SONNET 4 |
Unthrifty loveliness, why dost thou spend
Upon thyself thy beauty's legacy?
Nature's bequest gives nothing but doth lend,
And being frank she lends to those are free.
Then, beauteous niggard, why dost thou abuse
The bounteous largess given thee to give?
Profitless usurer, why dost thou use
So great a sum of sums, yet canst not live?
For having traffic with thyself alone,
Thou of thyself thy sweet self dost deceive.
Then how, when nature calls thee to be gone,
What acceptable audit canst thou leave?
Thy unused beauty must be tomb'd with thee,
Which, used, lives th' executor to be.
Unthrifty (1): wasteful or unprofitable.
beauty's legacy (2): the beauty passed down to you (that should extend to your children). Your beauty is but a loan from nature: you must not hoard it.
frank (4): generous.
free (4): liberal/generous.
niggard (5): miser.
usurer (7): moneylender.
traffic with thyself alone (9): A moneylender would not turn a profit if he lent only to himself.
th' executor to be (14): the child he would bear.
How to cite this article:
Shakespeare, William. Sonnet 4. Ed. Amanda Mabillard. Shakespeare Online. 20 Aug. 2000. (date when you accessed the information) < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/sonnets/4.html >.
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