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Nicholas Hilliard (1547-1619): A Young Man Leaning Against a Tree among Roses, miniature (V and A Museum, London)
Nicholas Hilliard (1547-1619):
A Young Man Leaning Against
a Tree among Roses,
miniature (V&A Museum, London)

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.
Read by Claire Marchionne
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