Original Text

Modern Text

When my love swears that she is made of truth
I do believe her, though I know she lies,
That she might think me some untutored youth
Unlearnèd in the world’s false subtleties.
Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young,
Although she knows my days are past the best,
Simply I credit her false speaking tongue;
On both sides thus is simple truth suppressed.
But wherefore says she not she is unjust?
And wherefore say not I that I am old?
O love’s best habit is in seeming trust,
And age in love loves not t' have years told.
  Therefore I lie with her, and she with me,
  And in our faults by lies we flattered be.
When my mistress swears that she’s completely truthful, I believe her even though I know she lies, so that she’ll think that I’m some naïve young man who’s ignorant about the world and the tricks people play. I pretend to stupidly believe her lies while fooling myself into thinking that she thinks I’m young, even though she knows I’m past my prime. In this way, both of us suppress the simple truth. But why doesn’t she say she’s a liar? And why don’t I say that I’m old? Oh, because it’s easiest to love someone who seems to be trustworthy, and old people who are in love hate to hear their age discussed. Therefore, I sleep with her, and she sleeps with me, and we both flatter ourselves by lying about each other’s faults.

Popular pages: Shakespeare’s Sonnets