Were’t ought to me I bore the canopy,
With my extern the outward honouring,
Or laid great bases for eternity,
Which prove more short than waste or ruining?
Have I not seen dwellers on form and favour
Lose all and more by paying too much rent,
For compound sweet forgoing simple savour,
Pitiful tghrivers, in their gazing spent?
No, let me be obsequious in thy heart,
And take thou my oblation, poor but free,
Which is not mixed with seconds, knows no art,
But mutual render, only me for thee.
Hence, thou suborned informer! A true soul
When most impeached stands least in thy control.

Sonnet 125: Translation to modern English

Would it mean anything to me if I were to carry the processional royal canopy, dignifying such shows of power with my presence; or lay the foundations of monuments intended to last for eternity but which in reality endure no longer than it takes them to decay or be destroyed by such things as war? Haven’t I seen those who dwell on outward appearance and the favour of the powerful lose everything and even more than that by putting everything into it, spending all they have on lavish displays instead of enjoying simple pleasures in pursuit of their superficial desires? No, let me be committed only to you. Accept my offer, simple, but freely given, containing nothing but the best, having no ulterior motives, with only mutual exchange – myself for yourself. Go away, you paid spy! When an honest soul is accused you have no power over him.

1 reply
  1. Luz Valderrama
    Luz Valderrama says:

    Excellent translation of the sonnets. I am working on a spanish translation and your work had helped me a lot. Thank you.


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