Than you shall hear the surly sullen bell
Give warning to the world that I am fled
From this vile world with vilest worms to dwell:
Nay, if you read this line, remember not
The hand that writ it, for I love you so,
That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot,
If thinking on me then should make you woe.
O! if, I say, you look upon this verse,
When I perhaps compounded am with clay,
Do not so much as my poor name rehearse;
But let your love even with my life decay;
Lest the wise world should look into your moan,
And mock you with me after I am gone.
Sonnet 71: Translation to modern English
When I’m dead don’t mourn for me any longer than you can hear the surly sullen bell telling the world that I’ve fled this vile world to live with the even more vile worms. No, if you read this line, don’t remember the hand that wrote it because I love you so much that I would like you to forget me rather than that, thinking about me, such thoughts would make you sad. Oh, I insist that if you read this poem when I’m, perhaps, mixed with clay, you must not even utter my poor name but let your love die with me in case the world, in its wisdom, should look closely at your mourning and mock you about me once I’ve gone.