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William Shakespeare

(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616 / Warwickshire)

Sonnet CXXI


'Tis better to be vile than vile esteem'd,
When not to be receives reproach of being,
And the just pleasure lost which is so deem'd
Not by our feeling but by others' seeing:
For why should others false adulterate eyes
Give salutation to my sportive blood?
Or on my frailties why are frailer spies,
Which in their wills count bad what I think good?
No, I am that I am, and they that level
At my abuses reckon up their own:
I may be straight, though they themselves be bevel;
By their rank thoughts my deeds must not be shown;
Unless this general evil they maintain,
All men are bad, and in their badness reign.

Submitted: Friday, May 18, 2001
Edited: Friday, May 18, 2001

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  • Sima Murinson (4/5/2010 4:20:00 AM)

    .Sonnet CXXI can be read as the credo of the Renaissance Era, when an individual person regained the right to be the focus of Art, and together with this the right to be true to oneself. Shakespeare, in a most post-modern manner, but also adhering to the aesthetic standards of his time, defends the privilege of a human being not to be judged by others - to be loved and appreciated for what he/ she is. Shall we ever live to learn the lesson Shakespeares teaches us? (Report) Reply

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