Poem Hunter
Sonnet Cxx
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616 / Warwickshire)

Sonnet Cxx

Poem By William Shakespeare

That you were once unkind befriends me now,
And for that sorrow which I then did feel
Needs must I under my transgression bow,
Unless my nerves were brass or hammer'd steel.
For if you were by my unkindness shaken
As I by yours, you've pass'd a hell of time,
And I, a tyrant, have no leisure taken
To weigh how once I suffered in your crime.
O, that our night of woe might have remember'd
My deepest sense, how hard true sorrow hits,
And soon to you, as you to me, then tender'd
The humble slave which wounded bosoms fits!
But that your trespass now becomes a fee;
Mine ransoms yours, and yours must ransom me.

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SONNET 120: The poet continues his apologia for his conduct which has soured the relationship. For some unaccountable reason the sophistry of the argument for the defence no longer seems to be of any great importance. Perhaps it is because the remembrance of sorrow endured as a result of the youth's former misdemeanours awakens our sympathy for the speaker. Not only has he suffered because of his own misguided pursuit of pleasure, as detailed in the previous sonnet, but he remembers also the cutting sorrow which he once lived through which seared his heart. Alas he was not fully alive to this when he went philandering, but now he has the grace to remember it and delicately suggests to the youth that, in the scales of love, they are both now evenly balanced. shakespeares-sonnets.com
here is Sonnet 119 (it is missing here, as the sonnet on the previous page is n.118 and on this page we have sonnet 120) Sonnet 119 What potions have I drunk of Siren tears, Distilled from limbecks foul as hell within, Applying fears to hopes, and hopes to fears, Still losing when I saw myself to win! What wretched errors hath my heart committed, Whilst it hath thought itself so blessed never! How have mine eyes out of their spheres been fitted, In the distraction of this madding fever! O benefit of ill! now I find true That better is by evil still made better; And ruined love, when it is built anew, Grows fairer than at first, more strong, far greater. So I return rebuked to my content, And gain by ill thrice more than I have spent. - - in this sonnet, the poet continues his defence of past conduct. In looking back he perceives himself to have been suffering from a serious infatuation, which like a disease and maddening fever forced him to pursue an unattainable goal, as the alchemist pursues an unattainable dream of converting all base matter to gold.
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