Some glory in their birth, some in their skill,
Some in their wealth, some in their body’s force,
Some in their garments though new-fangled ill;
Some in their hawks and hounds, some in their horse;
And every humour hath his adjunct pleasure,
Wherein it finds a joy above the rest:
But these particulars are not my measure,
All these I better in one general best.
Thy love is better than high birth to me,
Richer than wealth, prouder than garments’ cost,
Of more delight than hawks and horses be;
And having thee, of all men’s pride I boast:
Wretched in this alone, that thou mayst take
All this away, and me most wretched make.
Sonnet 91: Translation to modern English
Some people take pride in their social rank; some in their abilities; some in their wealth; some in their physical strength; some in their clothes – even in ghastly fashions – some in their horses: every disposition has its particular pleasure – a favourite, enjoyed above the rest. But I don’t rate any of those things. I put one above them all. Your love is better than high birth to me; richer than wealth; worth more than expensive clothes; more pleasurable than hawks or horses could ever be. In having you I have something better than anyone can boast of. There’s just one potential source of sorrow in that – that you could take it all away and make me utterly wretched.
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