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Shakespeare's Sonnets - Sonnet 85


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Shakespeare's Sonnets - Sonnet 85
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Sonnet 85



In this first of two linked sonnets, the poet says that his silence in the face of others’ extravagant praise of the beloved is only outward muteness. His thoughts are filled with love.

My tongue-tied muse in manners holds her still
While comments of your praise, richly compiled,
Reserve their character with golden quill
4And precious phrase by all the muses filed.
I think good thoughts whilst other write good words,
And like unlettered clerk still cry amen
To every hymn that able spirit affords
8In polished form of well-refinèd pen.
Hearing you praised, I say “’Tis so, ’tis true,”
And to the most of praise add something more;
But that is in my thought, whose love to you,
12Though words come hindmost, holds his rank before.
 Then others for the breath of words respect,
 Me for my dumb thoughts, speaking in effect.