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O truant Muse, what shall be thy amends
For thy neglect of truth in beauty dyed?
Both truth and beauty on my love depends;
So dost thou too, and therein dignified.
Make answer, Muse: wilt thou not haply say
Truth needs no color, with his color fixed,
Beauty no pencil, beauty’s truth to lay;
But best is best if never intermixed?
Because he needs no praise, wilt thou be dumb?
Excuse not silence so, for ’t lies in thee
To make him much outlive a gilded tomb,
And to be praised of ages yet to be.
  Then do thy office, Muse. I teach thee how
  To make him seem long hence as he shows now.
(Continuing from Sonnet 100) Oh truant Muse, how are you going to make amends for neglecting my beloved, the embodiment of truth bound up with beauty? Both truth and beauty depend upon my beloved. You depend on, and are dignified by, him too. Answer me, Muse; perhaps you’ll say, “Truth doesn’t need to be embellished when it’s already attached to beauty. Beauty doesn’t need to be poetically described in order for its truth to be apparent. Whatever is best is best when it’s not mixed with anything else.” But just because my beloved needs no praise, will you be silent? You can’t excuse this silence, as you have the ability to make him live longer than a golden tomb and win the praise of future ages. Then do your job, Muse. I’ll teach you how to make him look in the distant future like he does now.

Popular pages: Shakespeare’s Sonnets