Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation Sonnet 94
They that have pow'r to hurt, and will do none, That do not do the thing they most do show, Who moving others are themselves as stone, Unmovèd, cold, and to temptation slow, They rightly do inherit heaven’s graces, And husband nature’s riches from expense. They are the lords and owners of their faces; Others but stewards of their excellence. The summer’s flow'r is to the summer sweet, Though to itself it only live and die. But if that flow'r with base infection meet, The basest weed outbraves his dignity. For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds; Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.
People who have the power to hurt, but will not do any,
Who do not do the thing that they most seem to be doing,
Who move others but are themselves like stone,
Unmoved, cold, and slow to respond to temptation,
They correctly inherit heaven's blessings,
And manage nature's riches so that they are not wasted.
They are the masters of their own emotions;
Others are only the caretakers of their virtues.
The summer's flower is sweet to the summer,
Although by itself it only lives and dies.
But if that flower meets a disgusting infection,
The lowliest weed surpasses its dignity.
Sweetest things turn the most sour by the wrong actions;
Lilies that are rotten smell far worse than weeds.
LitCharts A+ members also get exclusive access to:
- Downloadable translations of every Shakespeare play and sonnet
- Downloads of 946 LitCharts Lit Guides
- Explanations and citation info for 21,672 quotes covering 946 books
- Teacher Editions for every Lit Guide
- PDFs defining 136 key Lit Terms