Shakespeare's Sonnets - Sonnet 41
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Last updated: Fri, Jul 31, 2015
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The poet again tries to forgive the young man, now on the grounds that the young man could hardly have been expected to refuse the woman’s seduction. The attempt to forgive fails because the young man has caused a twofold betrayal: his beauty having first seduced the woman, both he and she have then been faithless to the poet.
Those pretty wrongs that liberty commits
When I am sometime absent from thy heart,
Thy beauty and thy years full well befits,
4For still temptation follows where thou art.
Gentle thou art, and therefore to be won;
Beauteous thou art, therefore to be assailed;
And when a woman woos, what woman’s son
8Will sourly leave her till he have prevailed?
Ay me, but yet thou mightst my seat forbear,
And chide thy beauty and thy straying youth,
Who lead thee in their riot even there
12Where thou art forced to break a twofold truth:
Hers, by thy beauty tempting her to thee,
Thine, by thy beauty being false to me.