Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation Sonnet 85
My tongue-tied muse in manners holds her still, While comments of your praise, richly compiled, Reserve their character with golden quill And precious phrase by all the muses filed. I think good thoughts, whilst other write good words, And like unlettered clerk still cry “Amen” To every hymn that able spirit affords, In polished form of well-refinèd pen. Hearing you praised, I say “'Tis so, ’tis true,” And to the most of praise add something more; But that is in my thought, whose love to you, Though words come hindmost, holds his rank before. Then others for the breath of words respect, Me for my dumb thoughts, speaking in effect.
My tongue-tied muse politely stays silent,
While commentary on your beauty, rich compositions,
Reserve for their writing a golden pen
And precious phrases that are polished by all the muses.
I think good thoughts about you while others write good words,
And like an illiterate priest, I join in with the "Amen"
To every poem that an able poet offers to you,
In the polished form of a well-refined pen.
When I hear you being praised, I say "It is so, it is true,"
And add something more to the highest praise;
But what is in my thought, since my love for you,
Is of the highest rank, despite the fact that my words are the lowest.
Then respect others for their spoken words,
And respect me for my dumb thoughts, speaking in reality.
LitCharts A+ members also get exclusive access to:
- Downloadable translations of every Shakespeare play and sonnet
- Downloads of 966 LitCharts Lit Guides
- Explanations and citation info for 22,080 quotes covering 966 books
- Teacher Editions for every Lit Guide
- PDFs defining 136 key Lit Terms