A line-by-line translation

Shakespeare's Sonnets

A line-by-line translation

Shakespeare's Sonnets

Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation Sonnet 38

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How can my muse want subject to invent While thou dost breathe, that pour’st into my verse Thine own sweet argument, too excellent For every vulgar paper to rehearse? O give thyself the thanks, if aught in me Worthy perusal stand against thy sight. For who’s so dumb that cannot write to thee, When thou thyself dost give invention light? Be thou the tenth muse, ten times more in worth Than those old nine which rhymers invocate; And he that calls on thee, let him bring forth Eternal numbers to outlive long date. If my slight muse do please these curious days, The pain be mine, but thine shall be the praise.

How can I lack a subject to write about
While you are breathing, you who pour into my poetry
Your own sweet praise, which is too excellent
To be repeated on every common piece of paper.
Oh, give yourself the credit, if anything in me
Worthy of reading survives your looking at it.
For who is so stupid that they can't write to you,
When you yourself give light to all invention?
You are the tenth muse, ten times worthier
Than the old nine muses that other rhymers call upon,
And whoever calls on you, let him give birth to
Everlasting verses that will outlive a long life.
If my small muse pleases this demanding age,
The pain of writing will be mine, but the acclaim will be yours.

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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.