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Shakespeare's Sonnets - Sonnet 117


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Shakespeare's Sonnets - Sonnet 117
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Sonnet 117



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.