Original Text

Modern Text

How careful was I, when I took my way,
Each trifle under truest bars to thrust,
That to my use it might unusèd stay
From hands of falsehood, in sure wards of trust.
But thou, to whom my jewels trifles are,
Most worthy comfort, now my greatest grief,
Thou best of dearest, and mine only care,
Art left the prey of every vulgar thief.
Thee have I not locked up in any chest,
Save where thou art not, though I feel thou art,
Within the gentle closure of my breast,
From whence at pleasure thou mayst come and part;
  And even thence thou wilt be stol'n, I fear,
  For truth proves thievish for a prize so dear.
I used to be so careful when I’d travel to secure all my trivial possessions with the most reliable locks available so criminals wouldn’t tamper with them. But you, so much more precious than my jewels and my greatest comfort, have become my greatest sadness and worry, because you’re vulnerable to any common thief. I haven’t locked you up in any chest, other than in my own chest, where my heart is, and you’re not really there, even though I feel that you are. You can come and go from my heart as you please, and I’m afraid you’ll be stolen from there, because even an honest man would turn thief to get such a rich prize.

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