Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation Sonnet 83
I never saw that you did painting need, And therefore to your fair no painting set. I found, or thought I found, you did exceed The barren tender of a poet’s debt. And therefore have I slept in your report, That you yourself, being extant, well might show How far a modern quill doth come too short, Speaking of worth, what worth in you doth grow. This silence for my sin you did impute, Which shall be most my glory, being dumb. For I impair not beauty, being mute, When others would give life, and bring a tomb. There lives more life in one of your fair eyes Than both your poets can in praise devise.
I never thought you needed makeup,
And therefore added no artifice to your beauty.
I found, or I thought I found, that you were better
Than the barren words with which a poet pays their debt.
And therefore I have not been active in singing your praise,
So that you yourself, being alive, might well show
How far a modern pen can fall too short,
Speaking of worth, what worth in you is growing.
This silence of mine you did condemn
Which will be my biggest triumph, being dumb.
Because I do not harm beauty, being mute,
When others want to give you life, but only make your tomb.
There is more life in one of your beautiful eyes
Than what your two poets can come up with in your praise.
LitCharts A+ members also get exclusive access to:
- Downloadable translations of every Shakespeare play and sonnet
- Downloads of 911 LitCharts Lit Guides
- Explanations and citation info for 21,030 quotes covering 911 books
- Teacher Editions for every Lit Guide
- PDFs defining 136 key Lit Terms