Union Jack

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   Sonnet 95

This sonnet continues to snipe at the young man's morals, although his backsliding is given a far more attractive gloss than previously.  It is clearly an integral part of this mini-sequence of sonnets dealing with deception and betrayal which runs from 91 to 96.  But now all has become sweet and lovely, at least on the surface.

How sweet and lovely dost thou make the shame
Which, like a canker in the fragrant rose,
Doth spot the beauty of thy budding name!
O! in what sweets dost thou thy sins enclose.
That tongue that tells the story of thy days,
Making lascivious comments on thy sport,
Cannot dispraise, but in a kind of praise;
Naming thy name, blesses an ill report.
O! what a mansion have those vices got
Which for their habitation chose out thee,
Where beauty's veil doth cover every blot
And all things turns to fair that eyes can see!
  Take heed, dear heart, of this large privilege;
  The hardest knife ill-us'd doth lose his edge.
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