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Then give me welcome, next my heaven the best,
Even to thy pure and most-most loving breast.


O, for
my sake do you with a Fortune chide,
The guilty goddess of my harmful deeds,
That did not better for my life provide,
Than public means, which public manners breeds.
Thence comes it that my name receives à brand;
And almost thence my nature is subdu'd
To what it works in, like the dyer's hand:
Pity me, then, and wish I were renew'd;
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 stamp'd upon my brow;
For what care I who calls me well or ill,

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 steel'd sense' or changes right or wrong.c
In so profound abysm I throw all care
Of others' voices, that my adder's sense'
To critic and to flatterer stopped are.
Mark how with my neglect I do dispense:-
You are so strongly in my purpose bred,

That all the world besides methinks are dead.


Since I left you, mine eye is in my mind;
And that which governs me to go about

- do you with Fortune chide,-] The quarto corruptly reads, "wish," for "with." To chide with is to quarrel with. So, in "Cymbeline," Act V. Sc. 4,

"With Mars fall out, with Juno chide," &c.

Again, in "Othello," Act IV. Sc. 3,

"The business of the state does him offence,
And he does chide with you."

b- eisel,-] "Eisel" is vinegar, which, as Malone remarks, was esteemed very efficacious in preventing the communication of infectious distempers.


None else to me, nor I to none alive,

That my steel'd sense' or changes right or wrong.]

Steevens explains this,-"You are the only person who has power to change my stubborn resolution, either to what is right, or to what is wrong."

d critic-] Cynic.

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methinks are dead.] In the old copy, "Methinks y'are dead."

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:b
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 deformed'st creature,
The mountain or the sea, the day or night,
The crow or dove, it shapes them to
Incapable of more, replete with you,
My most true mind thus maketh mine untrue.c




Or whether doth my mind, being crown'd 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, 't is the first; 't is flattery 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 poison'd, 't is 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 judgment knew no reason why
My most full flame should afterwards burn clearer.
But reckoning Time, whose million'd accidents
Creep in 'twixt vows, and change decrees of kings,
Tan sacred beauty, blunt the sharp'st intents,
Divert strong minds to the course of altering things;
Alas, why, fearing of Time's tyranny,

Might I not then say, "Now I love you best,"

Doth part his function,-] Performs part of his office.

b which it doth latch] To latch is to seize, or catch. The quarto in error reads, "doth lack."

My most true mind thus maketh mine untrue.] "I once suspected that Shakespeare wrote,


'My most true mind thus makes mine eye untrue.'

' Thy most true mind thus maketh mine untrue.'

But the text is undoubtedly right. The word untrue is used as a substantive. The sincerity of my affection is the cause of my untruth,' i. e. of my not seeing objects truly, such as they appear to the rest of mankind. So in Measure for Measure,''Say what you can, my false outweighs your true."-MALONE.

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 doth grow?


Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,a
Or bends with the remover to remove:

O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,

That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;"

It is the star to every wandering bark,

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 prov'd,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.


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-purchas'd 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,d
But shoot not at me in your waken'd hate;

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Like a great sea-mark, standing every flaw,
And saving those that eye thee!"

e Love's not Time's fool,-] So, in "Henry IV." Part I. Act V. Sc. 4,

"But thought's the slave of life, and life Time's fool."

See note ad l. p. 788, Vol. I.

Bring me within the level of your frown,-] The "level" meant the range thus, in "The Winter's Tale," Act II. Sc. 3,

66 for the harlot king

Is quite beyond mine arm, out of the blank
And level of my brain."

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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 eagera 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 diseas'd, ere that there was true needing.
Thus policy in love, to anticipate

The ills that were not, grew to faults assur'd,
And brought to medicine a healthful state,
Which, rank of goodness, would by ill be cur'd.
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,
Distill'd from limbecs 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 blessed never!

How have mine eyes out of their spheres been fitted,c
In the distraction of this madding fever!

O, benefit of ill! now I find true

That better is by evil still made better;

And ruin'd love, when it is built anew,

Grows fairer than at first, more strong, far greater.
So I return rebuk'd to my content,

And gain by illd thrice more than I have spent.


That you were once unkind befriends me now,
And for that sorrow which I then did feel

·eager-] "Eager," Fr. aigre, is tart, sour, poignant. So, in "Hamlet," Act I. Sc. 5,


66 it doth posset

And curd, like eager droppings into milk."

rank of goodness,-] That is, flush or brimful of goodness. So in "Antony and Cleopatra," Act V. Sc. 2,

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their thick breaths,

e How have mine eyes out of their spheres been fitted,-] "Fitted" here means started, as by paroxysins. Compare, "Hamlet," Act I. Sc. 5,

"Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres;"

and also," Pericles," Act II. Sc. 1,

"If it be a day fits you, scratch out of the calendar," &c.

And gain by ill-] Old copy, "by ills."



Needs must I under my transgression bow,
Unless my nerves were brass or hammer'd steel.
For if you were by my unkindness shaken,
As I by yours, you've pass'd a hell of time;
And I, a tyrant, have no leisure taken
To weigh how once I suffer'd in your crime.
O, that our night of woe might have remember'da
My deepest sense, how hard true sorrow hits,
And soon to you, as you to me then, tender'd
The humble salve which wounded bosoms fits!
But that your trespass now becomes a fee;
Mine ransoms yours, and yours must ransom me.


"Tis better to be vile than vile-esteem'd,
When not to be receives reproach of being,
And the just pleasure lost, which is so deem'd
Not by our feeling, but by others' seeing:
For why should others' false-adulterate eyes
Give salutation to my sportive blood?b
Or on my frailties why are frailer spies,

Which in their wills count bad what I think good?
No.-I am that I am; and they that level

At my abuses reckon up their own:

I may be straight, though they themselves be bevel;c
By their rank thoughts my deeds must not be shown;
Unless this general evil they maintain,-

All men are bad, and in their badness reign.


Thy gift, thy tables, are within my brain
Full character'd with lasting memory,
Which shall above that idle rank remain,
Beyond all date, even to eternity:
Or, at the least, so long as brain and heart
Have faculty by nature to subsist;
Till each to raz'd oblivion yield his part
Of thee, thy record never can be miss'd.
That poor retention could not so much hold,
Nor need I tallies thy dear love to score;
Therefore to give them from me was I bold,
To trust those tables that receive thee more:

81 remember'd-] Reminded. So in "Richard III." Act II. Sc. 4,if I had been remember'd," &c.

b Give salutation to my sportive blood?] See note (*), p. 546, Vol. II.

bevel;] Crooked.

That poor retention could not so much hold,-]" That poor retention is the tablebook given to him by his friend, incapable of retaining, or rather of containing, so much as the tablet of the brain."-MALONE.

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