Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation Sonnet 140
Be wise as thou art cruel; do not press My tongue-tied patience with too much disdain, Lest sorrow lend me words, and words express The manner of my pity-wanting pain. If I might teach thee wit, better it were, Though not to love, yet love, to tell me so, As testy sick men, when their deaths be near, No news but health from their physicians know. For if I should despair, I should grow mad, And in my madness might speak ill of thee. Now this ill-wresting world is grown so bad, Mad sland’rers by mad ears believèd be. That I may not be so, nor thou belied, Bear thine eyes straight, though thy proud heart go wide.
Be as wise as you are cruel; do not torment
My silent patience with too much disdain,
In case my sorrow makes me express myself
And the pitiful pain that I am in.
If I could teach you common sense, it would be better
To tell me you love me even when you don't,
Just as irritable sick men, who are near their deaths,
Hear no news from their doctors other than they are healthy.
For, if I despair, I would go crazy,
And in my madness I might speak badly of you.
Now this cynical world has grown so bad
That mad insults are believed by mad ears.
So that I do not spread bad words about you, or have you be slandered,
Look straight at me, even if your heart is wandering.
LitCharts A+ members also get exclusive access to:
- Downloadable translations of every Shakespeare play and sonnet
- Downloads of 876 LitCharts Lit Guides
- Explanations and citation info for 20,299 quotes covering 876 books
- Teacher Editions for every Lit Guide
- PDFs defining 136 key Lit Terms