Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation Sonnet 86
Was it the proud full sail of his great verse, Bound for the prize of all too precious you, That did my ripe thoughts in my brain inhearse, Making their tomb the womb wherein they grew? Was it his spirit, by spirits taught to write Above a mortal pitch, that struck me dead? No, neither he, nor his compeers by night Giving him aid, my verse astonishèd. He, nor that affable familiar ghost Which nightly gulls him with intelligence, As victors of my silence cannot boast. I was not sick of any fear from thence; But when your countenance filled up his line, Then lacked I matter, that enfeebled mine.
Was it the magnificent sail of his great verse,
Sailing towards the all-too precious prize that you are,
That buried my ripe thoughts in my brain,
Making the womb in which they grew a tomb?
Was it his spirit, guided by spirits to write
Better than any mortal can, that struck me dead?
No, neither he, nor his associates who at night
Helped him write, astonished my writing into silence.
Neither he, nor that friendly ghost
Which tricks him with false information,
Are responsible for my silence.
I was not afraid of any of them;
But when your face delighted at his verse,
Then I lost my subject, that made my writing feeble.
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