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William Shakespeare, Sonnet xxv

Let those who are in favour with their stars,
Of publich honour and proud titles boast,
Whilst I, whom fortune of such triumph bars,
Unlook'd for joy in that I honour most.
Great princes' favourites their fair leaves spread
But as the marigold at the sun's eye;
And in themselves their pride lies buried,
For at a frown they in their glory die.
The painful warrior famoused for fight, [*]
After a thousand victories once foil'd,
Is from the book of honour razed quite,
And all the rest forgot for whom he toil'd:
Then happy I, that love and am belov'd
Where I may not remove, nor be remov'd.


line 9: Fight: The original has worth. Theobald, who saw that the alternate rhyme is invariably preserved in the other Sonnets, proposed to make one of two changes; to read fight instead of worth, or forth instead of quite. We are not perfectly satisfied with either change; but as the first has been adopted in most modern editions we will not attempt to disturb the received reading, and we have no doubt that some error is involved in the original. [ Back to text ]

Most notes to Shakespeare's sonnets are from Charles Knight's edition, but those in square brackets are mine.