A line-by-line translation

Shakespeare's Sonnets

A line-by-line translation

Shakespeare's Sonnets

Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation Sonnet 26

Line Map Clear Line Map Add

Lord of my love, to whom in vassalage Thy merit hath my duty strongly knit, To thee I send this written embassage, To witness duty, not to show my wit. Duty so great, which wit so poor as mine May make seem bare, in wanting words to show it, But that I hope some good conceit of thine In thy soul’s thought, all naked, will bestow it. Till whatsoever star that guides my moving Points on me graciously with fair aspéct And puts apparel on my tattered loving, To show me worthy of thy sweet respect. Then may I dare to boast how I do love thee; Till then, not show my head where thou mayst prove me.

You who are lord of my love, and I am your vassal,
Your worth has strongly bound my loyalty to you,
I send this written ambassador to you,
To demonstrate my obligation, not to show off my intellect.
This obligation is so great that my poor intellect
May look poorer, by failing to find the right words,
But I hope that you have a good idea
In your soul, that you will be kind to this naked thing.
Until whatever star that guides my movements
Puts me on a good course,
And covers my tattered love with good clothes,
To make me seem worthy of your sweet respect.
Only then could I boast how much I love you;
Until then, I will not show my head anywhere that you may test my love.

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 813 LitCharts Lit Guides
  • Explanations and citation info for 19,134 quotes covering 813 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.