Shakespeare Sonnet 85 Analysis, My tongue-tied muse in manners holds her still

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This is a short summary of Shakespeare sonnet 85. 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 85 (Original Text)

My tongue-tied muse in manners holds her still,
While comments of your praise, richly compiled,
Reserve their character with golden quill
And precious phrase by all the muses filed.
I think good thoughts, whilst other write good words,
And like unlettered clerk still cry “Amen”
To every hymn that able spirit affords,
In polished form of well-refinèd pen.
Hearing you praised, I say “’Tis so, ’tis true,”
And to the most of praise add something more;
But that is in my thought, whose love to you,
Though words come hindmost, holds his rank before.
Then others for the breath of words respect,
Me for my dumb thoughts, speaking in effect.
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 Shakespeare Sonnet 85 Modern Text (Translation)

Shakespeare sonnet 85 translation in modern text

-via SparkNotes

Shakespeare Sonnet 85 Analysis

The poet says his own writing is silent out of courtesy “My tongue-tied muse in manners holds her still,” even as other writings praising the fair lord’s beauty are collecting and capturing the through verse the essence of his beauty. “While comments of your praise, richly compiled,” Phrases of adulation and praise “Reserve their character with golden quill “are being written by other poets “And precious phrase by all the muses filed.”

The poet says he thinks good of the youth while other poets only write of him. “ I think good thoughts, whilst other write good words, “ He compares himself to an uneducated church clerk who has to blindly agree “And like unlettered clerk still cry “Amen “to every poem of praise that other poets are capable of writing “To every hymn that able spirit affords” using polished and refined words “In polished form of well-refinèd pen”

When the poet hears others praising the youth, he has no option but to agree and say yes “Hearing you praised, I say “’Tis so, ’tis true,” but he also has something to add to the praise of the youth “And to the most of praise add something more;” but that he only thinks in his mind because the poet knows he loves the youth the most “But that is in my thought, whose love to you” and though his poetry comes easily to him, he hardly speaks “Though words come hindmost, holds his rank before.”

He remains silent out of respect of other poets “Then others for the breath of words respect,” but he wants the youth to respect him for his genuine silent thoughts while others only express

themselves in action and words but not in mind. “Me for my dumb thoughts, speaking in effect.”

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