We present this work in honor of the poet’s 480th birthday.
‘Tis not because my strength outranks both flame and brand,
Nor because my facets display a cunning hand,
Nor because, set in fine-wrought gold, I shine so bright,
Nor even that I’m pure, whiter than Phoebus’ light,
But rather because my form is a heart, like unto
My Mistress’ heart (but for hardness), that I’m sent to you.
For all things must yield to unfettered purity
And she is my true equal in each quality.
For who would fail to grant that once I had been sent,
My Mistress should thus, in turn, find favour and content?
May it please, from these omens I shall gather strength
And thus from Queen to equal Queen I’ll pass at length.
O would I could join them with an iron band alone
(Though all prefer gold) and unite their hearts as one
That neither envy, greed nor gossip’s evil play,
Nor mistrust, nor ravaging time could wear away.
Then they’d say among treasures I was most renowned,
For I’d have two great jewels in one setting bound.
Then with my glitt’ring rays I should confound the sight
Of all who saw me, dazzling enemies with my light.
Then, by my worth and by her art, I should be known
As the diamond, the greatest jewel, the mighty stone.