Farewell! thou art too dear for my possessing,
And like enough thou know’st thy estimate,
The charter of thy worth gives thee releasing;
My bonds in thee are all determinate.
For how do I hold thee but by thy granting?
And for that riches where is my deserving?
The cause of this fair gift in me is wanting,
And so my patent back again is swerving.
Thy self thou gavest, thy own worth then not knowing,
Or me to whom thou gav’st it else mistaking;
So thy great gift, upon misprision growing,
Comes home again, on better judgement making.
Thus have I had thee, as a dream doth flatter,
In sleep a king, but waking no such matter.
Sonnet 87: Translation to modern English
Farewell, you’re too valuable for me to own. I’m sure you know your worth. The extent of that allows you to be released from me: you have broken the bonds between us. For how can I hold on to you without your consent, and how have I come to deserve such riches? Reasons for receiving such a beautiful gift are lacking so my right to own you is reverting back to you. You gave yourself to me without knowing your value, or else you mistook me. So your great gift, based on misunderstanding, is returned now that you’re capable of making better judgments. I have had you as in a flattering dream, thinking of myself as a king while I slept, but on waking, finding I was no such thing.
See other Shakespeare sonnets in modern English >>