Sonnet 84

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Sonnet 84

Who is it that says most, which can say more,
Than this rich praise, that you alone are you,
In whose confine immured is the store
Which should example where your equal grew?
Lean penury within that pen doth dwell
That to his subject lends not some small glory;
But he that writes of you, if he can tell
That you are you, so dignifies his story.
Let him but copy what in you is writ,
Not making worse what nature made so clear,
And such a counterpart shall fame his wit,
Making his style admired every where.
You to your beauteous blessings add a curse,
Being fond on praise, which makes your praises worse.

–William Shakespeare

Sonnet 84 is one of 154 sonnets written by the English playwright and poet William Shakespeare. It's a member of the Fair Youth sequence, in which the poet expresses his love towards a young man.


Who can say more than that the youth is who he is? Writing normally adds glory to its theme, but the youth can only glorify writing by his own perfection, creating a literary style to be admired. But the youth's love of flattery corrupts the praises of his admirers.