Shakespeare's Sonnets

Sonnet 121


'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.