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Or whether doth my mind, being crown'd 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 alchymy,
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 poison'd, 'tis the lesser sin
   That mine eye loves it and doth first begin.


CXIV. In the joy of reconciliation the poet imagines himself a monarch crowned with his friend's love. His eye, like a king's cup-bearer desiring to please his master and humour his taste, presents only the image of his friend. Cf. cxiii.

2. This flattery. Thus deceiving itself, by fancying that to be real which is only an illusion, like a monarch drinking in the false flattery of his courtiers.

3. Shall I say that the cause is in the eye rather than in the mind? This question receives virtually an affirmative answer in line 9.

6. What is said in this line might suit very well a young man of only twenty or twenty-one, but would scarcely agree with a more fully developed manhood.

8. As fast as objects present themselves to view.

9. 'Tis the first. The mind, whose taste ("gust") the eye flatters, willingly receives the false image prepared by the eye. [his gust. The taste of my mind. Malone.]

10. Cf. line 1. The comparison with the king and his cup-bearer is still kept in view.

14. Still the eye is a willing agent, and, like a cup-bearer, tastes first.

How to cite the explanatory notes:
Shakespeare, William. Sonnets. Ed. Thomas Tyler. London: D. Nutt, 1890. Shakespeare Online. 15 Dec. 2013. < >.

Wordsworth, William. Poetical works, with a memoir. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1854.

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