Original Text

Modern Text

So am I as the rich whose blessèd key
Can bring him to his sweet up-lockèd treasure,
The which he will not every hour survey,
For blunting the fine point of seldom pleasure.
Therefore are feasts so solemn and so rare,
Since seldom coming in the long year set,
Like stones of worth they thinly placèd are,
Or captain jewels in the carcanet.
So is the time that keeps you as my chest,
Or as the wardrobe which the robe doth hide,
To make some special instant special blest
By new unfolding his imprisoned pride.
  Blessèd are you whose worthiness gives scope,
  Being had, to triumph; being lacked, to hope.
I’m like a rich man who has the key to a great treasure chest, but who resists opening it every hour, because he doesn’t want to spoil his pleasure by getting too used to the treasure. That’s why holiday feasts are so infrequent: Spaced out across the year, they’re like precious jewels placed evenly across a crown. In the same way, the time that keeps us apart is my treasure chest, or it’s like a closet that hides a beautiful robe— the closet makes a special occasion even more special when it is opened to reveal its hidden splendor. You are blessed with such great worth that those who are with you feel triumphant, and those who are not with you hope to be.

Popular pages: Shakespeare’s Sonnets