Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation Sonnet 96
Some say thy fault is youth, some wantonness, Some say thy grace is youth and gentle sport; Both grace and faults are loved of more and less; Thou mak’st faults graces that to thee resort. As on the finger of a thronèd queen The basest jewel will be well esteemed, So are those errors that in thee are seen To truths translated, and for true things deemed. How many lambs might the stern wolf betray, If like a lamb he could his looks translate; How many gazers mightst thou lead away, If thou wouldst use the strength of all thy state! But do not so. I love thee in such sort, As thou being mine, mine is thy good report.
Some say that your flaw is youth, some say it is promiscuity,
Some say your charm is youthfulness and noble past-times;
High- and low-born people love these charms and flaws;
You turn faults into charm, when they flock to you.
As on the finger of a crowned queen
The smallest jewel will be highly prized,
Those flaws that you have are also
Translated into virtues, and judged to be virtues.
How many lambs could the stern wolf deceive,
If he could transform his looks into those of a lamb?
How many onlookers could you mislead,
If you used all the powers of your condition!
But do not do so. I love you in such a way that
Since you are mine, your good reputation is also mine.