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My tongue-tied muse in manners holds her still,
While comments of your praise, richly compiled,
Reserve their character with golden quill
And precious phrase by all the muses filed.
I think good thoughts, whilst other write good words,
And like unlettered clerk still cry “Amen”
To every hymn that able spirit affords,
In polished form of well-refinèd pen.
Hearing you praised, I say “'Tis so, ’tis true,”
And to the most of praise add something more;
But that is in my thought, whose love to you,
Though words come hindmost, holds his rank before.
  Then others for the breath of words respect,
  Me for my dumb thoughts, speaking in effect.
My mute poetry politely remains silent, while commentaries praising you pile up, capturing the essence of your character in golden words and precious phrases inspired by all the muses. I think good thoughts about you while other people write good words, and like an illiterate parish clerk I continually cry


Parish clerks told the church congregation when to respond and when to say “amen” during services.

to every poem of praise that capable poets produce about you in their polished and refined style. When I hear you praised, I say, “That’s right, that’s true,” and add a little something to their utmost praise of you. What I add is only in my own mind, but in my own mind I know I love you the most, though I speak the least. So respect others for the words of praise they offer you, but respect me for my silent thoughts, which express themselves only in actions.

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