Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation Sonnet 70
That thou art blamed shall not be thy defect, For slander’s mark was ever yet the fair; The ornament of beauty is suspéct, A crow that flies in heaven’s sweetest air. So thou be good, slander doth but approve Thy worth the greater, being wooed of time; For canker vice the sweetest buds doth love, And thou present’st a pure unstainèd prime. Thou hast passed by the ambush of young days, Either not assailed, or victor being charged; Yet this thy praise cannot be so thy praise, To tie up envy evermore enlarged. If some suspéct of ill masked not thy show, Then thou alone kingdoms of hearts shouldst owe.
It is not your fault that you will be criticized,
Since slander has always been aimed at beautiful people;
The ornament of beauty is suspicious,
Like a crow that flies in heaven's sweetest air.
If you are good, slander will only confirm
That your worth is greater, since you are wooed by time.
For vice, the canker-worm, loves to eat the sweetest buds,
And you present a pure, uncorrupted youth.
You have survived the traps that target young people,
Either by not being attacked, or the victor taking the blame.
But this praise of yours can't be your praise
To prevent the attacks of envy.
If some suspicion of evil did not cover your appearance,
Then you alone would rule over the kingdoms of lovers.
LitCharts A+ members also get exclusive access to:
- Downloadable translations of every Shakespeare play and sonnet
- Downloads of 965 LitCharts Lit Guides
- Explanations and citation info for 22,053 quotes covering 965 books
- Teacher Editions for every Lit Guide
- PDFs defining 136 key Lit Terms