Canst thou, O cruel! Say I love thee not,
When I against myself with thee partake?
Do I not think on thee, when I forgot
Am of my self, all tyrant, for thy sake?
Who hateth thee that I do call my friend,
On whom frown’st thou that I do fawn upon,
Nay, if thou lour’st on me, do I not spend
Revenge upon myself with present moan?
What merit do I in my self respect,
That is so proud thy service to despise,
When all my best doth worship thy defect,
Commanded by the motion of thine eyes?
But, love, hate on, for now I know thy mind,
Those that can see thou lov’st, and I am blind.
Sonnet 149: Translation to modern English
Can you, oh cruel woman, say that I don’t love you when I take your side against myself? Don’t I think about you and forget about myself, you tyrant? Who dislikes you that I would call my friend? Who do you dislike who I like? Yes, if you scowl at me don’t I take immediate revenge on myself by moaning in pain? What quality do I see in myself that would make me too proud to serve you when the best in me worships your defects, commanded as I am by the merest flickering of your eyes? But carry on hating me, my love, because I know your mind now. You love those who can see, and I am blind!