Those parts of thee that the world’s eye doth view
Want nothing that the thought of hearts can mend;
All tongues, the voice of souls, give thee that due,
Uttering bare truth, even so as foes commend.
Thy outward thus with outward praise is crown’d;
But those same tongues, that give thee so thine own,
In other accents do this praise confound
By seeing farther than the eye hath shown.
They look into the beauty of thy mind,
And that in guess they measure by thy deeds;
Then, churls, their thoughts, although their eyes were kind,
To thy fair flower add the rank smell of weeds:
But why thy odour matcheth not thy show,
The soil is this, that thou dost common grow.
Sonnet 69: Translation to modern English
Those parts of you that the world can see leave nothing to be desired. Everyone says so, granting you that without reservation. They’re only speaking the obvious truth – even your enemies agree. And so, your outward self is rewarded with public praise. But those very people who give that well deserved praise to your beauty change their tune when they look beyond the superficial. They examine the beauty of your mind and gain insight by taking note of your deeds. Then, although they’ve been kind about the beautiful fragrance of your looks, they churlishly insist on the rank smell of the weeds of your actions. So if your deeds don’t match your looks, this is the reason: that you’re surrounding yourself with common companions.
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