The Sonnets by William Shakespeare

Sonnet 121

read by Tunji Kasim

’Tis better to be vile than vile esteemed,

When not to be, receives reproach of being,

And the just pleasure lost, which is so deemed

Not by our feeling, but by others’ seeing.

5For 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

10At 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.

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