O! never say that I was false of heart,
Though absence seem’d my flame to qualify,
As easy might I from my self depart
As from my soul which in thy breast doth lie:
That is my home of love: if I have ranged,
Like him that travels, I return again;
Just to the time, not with the time exchanged,
So that myself bring water for my stain.
Never believe though in my nature reigned,
All frailties that besiege all kinds of blood,
That it could so preposterously be stained,
To leave for nothing all thy sum of good;
For nothing this wide universe I call,
Save thou, my rose, in it thou art my all.
Sonnet 1o9: Translation to modern English
Oh, don’t say that I was untrue, even though our being apart made me appear cool. It would be as easy to me to be separated from myself as from you, to whom, if I ever stray, I return, like a traveller coming home; right on time, punctual, not affected by circumstances, so that I am myself bringing the water that will wash away my sin. Even if my nature had every kind of carnal weakness imaginable you shouldn’t believe that it could be so perversely sinful as to abandon all your goodness for worthless women, because I consider the whole universe worthless, apart from you, my rose of youth: you’re my everything in it.
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