Look in thy glass and tell the face thou viewest
Now is the time that face should form another,
Whose fresh repair if now thou not renewest,
Thou dost beguile the world, unbless some mother.
For where is she so fair whose uneared womb
Disdains the tillage of thy husbandry?
Or who is he so fond will be the tomb
Of his self-love, to stop posterity?
Thou art thy mother’s glass, and she in thee
Calls back the lovely April of her prime;
So thou through windows of thine age shalt see,
Despite of wrinkles, this thy golden time.
But if thou live remembered not to be,
Die single, and thine image dies with thee.
Modern text of Shakespeare sonnet 3
Look in the mirror and tell the face you see
now is the time that face should form another,
whose failure to reproduce, if you do not get married
would hurt the whole world in general, but specifically a hopeful wife.
For what virgin woman is so beautiful
that she would turn you down?
Or what kind of man is so in love with his own self
that he would end his family’s line with his generation?
You are a perfect replica of your beautiful mother and she,
by looking at you, remembers her own former beauty.
In the same way, you, looking through the eyes of old age,
will be able to see your own youthful image in your child, despite your wrinkles.
But if you want to be forgotten forever,
die single, and your beauty will be buried with you.