Shakespeare Sonnet 72 Analysis, O lest the world should task you to recite

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This is a short summary of Shakespeare sonnet 72. Continue reading for complete analysis and meaning in the modern text. For the complete list of 154 sonnets, check the collection of Shakespeare Sonnets with analysis. It is highly recommended to buy “The Monument” by Hank Whittemore, which is the best book on Shakespeare Sonnets.

Shakespeare Sonnet 72 (Original Text)

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.
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Shakespeare Sonnet 72 Modern Text (Translation)

Shakespeare sonnet 72 Modern text, translation

Shakespeare Sonnet 72 Analysis

The poet tells the youth that in case the world tests and challenges him to declare “O lest the world should task you to recite “what merits the poet possessed “What merit lived in me” that the youth would love, “that you should love” then the youth should forget about him entirely “After my death, dear love” after the poet dies “forget me quite” because he won’t be able to say anything worthy about the poet “For you in me can nothing worthy prove”

The youth may have to make up some lie about it “Unless you would devise some virtuous lie,” which would make the poet seem better than he deserves to be “To do more for me than mine own desert, “where the youth may praise him much more than necessary instead of the actual truth “And hang more praise upon deceased”

And to prevent the youths true love and respect from appearing false “lest your true love may seem false in this,” which might happen especially if the youth speaks false praise about the poet out of love for him, the poet thus requests the youth to let his name be buried once and for all along with his dead body “My name be buried where my body is, “which then can bring no shame upon him or the youth “no more to shame nor me nor you.”

The poet concludes by saying that he is ashamed “For I am shamed” for what he has produced being nothing worthy of mention “that which I bring forth, “and the youth should also be ashamed to love something worthless. “And so should you, to love things nothing wort”

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