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Sin of self-love possesseth all mine eye,
And all my soul and all my every part;
And for this sin there is no remedy,
It is so grounded inward in my heart.
Methinks no face so gracious is as mine,
No shape so true, no truth of such account;
And for myself mine own worth do define,
As I all other in all worths surmount.
But when my glass shows me myself indeed,
Beated and chopp'd with tann'd antiquity,
Mine own self-love quite contrary I read;
Self so self-loving were iniquity.
   'Tis thee, myself, that for myself I praise,
   Painting my age with beauty of thy days.


LXII. But here again, as in xxxv., xxxvi., the poet proceeds from imputations cast on his friend to introspection and self-accusation. He is saturated and thoroughly possessed by self-esteem. But the sight of a mirror disabuses him of an overweening estimate of his own beauty. Still, incorporated as he is with his youthful friend, he may still paint his own maturer age with the beauty of youth. That indeed is what he has been doing (cf. xxii).

5. So gracious. Displaying such grace or beauty.

6. No symmetry of form equally perfect and admirable with mine.

10. Beated and chopp'd with tann'd antiquity. Meaning, probably, battered, wrinkled, and darkened, or discoloured, bronzed.

11. The poet then comes to a totally different opinion concerning his self-love. It was in reality love of thee (13).

12. It would be "iniquity" for the poet to admire and esteem his beauty after the revelation made by the mirror.

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

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On Sonnets 55 to 66 ... "Eleven miscellaneous, loosely-linked verses, tracing the course of friendship, its dreads and jealousies. The friend has become an ideal, and in faithfulness to that ideal lies the poet's hope of immortality and that "his verse shall stand." He dreads the ravages of time, but fame will keep him ever young. In his present state of gloom and despair he would die, but death now would mean oblivion, and he cannot "leave his love alone." These Sonnets are much more allegorical than personal, and describe the poet's yearning for immortality far more than his human affection for a human being." John Cuming Walters. (The Mystery of Shakespeare's Sonnets. London: New Century Press.)


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