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Let me confess that we two must be twain,
Although our undivided loves are one.
So shall those blots that do with me remain
Without thy help by me be borne alone.
In our two loves there is but one respect,
Though in our lives a separable spite,
Which, though it alter not love’s sole effect,
Yet doth it steal sweet hours from love’s delight.
I may not evermore acknowledge thee,
Lest my bewailèd guilt should do thee shame;
Nor thou with public kindness honor me,
Unless thou take that honor from thy name.
  But do not so; I love thee in such sort,
  As, thou being mine, mine is thy good report.
I acknowledge that the two of us have to part, even though we’re united in love. That way I can take those disgraces that we’ve incurred together all onto myself, bearing them without any help from you. Our love for one another gives us common cause, despite this awful situation that forces us apart, which, though it can’t prevent us from being united in love, still robs us of sweet hours of pleasure together. I can never greet you openly again, because my guilt would bring shame upon you. Nor can you ever honor me with public kindness without dishonoring your own reputation. But don’t do that. I love you so much that I value your good reputation as my own.

Popular pages: Shakespeare’s Sonnets