Union Jack

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Sonnet 79

Read by Claire Marchionne
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It is interesting that this sonnet reflects the ideas of 38, but seen from the perspective of an observer looking upon another poet.  In 38 the argument was that the fair youth himself provided the motive and subject for everything which his lover, the poet, could write.  Here the argument is that the beloved is equally potent to do the same for other poets too.  The writer therefore reminds the youth that he should not be praising these rival poets, but that they should be thanking him for paying their debts.

The Muse
Whilst I alone did call upon thy aid,
My verse alone had all thy gentle grace;
But now my gracious numbers are decay'd,
And my sick Muse doth give an other place.
I grant, sweet love, thy lovely argument
Deserves the travail of a worthier pen;
Yet what of thee thy poet doth invent
He robs thee of, and pays it thee again.
He lends thee virtue, and he stole that word
From thy behaviour; beauty doth he give,
And found it in thy cheek: he can afford
No praise to thee, but what in thee doth live. 
  Then thank him not for that which he doth say,
  Since what he owes thee, thou thyself dost pay.

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