Take all my loves, my love, yea take them all;
What hast thou then more than thou hadst before?
No love, my love, that thou mayst true love call;
All mine was thine, before thou hadst this more.
Then, if for my love, thou my love receivest,
I cannot blame thee, for my love thou usest;
But yet be blam’d, if thou thy self deceivest
By wilful taste of what thyself refusest.
I do forgive thy robbery, gentle thief,
Although thou steal thee all my poverty:
And yet, love knows it is a greater grief
To bear love’s wrong, than hate’s known injury.
Lascivious grace, in whom all ill well shows,
Kill me with spites yet we must not be foes.
Sonnet 40: Translation to modern English
Take everything I love, my love; yes, take it all. What do you have then, that you didn’t have before? Not love that you could call true love, my love; all my love was already yours before you took this extra love from me. If you make love to another person instead of accepting my love I can’t blame you, love, because you’re just using my love. But still, you are to blame if you deceive yourself by taking from someone else what you won’t take from me. I forgive that robbery, dear thief, even though you’re stealing from someone so poor. And yet, everyone who loves knows that it’s more hurtful to be wounded by someone one loves than by an enemy. You – gracious and lascivious at the same time, in whom everything bad appears good – may kill me with hurtfulness, but we must not be enemies.
See other Shakespeare sonnets in modern English >>