MUNDI which toured to the UK and Mexico.  She played Lady Macbeth in Michael Walling’s 1997 production in Mauritius, and has also worked for Soho Theatre, Northampton Theatre Royal, English National Opera & Proteus. Nisha translated Dev Virahsawmy’s play TOUFANN for Border Crossings in 1999. Dev Virahsawmy is a politician, playwright, poet and advocate of the Mauritian Creole language, which he calls Morisien. Though he writes easily in both French and English, Virahsawmy is most renowned for his efforts to popularise Morisien.  He has translated several Shakespeare plays, including ENN TA SENN DAN VID (Much Ado About Nothing), ZIL SEZAR (Julius Caesar) and TRAZEDI MAKBES (Macbeth).  He has also created a number of new plays based on Shakespearean characters, for example TOUFANN, ZENERAL MAKBEF, SIR TOBY. Video includes archive material edited by Shiraz Bayjoo for Border Crossings’ production of THE GREAT EXPERIMENT.  Video edited by Michael Walling. 

Nisha Dassyne, performer. Dev Virahsawmy, translator.

Sonnet 128

How oft when thou, my music, music play’st,
Upon that blessed wood whose motion sounds
With thy sweet fingers when thou gently sway’st
The wiry concord that mine ear confounds,
Do I envy those jacks that nimble leap,
To kiss the tender inward of thy hand,
Whilst my poor lips which should that harvest reap,
At the wood’s boldness by thee blushing stand!
To be so tickled, they would change their state
And situation with those dancing chips,
O’er whom thy fingers walk with gentle gait,
Making dead wood more bless’d than living lips.
Since saucy jacks so happy are in this,
Give them thy fingers, me thy lips to kiss.

My name is Andrew Synyshyn and I was born in Ukraine, Lviv. I went to 53 schools. I am currently studying for a master’s degree at the University. Ivan Franko. I work at the Lviv People and Puppets Theater. Where I invite you all. Brevity is the soul of wit

Andrew Synshyn, performer. Dmitry Palamarchuk, translator.

Sonnet 130

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red, than her lips red:
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound:
I grant I never saw a goddess go,
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet by heaven, I think my love as rare,
As any she belied with false compare.

I am a Professor Emeritus of English drama at the University of Babylon, Iraq. I have been a visiting scholar at  Ohio State University as a Fulbright scholar in 2004-2005, and again in 2007 when I joined the Department of Comparative Studies. Between 2009 and 2011, I was a visiting scholar at the University of Southampton where I conducted a study dealing with the Quranic story of Joseph/Yusuf as drama. Currently, I am conducting a project. which is devoted to translating all the English plays that have treated the US-Iraq Wars and the invasion of the country. My interest in translation has encouraged me to translate Sonnet 130.

Dr. Salih Mahdi Hameed, performer and translator.

Sonnet 138

When my love swears that she is made of truth,
I do believe her though I know she lies,
That she might think me some untutored youth,
Unlearned in the world’s false subtleties.
Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young,
Although she knows my days are past the best,
Simply I credit her false-speaking tongue:
On both sides thus is simple truth suppressed:
But wherefore says she not she is unjust?
And wherefore say not I that I am old?
O! love’s best habit is in seeming trust,
And age in love, loves not to have years told:
Therefore I lie with her, and she with me,
And in our faults by lies we flattered be.

Ogini Bernard is a Nigerian Pidgin Playwright, and a Thread Artist. He obtained his Bachelor and Masters degree at the University of Ibadan, Oyo state, Nigeria, with his expertise in dramatic literature, Criticism, and Pidgin Literature. Within the last five years, he has been actively involved in his private research of Naija Shakespeare Series (The translation of all Shakespeare’s works to Nigerian Pidgin).

Ogini Bernard, performer and translator.