Sonnet 82

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Sonnet 82

I grant thou wert not married to my Muse,
And therefore mayst without attaint o'erlook
The dedicated words which writers use
Of their fair subject, blessing every book.
Thou art as fair in knowledge as in hue,
Finding thy worth a limit past my praise;
And therefore art enforced to seek anew
Some fresher stamp of the time-bettering days.
And do so, love; yet when they have devis'd,
What strained touches rhetoric can lend,
Thou truly fair, wert truly sympathiz'd
In true plain words, by thy true-telling friend;
And their gross painting might be better used
Where cheeks need blood; in thee it is abused.

–William Shakespeare

Sonnet 82 is one of 154 sonnets written by the English playwright and poet William Shakespeare. It is a member of the Fair Youth sequence, in which the poet expresses his love towards a young man.


Not being married to the poet's muse, the youth can honourably respond to other poets' muses without being accused of infidelity. But the youth shouldn't be too attracted to flashy and unrealistic rhetoric. The poet's own simple truthfulness more accurately represents the youth's beauty. Other poets only need to use artificial rhetoric to enhance anaemic figures.