A line-by-line translation

Shakespeare's Sonnets

A line-by-line translation

Shakespeare's Sonnets

Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation Sonnet 103

Line Map Clear Line Map Add

Alack, what poverty my muse brings forth, That having such a scope to show her pride, The argument all bare is of more worth Than when it hath my added praise beside! O blame me not if I no more can write! Look in your glass, and there appears a face That overgoes my blunt invention quite, Dulling my lines and doing me disgrace. Were it not sinful then, striving to mend, To mar the subject that before was well? For to no other pass my verses tend Than of your graces and your gifts to tell; And more, much more than in my verse can sit Your own glass shows you, when you look in it.

Dear me, what bad poetry my muse produces,
That despite having such a range in which to show her prowess,
The subject matter of the poem is more valuable
Than when it has my praise added to it!
Oh don't blame me if I can't write any more!
Look in your mirror, and there is a face
That surpasses my lame creative powers,
Making my verses dull, and disgracing me.
Would it not be a sin, trying to improve something,
And ruining something that was good before?
Since my verses strive for no other goal 
But to tell your beauty and excellent qualities;
And more, much more, than what my verse can praise
Your own mirror shows you, when you look in it.

Sonnets
Join LitCharts A+ and get the entire Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation as a printable PDF.
LitCharts A+ members also get exclusive access to:
  • Downloadable translations of every Shakespeare play and sonnet
  • Downloads of 671 LitCharts Lit Guides
  • Explanations and citation info for 16,595 quotes covering 671 books
  • Teacher Editions for every Lit Guide
  • PDFs defining 136 key Lit Terms
Suzy kim
About the Translator: Suzy Kim

Suzy Kim is a graduate student studying Victorian literature at Brown University. She studied English and Psychology at University of Pennsylvania, and some of her creative work can be found in the upcoming volume of The Graphic Canon: Tales of Crime and Mystery Vol. 1. She is from Seoul, and currently lives in Providence, Rhode Island.