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Those parts of thee that the world's eye doth view,
Want nothing that the thought of hearts can mend:
All tongues (the voice of souls) give thee that due,
Uttering bare truth, even so as foes commend.
Thy outward thus with outward praise is crown'd;
But those same tongues that give thee so thine own
In other accents do this praise confound
By seeing farther than the eye hath shown.
They look into the beauty of thy mind,
And that, in guess, they measure by thy deeds;
Then (churls) their thoughts, although their eyes were kind,
To thy fair flower add the rank smell of weeds:
   But why thy odour matcheth not thy show,
   The solve is this, that thou dost common grow.


LXIX. The poet asserts that his friend's beauty is perfect. This all cordially admitted. Nevertheless it was alleged that his friend's moral character was not conformable to his outward appearance. The latter was a "fair flower," while the former was acquiring "the rank smell of weeds." The cause of this was a want of sufficient care with regard to companions, thus allowing too great facility of access.

4. Even so as foes commend. Meaning, apparently, "for in like manner even foes commend, stinting their praise as much as possible."

5. Thy. Q. has "Their."

7. Confound. Abate and nullify.

8. By seeing farther. As they pretend.

9. The beauty of thy mind. Said possibly not without a shade of irony.

10. Thy deeds. As to the general nature of these we can form a probable guess from what had occurred with regard to Shakespeare's mistress. Cf. xl. al.

11. Their thoughts. The conclusions they formed.

13. Odour, of course, is "reputation."

14. The solve, i.e., the solution, the explanation. Q. has "solye," but there can be little doubt that the emendation "solve" is right.

How to cite this article:
Shakespeare, William. Sonnets. Ed. Thomas Tyler. London: D. Nutt, 1890. Shakespeare Online. 20 Aug. 2013. < >.

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