How careful was I when I took my way,
Each trifle under truest bars to thrust,
That to my use it might unused stay
From hands of falsehood, in sure wards of trust!
But thou, to whom my jewels trifles are,
Most worthy comfort, now my greatest grief,
Thou best of dearest, and mine only care,
Art left the prey of every vulgar thief.
Thee have I not lock’d up in any chest,
Save where thou art not, though I feel thou art,
Within the gentle closure of my breast,
From whence at pleasure thou mayst come and part;
And even thence thou wilt be stol’n I fear,
For truth proves thievish for a prize so dear.
Sonnet 48: Translation to modern English
How careful I used to be when I went travelling, to put even the most trivial of my possessions behind the most secure locks available to keep them from the hands of thieves. But you – my best comfort – compared with whom my jewels are no more than trifles, have become my greatest worry, you dearest of dears who means everything to me, because you’re left open to every vulgar thief. I haven’t locked you up in any chest, except the one where you are not – although I feel you are – inside the tender enclosure of my breast, from where you may come and go as you please. And I’m afraid that you’ll be stolen even from there because even honest men would become thieves to get a prize so rich.