Original Text

Modern Text

So is it not with me as with that muse,
Stirred by a painted beauty to his verse,
Who heav'n itself for ornament doth use,
And every fair with his fair doth rehearse—
Making a couplement of proud compare
With sun and moon, with earth and sea’s rich gems,
With April’s first-born flow'rs, and all things rare
That heaven’s air in this huge rondure hems.
O let me, true in love but truly write,
And then believe me: my love is as fair
As any mother’s child, though not so bright
As those gold candles fixed in heaven’s air.
  Let them say more that like of hearsay well;
  I will not praise that purpose not to sell.
I’m not like that other poet who writes about a woman who’s pretty because she wears a lot of makeup. In his verses, he compares her to heaven itself, and to every other beautiful thing—the sun and moon, the rich gems of earth and sea, the first flowers of April, and all the rest of the precious things on the face of the earth. Since I really am in love, I just want to write the truth, and when I do, believe me—my lover is as beautiful as any human being, though maybe not as bright as the stars. Whoever actually likes those love-poem clichés can say more; I’m not trying to sell anything, so I won’t waste time with praise.

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