Reading of Sonnet 72
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The images in the YouTube video are from an original 1609 edition of Shake-speares Sonnets held by the British Library. It is one of only thirteen copies in existence. Images courtesy of the Octavo Corporation.
Modernized Spelling and Punctuation
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.
Simplified Modern English Translation
Oh, lest the world should command you to declare
what merit I possessed that you should love,
after my death, dear love, forget me quite,
for there is nothing in me that is worthy of you;
unless you should make up some virtuous lie,
to do more for me than I really deserve,
and hang more praising epitaphs upon me
than the truth would actually warrant.
Oh, lest your true love may seem false in this,
that you speak well of me only out of love,
let my name be buried with my body,
so that it may no longer be used to shame either you or me.
For I am shamed by that which I produce,
and so should you, to love things that are so unworthy.
Text from Original 1609 Quarto
Transcription courtesy of University of Virginia Library:
O least the world should taske you to recite,
What merit liu’d in me that you should loue
After my death (deare loue) forget me quite,
For you in me can nothing worthy proue.
Vnlesse you would deuise some vertuous lye,
To doe more for me then mine owne desert,
And hang more praise vpon deceased I,
Then nigard truth would willingly impart:
O least your true loue may seeme falce in this,
That you for loue speake well of me vntrue,
My name be buried where my body is,
And liue no more to shame nor me, nor you.
For I am shamd by that which I bring forth,
And so should you, to loue things nothing worth.