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Sonnet 119

a cornucopia of a book
Read by Claire Marchionne
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A. L. Rowse in his Shakespeare's Sonnets writes: This sonnet makes the transition from the young man to Shakespeare's mistress, and, as we shall see, he comes to speak of his infatuation for her as a mad fever, which he does not approve but cannot help.  The 'Siren tears' refers to his mistress; the alembics 'foul as hell' within - not very complimentary.  The sonnet was obviously not written for her eyes.

What potions have I drunk of Siren tears,
Distill'd from limbecks foul as hell within,
Applying fears to hopes, and hopes to fears,
Still losing when I saw myself to win!
What wretched errors hath my heart committed,
Whilst it hath thought itself so blessed never!
How have mine eyes out of their spheres been fitted,
In the distraction of this madding fever!
O benefit of ill! now I find true
That better is, by evil still made better;
And ruin'd love, when it is built anew,
Grows fairer than at first, more strong, far greater.
  So I return rebuk'd to my content,
  And gain by ill thrice more than I have spent.

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