How can my muse want subject to invent
While thou dost breathe, that pour’st into my verse
Thine own sweet argument, too excellent
For every vulgar paper to rehearse?
O give thyself the thanks, if aught in me
Worthy perusal stand against thy sight.
For who’s so dumb that cannot write to thee,
When thou thyself dost give invention light?
Be thou the tenth muse, ten times more in worth
Than those old nine which rhymers invocate;
And he that calls on thee, let him bring forth
Eternal numbers to outlive long date.
If my slight muse do please these curious days,
The pain be mine, but thine shall be the praise.
How could I lack things to write about while you’re alive? You pour inspiration into my poetry by giving me the sweetest subject to write about: yourself—too excellent a subject for ordinary writers to describe. Oh, give yourself the credit if you see anything in my writing that’s worth reading. For who is so speechless that he can’t write to you, when you yourself provide the creative spark? You should be the tenth muse, worth ten times more than those other nine invoked by poets. And whoever calls on you for inspiration, let him write eternal verses, to outlive even the farthest reaches of time. If my little bit of inspiration happens to please today’s demanding readers, the painful work can be mine, but the praise shall be yours.