Shakespeare Sonnet 95 (Original Text)
How sweet and lovely dost thou make the shameWhich, like a canker in the fragrant rose,Doth spot the beauty of thy budding name!O in what sweets dost thou thy sins enclose!That tongue that tells the story of thy days,Making lascivious comments on thy sport,Cannot dispraise but in a kind of praise;Naming thy name blesses an ill report.O what a mansion have those vices gotWhich for their habitation chose out thee,Where beauty’s veil doth cover every blot,And all things turns to fair that eyes can see!Take heed, dear heart, of this large privilege;The hardest knife ill used doth lose his edge.
Shakespeare Sonnet 95 Modern Text (Translation)
Shakespeare Sonnet 95 Analysis
The poet accuses the fair lord that it is he who creates the fault that ruins his reputation “How sweet and lovely dost thou make the shame” which he compares to a worm infecting the beauty of a rose “Which, like a canker in the fragrant rose, that easily is attracted to the rose “Doth spot the beauty of thy budding name! he asks the youth in what sweet exterior does he hide his faults “O in what sweets dost thou thy sins enclose!”
The person who narrates the history of the youth “That tongue that tells the story of thy days,” also speaks of the youths lusty behavior “Making lascivious comments on thy sport,” and sarcastically turns criticism into praise “Cannot dispraise but in a kind of praise;” and the youth’s name being famous makes bad actions seem good “Naming thy name blesses an ill report.”
Referring to the youth’s beauty, he compares him to a huge mansion hiding vices “O what a mansion have those vices got” and that the sins and vices were attracted to the youth “Which for their habitation chose out thee,” the youth’s beauty is like a veil that covers his sins and so in doing so he is considered a fair and good man since people only see his outward character
He issues a warning to the youth saying that this nature of hypocrisy is a privilege for him hiding his true nature. He says like a strong knife if used wrongly can get blunt, so will the youth if his nature uses this nature of secrecy, he too will lose that advantage and be discovered.