A line-by-line translation

Shakespeare's Sonnets

A line-by-line translation

Shakespeare's Sonnets

Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation Sonnet 84

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Who is it that says most, which can say more Than this rich praise, that you alone are you— In whose conf'ne immurèd is the store Which should example where your equal grew? Lean penury within that pen doth dwell That to his subject lends not some small glory. But he that writes of you, if he can tell That you are you, so dignifies his story. Let him but copy what in you is writ, Not making worse what nature made so clear, And such a counterpart shall fame his wit, Making his style admired everywhere. You to your beauteous blessings add a curse, Being fond on praise, which makes your praises worse.

Who is it that says the most, that can say more
Than this rich praise: that only you are you—
In whose body is contained all the store 
Of what any equal of yours would be measured by.
Lean poverty exists in that pen
Which does not lend to his subject even a small glory.
But whoever writes about you, if he can describe
That you are you, his story is worthy enough.
Let him simply copy down what you are,
Not making worse what nature has made so bright,
And that image of you will make his skill famous,
Making his style admired by everyone.
You add a curse to your beautiful blessings:
Being eager to be praised, you make your praise worse.

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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.