Original Text

Modern Text

Why is my verse so barren of new pride,
So far from variation or quick change?
Why with the time do I not glance aside
To new-found methods and to compounds strange?
Why write I still all one, ever the same,
And keep invention in a noted weed,
That every word doth almost tell my name,
Showing their birth, and where they did proceed?
O know, sweet love, I always write of you,
And you and love are still my argument.
So all my best is dressing old words new,
Spending again what is already spent:
  For as the sun is daily new and old,
  So is my love still telling what is told.
Why is my poetry so lacking in new ornaments, so determined in avoiding variation and change? Why don’t I, like everyone else these days, take a look at the new literary styles and weird combinations of other writers? Why do I always write the same thing, always the same, and always in the same distinctive style, so that almost every word I write tells you who wrote it, where it was born, and where it comes from? Oh, you should know, sweet love, I always write about you, and you and love are continually my subjects. So the best I can do is find new words to say the same thing, spending again what I’ve already spent: Just as the sun is new and old every day, my love for you keeps making me tell what I’ve already told.

Popular pages: Shakespeare’s Sonnets