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William Shakespeare, Sonnet cx

Alas, 'tis true, I have gone here and there,
And made myself a motley to the view, [*]
Gor'd mine own thoughts, sold cheap what is most dear, [*]
Made old offences of affections new.
Most true it is, that I have look'd on truth
Askance and strangely; but, by all above,
These blenches gave my heart another youth, [*]
And worst essays prov'd thee my best of love.
Now all is done, have what shall have no end: [*]
Mine appetite I never more will grind
On newer proof, to try an older friend,
A God in love, to whom I am confin'd.
Then give me welcome, next my heaven the best,
Even to thy pure and most most loving breast.


line 2: Motley. Jacques, in As You Like It, exclaims, "Invest me in my motley." Motley was the dress of the domestic fool, or jester; and thus the buffoon himself came to be called a motley. Jacques, addressing Touchstone, says, "Will you be married, Motley?". [ Back to text ]

line 3: Gor'd -- wounded. In Hamlet we have --

I have a voice and precedent of peace
To keep my name ungor'd.
Back to text ]

line 7: Blenches -- deviations. [ Back to text ]

line 9: Have. This is the word of the old copy. An altered reading is -- "Now all is done, save what shall have no end." Malone says the original reading is unintelligible. His conjectural reading, which Tyrwhitt recommended, appears to us more so. "Now all is done" clearly applies to the blenches, the worse essays; but the poet then adds, "have thou what shall have no end," -- my constant affection, my undivided friendship. [ Back to text ]

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