Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation Sonnet 125
Were’t ought to me I bore the canopy, With my extern the outward honoring, Or laid great bases for eternity, Which prove more short than waste or ruining? Have I not seen dwellers on form and favor Lose all and more by paying too much rent, For compound sweet forgoing simple savor, Pitiful thrivers, 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.
Would it mean anything to me if I held the canopy,
Honoring with an outward showing of dignity,
Or if I put down the foundations to ever-lasting monuments,
Which prove to be more short-lived than waste itself or ruin?
Have I not seen those who live for beauty and favor
Lose everything and more by spending too much
On lavish, sweet things instead of simple flavors,
Those pitiful spenders, who spend too much by looking?
No, let me be obedient in your heart,
And take my simple but free offering,
Which is unadulterated and undeceiving,
In return I can only offer what is mine for what is yours.
Go away, you false witnesses! A true soul,
Even when accused of terrible things, is least in your power.