Alas! ’tis true, I have gone here and there,
And made my self a motley to the view,
Gored mine own thoughts, sold cheap what is most dear,
Made old offences of affections new;
Most true it is, that I have looked on truth
Askance and strangely; but, by all above,
These blenches gave my heart another youth,
And worse essays proved 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 confined.
Then give me welcome, next my heaven the best,
Even to thy pure and most most loving breast.
Sonnet 111: Translation to modern English
Oh, you’re cursing fortune – the cause of my bad behaviour – that didn’t provide better for my life than to make me perform in front of the public which was bound to influence my behaiour. That’s how I have come to have a bad name and it follows that my nature is affected by working with the public in the way a dyer’s hand is stained by working with dye. So with me, and I hope that I will be regenerated. In the meantime, like a willing patient, I will take better medicines for this strong infection. No matter how bitter it is I won’t think of it as bitter, nor will I complain about having to do double penance to correct this bad influence. Pity me, then, dear friend: I assure you that your pity is enough to cure me.
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