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.
In Shakespeare’s Sonnet #127, he talks about that long time ago it wasn’t considered beautiful to have dark complexion, see the first line “black was not counted fair,”. Now, however, it’s accepted and the people with light complexion has given beauty a bad reputation. Today, even the ugly can make themselves pretty, with artificial help. With that he must mean using make-up and maybe even surgery, see line six, “Fairing the foul with Art’s false borrowed face,”. Because of this no one can actually call themselves beautiful. Shakespeare compares his mistress’ eyes with the blackness of the raven and that she feels sorrow for the people that were born ugly, but are trying to make themselves look pretty. This sounds kind of mean though, because if this makes them feel better about themselves, without being bratty, I don’t see anything wrong with trying to improve your looks. Isn’t beauty in the eye of the beholder, right? He is ending the sonnet with the the thinking that now a days everybody should have eyes like her mistress. Meaning that in his mistress’ eyes he sees real beauty. The modern meaning really helps me understand what Shakespeare meant with this sonnet. It seems he fell in love with a dark skinned, beautiful woman.