Shakespeare's Sonnets - Sonnet 117
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Last updated: Fri, Jul 31, 2015
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In this first of a group of four sonnets of self-accusation and of attempts at explanation, the poet lists the charges that can be made against him, and then says he was merely testing the beloved’s love.
Accuse me thus: that I have scanted all
Wherein I should your great deserts repay,
Forgot upon your dearest love to call,
4Whereto 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
8Which should transport me farthest from your sight.
Book both my willfulness and errors down,
And on just proof surmise accumulate;
Bring me within the level of your frown,
12But shoot not at me in your wakened hate,
Since my appeal says I did strive to prove
The constancy and virtue of your love.