Some say thy fault is youth, some wantonness;
Some say thy grace is youth and gentle sport;
Both grace and faults are loved of more and less;
Thou makest faults graces that to thee resort.
As on the finger of a throned queen
The basest jewel will be well esteem'd,
So are those errors that in thee are seen
To truths translated and for true things deem'd.
How many lambs might the stem wolf betray,
If like a lamb he could his looks translate!
How many gazers mightst thou lead away,
If thou would'st use the strength of all thy state!
But do not so; I love thee in such sort
As, thou being mine, mine is thy good report.
XCVI. Enlarges on the transfigurement of Mr. W. H.'s vices, and
adverts in conclusion to the dangerous and seductive influence of
his example. Even his faults are loved and admired.
1, 2. What some speak of as thy "fault" and "wantonness," others describe as "grace" and "gentle sport."
3. Are lov'd of more and less. By persons of all sorts. First Part of King
Henry IV., Act iv. sc. 3, line 68,
"The more and less came in with cap and knee."
7, 8. So are those errors to truths translated. So are those vices changed
10. If he could transform his appearance into that of a lamb.
12. The strength of all thy state. All the power of thy noble beauty.
13, 14. The leading many others astray might result in a reputation incurably bad. These lines are repeated from xxxvi.
How to cite this article:
Shakespeare, William. Sonnets. Ed. Thomas Tyler. London: D. Nutt, 1890. Shakespeare Online. 28 Dec. 2013. < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/sonnets/96.html >.
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