Shakespeare Sonnet 83 Analysis, I never saw that you did painting need

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This is a short summary of Shakespeare sonnet 83. 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 83 (Original Text)

I never saw that you did painting need,
And therefore to your fair no painting set.
I found, or thought I found, you did exceed
The barren tender of a poet’s debt.
And therefore have I slept in your report,
That you yourself, being extant, well might show
How far a modern quill doth come too short,
Speaking of worth, what worth in you doth grow.
This silence for my sin you did impute,
Which shall be most my glory, being dumb.
For I impair not beauty, being mute,
When others would give life, and bring a tomb.
There lives more life in one of your fair eyes
Than both your poets can in praise devise.
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Shakespeare Sonnet 83 Modern Text (Translation)

Shakespeare sonnet 83 translation into modern text

-via SparkNotes

Shakespeare Sonnet 83 Analysis

The poet says it never occurred to him that the fair lord would need to be praised in an exaggerated manner, “I never saw that you did painting need,” That is why he did not describe the youth’s fairness with eloquent speech and pseudo praise, “And therefore to your fair no painting set.” he says he could see or he thought he could “I found, or thought I found, you did exceed” that the youth was above empty and meaningless praise that poets could give him “The barren tender of a poet’s debt.”

This is also why he hasn’t tried too hard to describe the youth “And therefore have I slept in your report,” in a way that the youth could show to people how more worthy and valuable he was “That you yourself, being extant, well might show” than the words of poetry describe him to be, “How far a modern quill doth come too short,” and since speaking of value, he asks the youth with what relevance to his value does the youth harbor doubt against the poet “Speaking of worth, what worth in you doth grow.”

That the youth has now regarded his silence and lack of words as a fault on the part of the poet. “This silence for my sin you did impute” But the poet says he is proud of his silence “Which shall be most my glory, being dumb” because it does not harm or damage the youth’s beauty “For I impair not beauty being mute” like other poets who in trying to praise and write about the youth end up killing his name instead by poor poetry “When others would give life, and bring a tomb”

He tells the youth that there is much more life in one of the youth’s eyes “There lives more life in one of your fair eyes” than any of the poets whom the youth uses could create by praising him “Than both your poets can in praise devise.”

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