Which vulgar scandal stamped upon my brow;
For what care I who calls me well or ill,
So you o’er green my bad, my good allow?
You are my all the world, and I must strive
To know my shames and praises from your tongue;
None else to me, nor I to none alive,
That my steeled sense or changes right or wrong.
In so profound abysm I throw all care
Of others’ voices, that my adder’s sense
To critic and to flatt’rer stopped are.
Mark how with my neglect I do dispense:
You are so strongly in my purpose bred
That all the world besides methinks y’are dead.
Sonnet 112: Translation to modern English
Your love and pity compensate for the gossip that’s branded me because what do I care about being called either good or bad as long as you ignore the bad things about me and acknowledge the things that are good? You’re all the world to me and I have to try and work out what’s good or bad about myself from the things you say. No-one else matters to me and I don’t matter to anyone alive so it’s entirely your opinion that determines what’s right or wrong. I have such a profound contempt for what others say that my sharp senses are cut off from both criticism and flattery. Notice how I don’t care that the world neglects me. You mean so much to me that everyone, apart from me, thinks you’re dead.