Alack, what poverty my muse brings forth,
That having such a scope to show her pride,
The argument all bare is of more worth
Than when it hath my added praise beside!
O blame me not if I no more can write!
Look in your glass, and there appears a face
That overgoes my blunt invention quite,
Dulling my lines and doing me disgrace.
Were it not sinful then, striving to mend,
To mar the subject that before was well?
For to no other pass my verses tend
Than of your graces and your gifts to tell;
And more, much more than in my verse can sit
Your own glass shows you, when you look in it.
Alas, I’m a poor poet, since even with such a great subject to write about (you), the subject is worth more by itself than with my praise added to it. Don’t blame me if I can’t write anymore! Look in the mirror, and you’ll see a face that quite overwhelms my limited poetic skills, making my lines stupid and thereby disgracing me. It would be a sin, wouldn’t it, if in trying to improve my poetry, I messed up their subject, which was perfectly fine before? For the only things I write about are your charms and your wonderful qualities, and your own mirror will show you far, far more of these than I can possibly fit into my poetry.