Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation Sonnet 38
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.
LitCharts A+ members also get exclusive access to:
- Downloadable translations of every Shakespeare play and sonnet
- Downloads of 1174 LitCharts Lit Guides
- Explanations and citation info for 25,982 quotes covering 1174 books
- Teacher Editions for every Lit Guide
- PDFs defining 136 key Lit Terms