Sonnet X

Drink up the monarch's plague, this flattery?


by William Shakespeare


Sonnet X


Or whether doth my mind, being crowned with you,

Drink up the monarch's plague, this flattery?

Or whether shall I say mine eye saith true,

And that your love taught it this alchemy,

To make of monsters, and things indigest,

Such cherubins as your sweet self resemble,

Creating every bad a perfect best

As fast as objects to his beams assemble?

O, 'tis the first, 'tis flattery in my seeing,

And my great mind most kingly drinks it up;

Mine eye well knows what with his gust is 'greeing,

And to his palate doth prepare the cup.

If it be poisoned, 'tis the lesser sin

That mine eye loves it and doth first begin. 


* * *


O, for my sake do you with Fortune chide,

The guilty goddess of my harmful deeds,

That did not better for my life provide

Than public means which public manners breeds.

Thence comes it that my name receives a brand,

And almost thence my nature is subdued

To what it works in, like the dyer's hand.

Pity me then, and wish I were renewed,

Whilst like a willing patient I will drink

Potions of eisel 'gainst my strong infection;

No bitterness that I will bitter think,

Nor double penance to correct correction.

Pity me then, dear friend, and I assure ye

Even that your pity is enough to cure me. 


* * *


Like as to make our appetite more keen

With eager compounds we our palate urge,

As to prevent our maladies unseen,

We sicken to shun sickness when we purge.

Even so being full of your ne'er-cloying sweetness,

To bitter sauces did I frame my feeding;

And, sick of welfare, found a kind of meetness

To be diseased ere that there was true needing.

Thus policy in love t' anticipate

The ills that were not, grew to faults assured,

And brought to medicine a healthful state

Which, rank of goodness, would by ill be cured.

But thence I learn and find the lesson true:

Drugs poison him that so fell sick of you. 


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