|O, for my sake do you with fortune chide,
|The guilty goddess of my harmful deeds,
|That did not better for my life provide
|Then public means which public manners breeds.
|Thence comes it that my name receives a brand,
|And almost thence my nature is subdued
|To what it works in, like the dyer's hand.
|Pity me then, and wish I were renewed,
|Whilst like a willing patient I will drink
|Potions of eisel 'gainst my strong infection ;
|No bitterness that I will bitter think,
|Nor double penance to correct correction.
| Pity me then, dear friend, and I assure ye
| Even that your pity is enough to cure me.
|Your love and pity doth th'impression fill
|Which vulgar scandal stamped upon my brow ;
|For what care I who calls me well or ill,
|So you o'er-green my bad, my good allow ?
|You are my all the world, and I must strive
|To know my shames and praises from your tongue -
|None else to me, nor I to none alive,
|That my steeled sense or changes, right or wrong.
|In so profound abyss I throw all care
|Of others' voices that my adder's sense
|To critic and to flatterer stoppèd are.
|Mark how with my neglect I do dispense :
| You are so strongly in my purpose bred
| That all the world besides, methinks, they're dead.
|Since I left you mine eye is in my mind,
|And that which governs me to go about
|Doth part his function and is partly blind,
|Seems seeing, but effectually is out ;
|For it no form delivers to the heart
|Of bird, of flower, or shape which it doth latch.
|Of his quick objects hath the mind no part,
|Nor his own vision holds what it doth catch ;
|For if it see the rud'st or gentlest sight,
|The most sweet favour or deformèdst creature,
|The mountain or the sea, the day or night,
|The crow or dove, it shapes them to your feature.
| Incapable of more, replete with you,
| My most true mind thus makes mine eye untrue.
|Or whether doth my mind, being crowned with you,
|Drink up the monarch's plague, this flattery,
|Or whether shall I say mine eye saith true,
|And that your love taught it this alchemy,
|To make of monsters and things indigest
|Such cherubins as your sweet self resemble,
|Creating every bad a perfect best
|As fast as objects to his beams assemble ?
|O, 'tis the first, 'tis flatt'ry in my seeing,
|And my great mind most kingly drinks it up.
|Mine eye well knows what with his gust is 'greeing,
|And to his palate doth prepare the cup.
| If it be poisoned, 'tis the lesser sin
| That mine eye loves it and doth first begin.
|Those lines that I before have writ do lie,
|Even those that said I could not love you dearer ;
|Yet then my judgement knew no reason why
|My most full flame should afterwards burn clearer.
|But reckoning time, whose millioned accidents
|Creep in 'twixt vows and change decrees of kings,
|Tan sacred beauty, blunt the sharp'st intents,
|Divert strong minds to th' course of alt'ring things -
|Alas, why, fearing of time's tyranny,
|Might I not then say 'Now I love you best',
|When I was certain o'er incertainty,
|Crowning the present, doubting of the rest ?
| Love is a babe ; then might I not say so,
| To give full growth to that which still
|Let me not to the marriage of true minds
|Admit impediments. Love is not love
|Which alters when it alteration finds,
|Or bends with the remover to remove.
|O no, it is an ever fixèd mark
|That looks on tempests and is never shaken ;
|It is the star to every wand'ring barque,
|Whose worth's unknown although his height be taken.
|Love's not time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
|Within his bending sickle's compass come ;
|Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
|But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
| If this be error and upon me proved,
| I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
|Accuse me thus : that I have scanted all
|Wherein I should your great deserts repay,
|Forgot upon your dearest love to call
|Whereto all bonds do tie me day by day ;
|That I have frequent been with unknown minds,
|And given to time your own dear-purchased right ;
|That I have hoisted sail to all the winds
|Which should transport me farthest from your sight.
|Book both my wilfulness and errors down,
|And on just proof surmise accumulate ;
|Bring me within the level of your frown,
|But shoot not at me in your wakened hate,
| Since my appeal says I did strive to prove
| The constancy and virtue of your love.
|Like as, to make our appetites more keen,
|With eager compounds we our palate urge ;
|As to prevent our maladies unseen
|We sicken to shun sickness when we purge :
|Even so, being full of your ne'er cloying sweetness,
|To bitter sauces did I frame my feeding,
|And, sick of welfare, found a kind of meetness
|To be diseased ere that there was true needing.
|Thus policy in love, t'anticipate
|The ills that were not, grew to faults assured,
|And brought to medicine a healthful state
|Which, rank of goodness, would by ill be cured
| But thence I learn, and find the lesson true :
| Drugs poison him that so fell sick of you.
|What potions have I drunk of siren tears
|Distilled from limbecks foul as hell within,
|Applying fears to hopes and hopes to fears,
|Still losing when I saw myself to win !
|What wretched errors hath my heart committed
|Whilst it hath thought itself so blessèd never !
|How have mine eyes out of their spheres been fitted
|In the distraction of this madding fever !
|O benefit of ill ! Now I find true
|That better is by evil still made better
|And ruined love when it is built anew
|Grows fairer than at first, more strong, far greater.
| So I return rebuked to my content,
| And gain by ills thrice more than I have spent.
|That you were once unkind befriends me now,
|And for that sorrow which I then did feel
|Needs must I under my transgression bow,
|Unless my nerves were brass or hammered steel.
|For if you were by my unkindness shaken
|As I by yours, you've past a hell of time,
|And I, a tyrant, have no leisure taken
|To weigh how once I suffered in your crime.
|O that our night of woe might have remembered
|My deepest sense how hard true sorry hits,
|And soon to you as you to me then tendered
|The humble salve which wounded bosoms fits !
| But that your trespass now becomes a fee ;
| Mine ransoms yours, and yours must ransom me.
|William Shakespeare |