Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: The Sonnets (Modern)
  • Editor: Michael Best

  • Copyright Internet Shakespeare Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-proift purposes; for all other uses contact the Coordinating Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Michael Best
    Not Peer Reviewed

    The Sonnets (Modern)

    O call not me to justify the wrong
    That thy unkindness lays upon my heart;
    Wound me not with thine eye but with thy tongue;
    2075Use power with power, and slay me not by art.
    Tell me thou lov'st elsewhere; but in my sight,
    Dear heart, forbear to glance thine eye aside.
    What need'st thou wound with cunning, when thy might
    Is more than my o'erpressed defense can bide?
    2080Let me excuse thee: ah, my love well knows
    Her pretty looks have been mine enemies,
    And therefore from my face she turns my foes
    That they elsewhere might dart their injuries.
    Yet do not so, but since I am near slain,
    2085 Kill me outright with looks, and rid my pain.
    Be wise as thou art cruel, do not press
    My tongue-tied patience with too much disdain,
    Lest sorrow lend me words, and words express
    2090The manner of my pity-wanting pain.
    If I might teach thee wit, better it were,
    Though not to love, yet love to tell me so,
    As testy sick men, when their deaths be near,
    No news but health from their physicians know.
    2095For if I should despair, I should grow mad,
    And in my madness might speak ill of thee;
    Now this ill-wresting world is grown so bad,
    Mad slanderers by mad ears believed be.
    That I may not be so, nor thou belied,
    2100 Bear thine eyes straight, though thy proud heart go wide.
    In faith, I do not love thee with mine eyes,
    For they in thee a thousand errors note;
    But 'tis my heart that loves what they despise,
    2105Who in despite of view is pleased to dote.
    Nor are mine ears with thy tongue's tune delighted,
    Nor tender feeling to base touches prone,
    Nor taste, nor smell, desire to be invited
    To any sensual feast with thee alone:
    2110But my five wits, nor my five senses, can
    Dissuade one foolish heart from serving thee,
    Who leaves unswayed the likeness of a man,
    Thy proud heart's slave and vassal wretch to be:
    Only my plague thus far I count my gain,
    2115 That she that makes me sin, awards me pain.