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Shakespeare's Sonnets - Sonnet 121


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Shakespeare's Sonnets - Sonnet 121
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Sonnet 121



The poet responds to slurs about his behavior by claiming that he is no worse (and is perhaps better) than his attackers.

’Tis better to be vile than vile esteemed,
When not to be receives reproach of being,
And the just pleasure lost, which is so deemed
4Not by our feeling but by others’ seeing.
For why should others’ false adulterate eyes
Give salutation to my sportive blood?
Or on my frailties why are frailer spies,
8Which 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;
12By their rank thoughts my deeds must not be shown,
 Unless this general evil they maintain:
 All men are bad and in their badness reign.