Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation Sonnet 101
O truant Muse, what shall be thy amends For thy neglect of truth in beauty dyed? Both truth and beauty on my love depends; So dost thou too, and therein dignified. Make answer, Muse: wilt thou not haply say Truth needs no color, with his color fixed, Beauty no pencil, beauty’s truth to lay; But best is best if never intermixed? Because he needs no praise, wilt thou be dumb? Excuse not silence so, for ’t lies in thee To make him much outlive a gilded tomb, And to be praised of ages yet to be. Then do thy office, Muse. I teach thee how To make him seem long hence as he shows now.
Oh absent Muse, how will you compensate
For your neglect of truth that is dyed with beauty?
Both truth and beauty depend on my love;
And so are you, and you are made worthy by it.
Answer me, Muse: won't you perhaps say:
"Truth does not need any color, since it has his own color,
Beauty does not need a pencil to apply beauty's truth.
The best things are best when not mixed with other things."
But because my lover doesn't need praise, are you going to stay mute?
Do not excuse this silence, since you can
Make my beloved outlive a golden tomb,
And have him be praised through time to come.
Then do your duty, Muse. I will teach you how
To make my beloved appear for a long time as he does now.
LitCharts A+ members also get exclusive access to:
- Downloadable translations of every Shakespeare play and sonnet
- Downloads of 1146 LitCharts Lit Guides
- Explanations and citation info for 25,393 quotes covering 1146 books
- Teacher Editions for every Lit Guide
- PDFs defining 136 key Lit Terms