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Modern Text

Some say thy fault is youth, some wantonness,
Some say thy grace is youth and gentle sport;
Both grace and faults are loved of more and less;
Thou mak’st faults graces that to thee resort.
As on the finger of a thronèd queen
The basest jewel will be well esteemed,
So are those errors that in thee are seen
To truths translated, and for true things deemed.
How many lambs might the stern wolf betray,
If like a lamb he could his looks translate;
How many gazers mightst thou lead away,
If thou wouldst use the strength of all thy state!
  But do not so. I love thee in such sort,
  As thou being mine, mine is thy good report.
Some say your fault is your youth, others that the problem is your lustfulness. Some say your youth and playfulness are charming. Both important and unimportant people love your charms and your faults too. You turn your faults into sources of charm. Just as a worthless jewel is regarded as valuable when a queen is wearing it, so the sins that people see you commit are turned into good characteristics and regarded as good. How many lambs could the grim wolf trick if he could make himself look like a lamb? How many people might you lead astray if you seduced them with the full force of your beauty and social position? But don’t do that. I love you so much (since you are mine) that your reputation extends to me as well.

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