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How sweet and lovely dost thou make the shame
Which, like a canker in the fragrant rose,
Doth spot the beauty of thy budding name!
O, in what sweets dost thou thy sins enclose!
That tongue that tells the story of thy days,
Making lascivious comments on thy sport,
Cannot dispraise but in a kind of praise;
Naming thy name blesses an ill report.
O, what a mansion have those vices got
Which for their habitation chose out thee,
Where beauty's veil doth cover every blot,
And all things turn to fair that eyes can see!
   Take heed, dear heart, of this large privilege;
   The hardest knife ill-used doth lose his edge.


XCV. The scandal in relation to his friend, which the poet had previously mentioned and treated as slander, seems (if it be the same) now to have become too obviously true to admit of being rebutted or extenuated. But Mr. W. H.'s grace and beauty adorn and transfigure even his vices. Still there is danger, lest the consequence of vicious indulgence should be felt at last.

2. Canker. A worm preying upon and defacing the blossom.

3. Thy budding name. An expression which seems to agree very well with the youth of William Herbert, now about nineteen.

8. Naming thy name, &c. In consequence of Mr. W. H.'s well-known grace and attractiveness.

12. Turns. So Q. "turnes." "Beauty's veil turns all things to fair," &c.

14. The hardest knife, &c. Alluding to the result of excessive indulgence.

How to cite this article:
Shakespeare, William. Sonnets. Ed. Thomas Tyler. London: D. Nutt, 1890. Shakespeare Online. 28 Dec. 2013. < >.

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