Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation Sonnet 72
O lest the world should task you to recite What merit lived in me that you should love After my death, dear love, forget me quite, For you in me can nothing worthy prove; Unless you would devise some virtuous lie, To do more for me than mine own desert, And hang more praise upon deceasèd I Than niggard truth would willingly impart. O lest your true love may seem false in this, That you for love speak well of me untrue, My name be buried where my body is, And live no more to shame nor me nor you. For I am shamed by that which I bring forth, And so should you, to love things nothing worth.
Oh, in case the world makes you recite
What merits I had that would justify your love
After my death, dear love, completely forget me,
Since you would be able to prove that there was nothing worthy in me;
Unless you would make up some virtuous lie,
To praise me more than I deserve,
And hang more praise on my dead self
Than miserly truth would willingly give out.
Oh so that your true love does not seem false in this
That you, out of love, speak well of me untruthfully,
Let my name be buried where my body is,
And die with it to shame neither me nor you.
For I am ashamed by what I produce,
And so should you be, to love worthless things like me.
LitCharts A+ members also get exclusive access to:
- Downloadable translations of every Shakespeare play and sonnet
- Downloads of 987 LitCharts Lit Guides
- Explanations and citation info for 22,519 quotes covering 987 books
- Teacher Editions for every Lit Guide
- PDFs defining 136 key Lit Terms