Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation Sonnet 87
Farewell, thou art too dear for my possessing, And like enough thou know’st thy estimate. The charter of thy worth gives thee releasing; My bonds in thee are all determinate. For how do I hold thee but by thy granting, And for that riches where is my deserving? The cause of this fair gift in me is wanting, And so my patent back again is swerving. Thyself thou gav’st, thy own worth then not knowing, Or me, to whom thou gav’st it, else mistaking; So thy great gift, upon misprision growing, Comes home again, on better judgment making. Thus have I had thee as a dream doth flatter: In sleep a king, but waking no such matter.
Goodbye. You are too precious to be my possession,
And you probably know how valuable you are.
The privileges of your worth frees you from obligations;
My rights over you have all expired.
For how can I hold you unless by your permission,
And how can I be deserving of such riches?
The only cause for this beautiful gift is wanting,
And so my right to have you returns to you.
You gave yourself when you didn't know your own worth,
Or you thought differently of me, who you gave yourself to;
So your great gift to me, which started from a mistake,
Comes back to you, so you can make a better decision.
Thus I possessed you like a flattering dream:
In sleep I am a king, but when I wake I am no such thing.
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