Original Text

Modern Text

O lest the world should task you to recite
What merit lived in me that you should love
After my death, dear love, forget me quite,
For you in me can nothing worthy prove;
Unless you would devise some virtuous lie,
To do more for me than mine own desert,
And hang more praise upon deceasèd I
Than niggard truth would willingly impart.
O lest your true love may seem false in this,
That you for love speak well of me untrue,
My name be buried where my body is,
And live no more to shame nor me nor you.
  For I am shamed by that which I bring forth,
  And so should you, to love things nothing worth.
(Continuing from Sonnet 71) Oh, in case the world challenges you to recite what merit I possessed that would justify your loving me, forget about me entirely after I die, dear love. For you won’t find anything worthy to say about me unless you make up some generous lie, which makes me sound better than I deserve, and attach more praise to my dead self than accords with the stingy truth. Oh, to prevent your true love from becoming false, as it will, in part, if you make false statements out of love for me, let my name be buried with my corpse and no longer bring shame to you or me. For I’m ashamed of what I produce, and you should be, too, to love such worthless things.

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