Learning Poem in another language

Hi. I am polish and i would really like to learn Shakespeare sonnet 130. Should i memorize it in after translation or can i learn in original ? If yes , how do i do that?

Welcome to the site :slight_smile:

I’m also Polish. Do it whichever way you want to. It’s a bit difficult(for me at least) to create images from Polish words though.

Have you used any memory techniques before? If no, check out Beginners Portal.


Are you familiar with the structure of Shakespeare’s sonnets? They are in iambic pentameter, and you can use an exaggerated rhythm to help keep it in your mind.

Notice that every other line rhymes, except for the last two, which rhyme with each other.

The structure is in three blocks of four lines, excluding the final two. You can start by attempting the first block. Repeat the line a few times while reading it, and then look away and see if you still remember it. If you forget something, create an image. This one has image pairs built-in to the first four lines:

eyes => sun
coral => lips
snow => breasts
hair => wires

You can test yourself over on the Sonnet #130 page.

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 damask’d, 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.

(* The word “heaven” appears to be one syllable in these old poems.)